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Curtain Rises: Lehigh Valley premiere of musical comedy ‘Something Rotten!’ at Northampton Community College Summer Theatre

Northampton Community College Summer Theatre presents the Lehigh Valley premiere of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical comedy, “Something Rotten!,” June 29 - July 17, Lipkin Theatre, on the Bethlehem Township campus.

The musical comedy was postponed from the NCC Summer Theatre 2020 season because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic shutdown.

“I’m really excited about the Lehigh Valley premiere of this show,” says Bill Mutimer, artistic producing director of the summer theater. “This will be a chance for audiences to get out, have a good time and laugh. It’s a wonderfully silly comedy.”

Also back is Jarrod Yuskauskas, director of Moravian Academy’s theater program, who was cast in the original production. Yuskauskas was in “Footloose” and “Jeffrey” at NCC this summer.

“It’s great to have Jarrod back playing Nick Bottom,” Mutimer says.

“Something Rotten!” follows the brothers, Nick and Nigel Bottom, who struggle to find success in the theater world of 1595 as they compete with the wild popularity of their contemporary, William Shakespeare.

Along the way, they get assistance from Nick’s wife, Bea, and a soothsayer, Thomas Nostradamus, nephew of the famous prophet.

The book is by John O’Farrell and Karey Kirkpatrick, with music and lyrics by Karey Kirkpatrick and Wayne Kirkpatrick. The original 2015 Broadway production was nominated for 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and received one Tony for best featured actor.

The NCC production is directed by Mutimer, with music direction by Lucille De Masi Kincaid and choreography by Tina Williams.

Yuskauskas played Rev. Shaw Moore in “Footloose: The Musical” and Sterling in “Jeffrey” at NCC.

Jake Ziman, a recent graduate of Millikin University, plays Nigel Bottom. Previous roles include Seymour in “Little Shop of Horrors” and Doody in “Grease.” He will play Mark in “Rent,” NCC’s summer season finale.

Meredith Doyle plays Bea. Doyle is a New York City actor who has appeared with Yuskauskas in “Gypsy” and “My Fair Lady” at Muhlenberg College Summer Theatre.

Ric Stoneback, a New York City actor, plays Thomas Nostradamus. Stoneback was in the NCC summer 2018 production of “1776” as Ben Franklin. He played Samuel Chase in “1776” on Broadway and is to appear in upcoming episodes of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” streaming on Amazon Prime.

“Something Rotten!,” 7:30 p.m. June 29 - July 2, July 6 - 9, 13 - 16; 2 p.m. July 3, 10, 12. The wearing of face masks is optional. Reserved seating. Tickets: www.ncctix.org; 484-484-3412

PSF staged reading:

“The River Bride” will be presented as a staged reading July 1 - 3, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF), DeSales University, Center Valley.

Staged readings began in 2021 at PSF to bring new stories and perspectives to theater audiences, according to PSF officials.

“The River Bride,” written by Marisela Treviño Orta, is said to combine Brazilian folklore and lyrical storytelling into a magical tale of love, fate and transformation.

In the storyline, a mysterious visitor arrives just before a much-anticipated family wedding. The story takes place in a small Brazilian fishing village. Two sisters cope with their own happily-ever-after as they attempt to remain true to themselves and each other.

Director KJ Sanchez, who helmed PSF’s first staged reading, “Native Gardens,” in 2021, is founder and CEO of the theater company, American Records, and head of the MFA playwriting and directing programs at the University of Texas at Austin.

Sanchez did voice character work for the animated series, “Dora the Explorer” (Nickelodeon, 2000-19) and “Go, Diego, Go!” (Nickelodeon, CBS, 2005 - 06).

The cast of “River Bride” includes Alina Collins Maldonado (Helena), Orlando Arriaga (Señor Costa), Hugo Carbajal (Moises), Eddie Cruz Jr. (Duarte), Sheila Tapia (Señora Costa) and Allie Vasquez (Belmira).

“The River Bride,” 7:30 p.m. July 1, 2; 7:30 p.m. July 2; 2 p.m. July 3, Schubert Theatre, Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, DeSales University. Tickets: 610-282-9455, www.pashakespeare.org ; 610-282-9455

“Curtain Rises” is a column about the theater, stage shows, the actors in them and the directors and artists who make them happen. To request coverage, email: Paul Willistein, Focus editor, pwillistein@tnonline.com.

Jarrod Yuskauskas
Jake Ziman