“A Musical” hits the stage

Jesuit’s spring drama production features the newly released musical “Something Rotten”, a comedic and historical story made contemporary. 

Elaine Kloser
Jesuit students in the Spring musical “Something Rotten” rehearsing a scene.

Set in the late 16th century, “Something Rotten” follows the storyline of two brothers, Nick and Nigel Bottom. 

They write plays together, but have trouble getting themselves off the ground due to their fierce competition, Shakespeare. Their minds troubled, the Bottom brothers seek help from a fortune teller, who tells them that musicals will be popular, but 500 years in the future. 

Because musicals are ahead of their time, Nick and Nigel’s musical doesn’t gain much traction. Returning to the soothsayer, they ask what Shakespeare’s greatest play will be. The fortune teller, who isn’t that accurate, tells the brothers that it will be ‘Omelet,’ instead of ‘Hamlet’.

Nick and Nigel then desperately try to create ‘Omelet’ the musical, not knowing that Shakespeare would actually create ‘Hamlet’.

Drama directors Elaine Kloser and Jeff Hall chose “Something Rotten” as the winter musical due to its seamless weaving together of the historical timeline of the 1500s and pops of comedy. 

“The history of musical theater is charted throughout [the musical],” Kloser said. “But at the same time, it’s very irreverent and fun with all that stuff,” Hall added.  

While working with her students, Kloser notices a special relation between them and the storyline. 

“For theater people it really tells a story, and we love that for the students who are involved. They can really find things in it that are personal to them and their theater experience.”

Junior Nathan Hasbrook, who plays Nick Bottom, describes one of the hardest parts of the musical, learning the dances.  

“The hardest part for me is definitely the dancing, because I’ve never really done tap dancing before this year. [I’ve] kind of grown into it, but it’s a challenge,” Hasbrook said. 

Senior Danna Awad, cast as Portia, an art-loving Puritan, explains her time commitment to the musical. They rehearse six times a week for about three hours a day, and as the weeks draw closer to opening night, those rehearsals turn into six to eight hours. 

“The hardest part is definitely the time commitment, but it’s really fun because you can be around the same people and get really close to them,” Awad stated. 

Kloser and Hall also utilize new technology while constructing the backdrops. Because Something Rotten is set in around ten different locations, the use of a projector benefits them greatly. A company down in California reached out to Jesuit a couple of months ago to build customized projections for this musical, and Kloser and Hall are excited to work with them.