If your cheeks are sore when you exit the Hobby Center this week, Blake Hammond and his Something Rotten! castmates have done their job.
“There’s a lot of stuff going on in the world that’s kind of depressing,” says Hammond. “It’s nice to take a little time for yourself and find things that make you laugh, because laughter really is the best medicine.”
Hammond, a Fort Worth native and University of Texas theater graduate, plays soothsayer Nostradamus in the comical production that is part of the BBVA Compass Broadway at the Hobby Center touring series. Set in 1595, it tells the story of two brothers wanting to create a hit play to rival Shakespeare’s success. Nostradamus turns Nick and Nigel Bottom on to the idea of creating the world’s very first musical.
Hammond describes the show as a love letter to Broadway musicals and Shakespeare, with a modern spin. “If you love theater you will love this. It’s so much fun,” he says.
His big moment comes in the first act when he commands an eight-and-a-half-minute number with references to and snippets from some of Broadway’s most beloved musicals. “It’s probably my favorite number I’ve done in my career and really, truly brings the house down. It’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to step out there and make that happen.”
The touring production takes Hammond to Texas for four weeks, with stops in Austin, Houston, and Dallas. He says he’s looking forward to visiting with family and having them in the audience. “Coming to Texas is really sweet for me. I played Austin on my first tour, which was in the late '80s with Jesus Christ Superstar, but I haven’t been back to Austin since with a tour," he says,
Hammond says Something Rotten!’s clever one-liners, non sequiturs, and talented cast make it a hilarious must-see show.
“When people walk out of the theater they tell us over and over that their cheeks hurt from laughing. It’s great to hear that they’ve been smiling so much for two-and-a-half hours," he says. "I love it.”
Something Rotten! plays at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts June 6 - 11.