The curtain opens for “Something Rotten”


photo by Brooke Bohan

Juniors Rebecca Reyes, Madelynn Roberts and Madi Agosto sing during act one of “Something Rotten.” The show opened on March 30 at 7 p.m. in the Hagerty auditorium.

With its scandalous nature and endless supply of funny lines, the drama department’s production of “Something Rotten” opened on March 30, and kept the audience on the edge of their seats the entire time, waiting to see what the Bottom Brothers would come up with next. 

“Something Rotten” is a musical comedy about two brothers, Nick and Nigel Bottom, trying to find success in playwriting but find themselves in the long shadow of well-known playwright, William Shakespeare. 

Originally, Lake Howell’s theater department was supposed to work on and produce the musical alongside Hagerty. However, due to commuting issues, that was canceled early on. Since then, Hagerty has put in hours of extra time and effort to put together this large show, incorporating lots of Saturday rehearsals for both cast and crews. 

Considering the current political climate and the show’s risky nature, theater director Jamaal Solomon had to take into consideration what could be said and done throughout the performance. When the cast was first given scripts, they spent time taking out lines and scenes that they could not perform due to language or inappropriate jokes. 

“We approached every subject from a place of understanding and sensitivity. It is never my intention to censor anything; however, with everything that is going on, we [tried] to make everything as appropriate for school as we can,” Solomon said. 

For weeks, every promotion and advertisement of the show included heavy warnings about the show’s PG-13 rating as it incorporated sexual jokes and foul language. Despite this, the audience received every line with enthusiastic laughter and cheers. 

Main characters were double-casted and referred to as either the “fried” cast or the “scrambled” cast. On opening night, the “fried” cast performed and they switched for every performance. Senior Lily Joseph, who was part of the ensemble in the “fried” cast and played Bea in the “scrambled” cast, experienced never-ending euphoria and pride while performing with her castmates. 

“I love musical theater and performing more than I love to breathe, so the fact that I get to tell this story and tap dance with my best friends is more than I could ever ask for,” Joseph said. 

Throughout the show, the cast kept the audience engaged by dancing in the aisles of the auditorium. One of the biggest and most well received numbers was the song “A Musical” which featured tap dancing, a kickline and cast members surrounding the audience. At the end of the show, assistant principal Christy Tibbitts-Bryce made her stage debut on Thursday night, as well as principal Robert Frasca on Friday night. 

“I’ve never done anything like that, but it was a lot of fun. We’ve had it planned for about two days and I had the script with me on stage. I would definitely do something like it again,” Tibbitts-Bryce said. 

The audience also showed a lot of appreciation for the relationship between Bea, played by Jazlyn Compton and Lily Joseph, and Nick, played by Carter Wegman and Marcnell Pierre, as well as Shakespeare, played by Kenzie Allis. For the cast, reactions from the audience were a big part of their success and encouraged them to keep making creative and expressive character choices. 

“Every time Shakespeare came out, the audience was really responsive, which was amazing. I also loved how invested they were in Nick and Bea’s storyline,” Joseph said. 

For Pierre, it was important that her last Hagerty performance was something she could be proud of. 

“I had so much fun and I couldn’t have wished for a better send-off. Playing Nick was hard sometimes because I was playing someone who is nothing like me, but it was such an amazing experience,” Pierre said. 

Following the Saturday night show, a party was held for everyone involved in the production. Solomon announced that the shows for 2023-2024 will be “Mean Girls,” “Clue” and “The Drowsy Chaperone”. 

“I was extremely proud of the show these students put on. It was ‘eggscellent’,” Solomon said.