In my first week and a half of living in Boston, I’ve already seen three shows–the first of which was the Something Rotten! tour at the Boston Opera House. But before we rushed tickets for the show, we decided at the last minute to head over to the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge to participate in The Ghostlight Project. That’s one of the things I love about living in a city–you can find out about something right before it’s about to start, then you just hop on a subway and you’re there.
For those of you who don’t know, The Ghostlight Project is movement inspired by the tradition of leaving a “ghost light” on in a darkened theatre, calling artists and members of the artistic community to be a light for the challenging times ahead. The project was launched January 19th at 5:30pm across time zones when members of the theatre community gathered at theatres nationwide to join in a “collective, simultaneous action.” Armed with flashlights, candles, and phone lights, artists and audiences alike gathered in solidarity, making a commitment to “stand for and protect the values of inclusion, participation, and compassion for everyone–regardless of race, class, religion, country of origin, immigration status, (dis)ability, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”
Art, and theatre, have always been important vessels for social change, but with talk of the Trump Administration eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, now more than ever is a time for artists to step up and create new, empowering work that not only inspires audiences, but also spreads messages of diversity, acceptance, love, and equality. Diane Paulus, the artistic director at A.R.T., along with members of the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic club, spoke beautifully about the issues at hand, and what we, as artists, can do to help.
After the event ended, my friend Amy, my roommate Elly, and I rode the T over to the Boston Opera House. It was about an hour before the show started, and we were able to score $25 center orchestra tickets! That’s another thing I love about living in the city–last-minute tickets are easier and less stressful to get, because if I don’t get them one day, I can come back the next and it’s not a hassle.
First thing’s first about the Something Rotten! tour: the cast is killer. With the likes of Adam Pascal (AKA the voice of my childhood- Aida was the first cast album I listened to on repeat), Josh Grisetti, and Rob McClure coming straight from the Broadway run, we were in for quite a treat. As someone who saw the original Broadway cast of Something Rotten!, I was blown away by the sheer talent, charm, and passion that shone as brightly on the touring house stage as it did on the Broadway stage.
The show follows the story of the two Bottom brothers, Elizabethan playwrights competing with none other than William Shakespeare. In attempts to write the next big hit, Nick Bottom consults a seer to find out what Shakespeare’s greatest work will be–so he and his brother, Nigel, can write it first. But, it doesn’t go quite as planned and what he’s left with is a bunch of…dancing omelettes? Throw in feminism, star-crossed lovers, and some Renaissance humor, and there’s your musical.
The show itself just reminds you why you love theatre. It takes all the elements of what makes live musicals great (just listen to the song “A Musical“) and rolls them into one great show–all the while deconstructing tropes, throwing in references to classics, and making you fall in love with the art form all over again. In fact, on more than one occasion, the applause was so long and so loud that some of the actors broke into laughter because they were overjoyed with the response.
I think I laughed even harder this time around. Maybe it just got funnier. Maybe it hit me in a new place. Maybe it’s because this world could use a bit more light. Whatever it was, the Something Rotten! tour was exactly what I needed just a few days after moving to (the cold, rainy city of) Boston.
The Something Rotten! tour will be at the Boston Opera House through January 29th. To find out if it’s coming to your city and to purchase tickets, visit http://rottenbroadway.com/tickets.