Dan Hemming (left) stars as Nick Bottom, and Luke Smetters as William Shakespeare, in the Pop Factory Players’ production of “Something Rotten.”

Play: “Something Rotten!”

Performers: Pop Factory Players.

Site: Leona M. Havens Theatre, 11838 Center Hill Road, Darlington, Wis.

Times/dates: 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, Jan. 15 and 22; 1:30 p.m. Sundays, Jan. 16 and 23; 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21.

Cost: $15 at the door. Cash or check only.

COVID-19 policy: Masks are required for all audience members.


London, 1595. Nick and Nigel Bottom are rehearsing their latest play and hoping for a hit. But then their patron arrives and announces that the best playwright in town, William Shakespeare, already has beaten them to the punch with the same idea — again.

Feeling stuck in the shadow of a Renaissance rock star, a frustrated Nick visits Thomas Nostradamus (not the great soothsayer, but his nephew — close enough), who predicts that the future of theater will be a new genre that involves singing, acting and dancing. So Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s first musical.

Filled with showstopping song and dance numbers and a cast of wacky over-the-top characters, “Something Rotten!” is a

history-twisting tale that proves that reaching the top means being true to thine own self ... and all that jazz.


  • Pop Factory’s cast includes 25 actors from southwest Wisconsin and northwest Illinois.
  • Lance Winslow, a former Pop Factory Player now living in Madison, Wis., will return to the group’s stage after 13 years as Nigel Bottom, while Monroe, Wis., actor Chris Vestin is making his Pop Factory debut as Nostradamus.
  • Country/contemporary Christian songwriter Wayne Kirkpatrick and his screenwriter/producer brother Karey wrote the music and lyrics. Karey teamed with British author John O’Farrell for the book. The score and the book received Tony nominations.
  • “Something Rotten!” played on Broadway for 742 performances and was nominated for 10 Tony Awards, winning one for Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Christian Borle as Shakespeare).
  • The musical pays homage to several Broadway hits, including “The Music Man,” “Chicago,” “The Lion King,” “South Pacific,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Les Misérables” and “A Chorus Line.”
  • The Kirkpatricks originally wrote 54 songs for the musical, with 16 of them making the final cut.
  • Humor and language is bawdy. Parental discretion is advised.

Quotable, from assistant director/production manager Allison Taylor

  • “Pop Factory has always done a lot of funny shows. We love to do comedy. This is definitely in the top tier of comedic shows we’ve done.”
  • “We originally picked out this musical in 2020. It was planned very far in advance. It’s been two years in the making, and now we’re finally getting the chance. The cast is definitely ready to perform.”
  • “Audiences can expect to have a very enjoyable night at the theater. It’s bawdy humor. It’s hysterical. You’re going to laugh until you cry.”
  • “I’ve seen it seven or eight times now, and I still get tears in my eyes from laughing so hard.”

Michelle London

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