With all the heaviness in the world these days, one thing to remember is that there’s nothing wrong with turning off the brain for a night out to indulge in some real laugh-out-loud entertainment. Indeed, the Studio Theater screening of something rotten, a Premier of Long Island, will help you do just that in these crazy times. Running through July 24 at Studio’s adorable East Islip venue, the Bayway Arts Center, this offering boasts an absolutely stellar cast.

Wonderfully directed by Rick Grossman, who is also artistic director of Bayway, the Tony-nominated musical hilariously follows Nick and Nigel Bottom as they attempt to put together a show to cap off the resounding – albeit boring – success of William Shakespeare. Created by John O’Farrell and Karey Kirkpatrick with music and lyrics by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick, you’ll be spot on as the brothers meet some pretty interesting people along the way. And let me tell you, the ensemble’s excellent cast includes many exciting veterans of Long Island theater.

Steve Cottonaro portrays Nick to the roars of laughter of enthusiastic audiences and Nigel is charmingly portrayed by CJ Russo. The two certainly make a brilliant team and have a great relationship. Plus, it’s always wonderful to see Tracylynn Connor on stage. Mrs. Connor exquisitely portrays Bea, Nick’s wife. His rendition of the cover of “Right Hand Man” in act two is greeted with thunderous applause, as is the finale of act one “Bottoms Gonna Be on Top”. And FM Grossman’s portrayal as Nostradamus is completely overwhelming and has the audience in their hands with his performance of “Musical.” I could really go on and on about the talented cast, but just know that they are all top notch and all have their moment to shine.

On Mr. Grossman’s clever creative team, the set created by Veronica Mason and Michael Visco is well done and makes good use of the intimate scene. You’ll appreciate how they’ve used a relatively minimalistic approach that further showcases the talent of the cast. This is enhanced by Joe Kassner’s stunning costumes and Mr. Visco’s mood lighting. Special thanks to Nicole Ashlee Bianco on the fun choreography which reveals that everyone seems to be really enjoying their time on the show.

And so, something rotten is definitely a must-have this summer season. Seeing a Tony nominee is always exciting, but when you have such an incredible cast and crew like the Studio Theater, it truly is a special experience. Hilarious storytelling, an amazing cast and the adorable Bayway Arts Center make for a wonderful evening of theatre.

Photo by Lisa Schindlar

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