Set in Tudor England, William Shakespeare is a preening and conceited rock star. Christian Borle, with flowing locks, is “the Will with the skill / To thrill you with the quill.” Rival playwrights, the Bottom brothers, (Brian d’Arcy James and John Cariani), grease the palm of a soothsayer (Brad Oscar) to look into the future and give them an edge on the next big thing. “A Musical” celebrates every Broadway musical you ever saw or heard of. The Bottom brothers approach their rich patron proposing to write the first great musical and the first ever musical: about the Black Death. Ah, the patron doesn’t much like the subject.
Anticipating Shakespeare’s next masterpiece, the Bottoms conceive of the musical “Omelette.” Director-choreographer Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon) features tap-dancing actors with tremendous codpieces (Gregg Barnes did costumes). Brothers Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick wrote the score. Karey wrote the book with John O’Farrell, who is British, making Something Rotten! an American-British collaboration. It’s a huge success, yet its style may be more Broadway than West End. So far Something Rotten! has delighted audiences only on this side of the pond.
Shakespeare used the hourglass to depict the transience of life. At Hourglass Tavern, the opposite is true. Hourglass has remained pretty much the same since the nineteenth century, has changed hands rarely, and even the staff is long term. Our wonderful waitress, Maria, has been there for twenty-five years and remembers when hourglasses were on each table for guests to use, to make sure they made their curtain.
Rather than a speakeasy, Hourglass was a narrow, 3-floor rooming house. The tiled bath on the second floor is the original, now the lady’s powder room. Check out the mirror and see a younger version of yourself. (References in Shakespeare to “glass” are taken to mean “hourglass” when more likely Will meant “mirror”).
Hourglass's weekend pre-matinee brunch features eggs with short rib hash. Roasted short ribs are great on the dinner menu, crispy on the outside, served with perfectly steamed broccoli and “homemade double butter mashed potatoes.” The basic salad has a vegetable-rich dressing, and you can add blackened shrimp to the salad.
The menu is the most versatile restaurant menu we have ever seen! There’s a $22.95 pre-theatre prix fixe. At any time at all you can create a 3-course prix fixe by adding $10 to your entrée. A picky eater child menu allows the child to design their own fussy meal for only $11. Arden, however, ordered the “Big Ass 12 oz. Angus beef burger,” served on the homemade bread and layered with vegetables. She took a few dainty bites and had the rest wrapped. We all had the rest wrapped, happily enough. Eat, drink, and be merry, as the Bard said.