visited Buffalo last year, we passed by the Shea's Performing Arts Center, where we were blown away by the impressive list of shows coming up for 2018, including three recent Tony nominated musicals that we hadn't watched before—School of Rock, Waitress and Something Rotten! Since we were not sure if any of these musicals would ever play in Toronto, we discussed the idea of returning to Buffalo to watch one. If we headed out early in the morning, we could get to Buffalo in time to watch a Saturday afternoon show and then drive home again, saving the cost of overnight accommodations. While it initially seemed like a long way to drive in one day just to watch a show, it actually is not that much farther than going to Niagara on the Lake for the day, which we have done on multiple occasions.
We decided we would watch "Something Rotten!" since this show was based on an original story while the other two were based on movies that we had watched before and therefore were familiar with. This turned out to be a serendipitous selection since shortly after we bought our tickets, we found out that Waitress and School of Rock would be included in our next season's theatre subscription to Mirvish Productions. We were a bit worried about buying tickets in advance and then being hit with a major snow storm that might prevent our drive to Buffalo. We took the chance and were rewarded with a beautiful clear day. Again this was lucky since a blizzard descended on Buffalo the following week.
Nick Bottom and his brother Nigel are playwrights who aspire to match the accomplishments and fame of their rival William Shakespeare, the most acclaimed writer on the Elizabethan stage. Nick in particular is jealous of "the Bard" and yearns to surpass him. Under pressure to come up with a new idea for a successful play, Nick visits the soothsayer Thomas Nostradamus (the less talented cousin of the famous French seer) to find out what will be the next big trend in plays. Imagine Nick's surprise when he learns the hears that it will be the musical, where out of the blue, "an actor stops speaking his lines and starts singing for no apparent reason." As Nick protests the absurdity of this, he ironically breaks into song himself, drawing a huge laugh from the audience.
Something Rotten! is the funniest, most entertaining musical that I've watched in a while. If it ever comes to Toronto, I would be happy to watch it again and would encourage anyone else to do so as well. This experiment with driving to Buffalo to watch a matinee was a rousing success. We will keep our eyes out on what shows arrive next at Shea's Performing Arts Centre and might be tempted to do this again. The only worry would be trying not to select a show that we could subsequently watch in Toronto at a fraction of the cost. I guess there are worse problems to have than to have access to great theatre at home.