Photo by Michael Thomas | Jaese Lecuyer as Shakespeare, flanked by ensemble members Sophia Escudero and Zoë Saylor, serenades the audience.
Photo by Michael Thomas | Jaese Lecuyer as Shakespeare, flanked by ensemble members Sophia Escudero and Zoë Saylor, serenades the audience.

Something Rotten! opens at Cal Poly Humboldt

See the musical yourself at the Van Duzer Theater this weekend!
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by Nina Hufman

The Cal Poly Humboldt School of Theater’s production of Something Rotten! was entertaining, energetic, and full of innuendo. On opening night last Friday, March 25, patrons filled the Van Duzer Theater to see the comedy, set in the 16th century.

From the opening song, ‘Welcome to the Renaissance,’ the cast dazzled in beautiful costumes on a stunning set. All of the actors are extremely talented singers and performers. It was clear that they all put in a lot of work and are proud of what they have accomplished. Jeremy Stolp, an English Education major who played one of the lead roles, Nick Bottom, feels that being in theater is a rewarding experience.

Photo by Michael Thomas | Jeremy Stolp (left) and Miah Carter (right) star as power couple Nick and Bea Bottom.

“Theater is such a privilege and so much fun to do,” Stolp said. “If you ever have the opportunity, I suggest you try it.”

The musical was incredibly entertaining. Some of my favorite scenes included Shakespeare’s John Cena-esque entrances, Bea’s hope for a gender-equal future, and the show’s lampooning of religion. One of the best songs was “Will Power,” featuring a leather pants-clad William Shakespeare (Jaese Lecuyer) and his crowd of adoring fans. I also enjoyed “A Musical,” a comic number during which fortune-telling Nostradamus (Sammi Pietanza) tells Nick Bottom that the next big thing in the theater will be musicals, all while wearing a hat that I am convinced was a paid actor. Many of the jokes are meant to be ironic, making fun of musicals and the theater. The way that this is incorporated into the story is very clever.

The cast was rightfully proud of what they accomplished and are looking forward to adding to each performance in future shows.

“I don’t think that they (the cast) expected the reaction that they got so when they did it was just this moment of awe,” said Katie Lem, a member of the ensemble. “Everybody standing up at the end was such a beautiful moment for everybody.”

Photo by Michael Thomas | Zoë Saylor performs an upbeat musical number about the bubonic plague.

One of the most compelling performances was Miah Carter as Bea, Nick’s wife. Throughout the play, Bea disguises herself as a man to maintain several different jobs and help her husband financially and push for gender equality. Carter’s performance showcased her talents as an actor and singer, particularly in her solo “Right Hand Man.”

“This is my first ever lead, so this was a good step up for me,” Carter said.

Carter says that theater is a great community to be a part of and that they are all incredibly supportive of one another.

“All of us were so proud of what we pulled through,” Carter said. “I love everyone in this cast.”

The cast and crew are looking forward to continuing to develop this musical as they perform it more.

“I’m excited for the depth and complexity that we kind of add into it every single show,” Lem said. “Not every night is the same.”

The musical is running this weekend on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m and on Sunday at 2 p.m. The musical will have you loving to hate William Shakespeare right along with the Bottom brothers.

Photo by Michael Thomas | From left to right: Zoë Saylor, Sophia Escudero, Jeremy Stolp, Jaese Lecuyer, Jake Hyslop, Michael Jaye, and Miah Carter pose on set of Something Rotten!

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