Nordhoff’s musical, ‘Something Rotten!’ is something special: May 6-8

aaaaaSomething Rotten cast wth logo by Jen MillerPhoto by Jen Miller

Cast and crew of the Nordhoff High School musical, “Something Rotten!” to be performed May 6 to 8 at Matilija Auditorium.

By John Hankins Special to the Ojai Valley News


Welcome to the Renaissance as upstart rivals to Shakespeare stumble upon a new form of theater: the musical, with one tune titled “I Hate Shakespeare.”

Called “Something Rotten,” it’s a “jump-out-of-your-seat show, a fun, high-energy satire that’s really snappy and fun,” said John Hoj, director. 

Covid has hampered Nordhoff High School’s annual musicals over the last two years. Last year, it was a video called “The Theory of Relativity,” without a live audience. But it’s back live at Matilija Middle School’s stage presenting four performances on Friday, May 6, Saturday, May 7 (two performances), and Sunday, May 8. Tickets are only $15 for students; adults $20. More details and tickets are available at:

“The students were devastated when the musical was canceled earlier this year,” said co-producer Jen Miller. “I saw this as an opportunity as we are all coming out of COVID, and the students want to be together with an audience.” 

Miller created the film “The Theory of Relativity” last year, but to revive live performances, “I’m thrilled to collaborate with Nordhoff teachers John Hoj as director and Kim Hoj as producer.” 

Gianna Burright was recruited to create original choreography; Emily Redman Hall came on board as vocal director; and Claire Cleary is back as lighting director, although this time she’s adding in digital backgrounds, which Miller described as “total magic.”

Hall was “overwhelmed to realize the talent and how good they (actors) were ... they came in already knowing their songs.”

Set in 1595, the story follows the Bottom brothers, Nick and Nigel, who struggle to find success in the theatrical world as they compete with the wild popularity of their contemporary William Shakespeare. It is unique in that it went straight to Broadway and was nominated and won Tony and Drama Desk awards. Those responsible for “Something Rotten” are a trio of professionals, John O’Farrell and brothers Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick. Their lyrics and songs are all over the charts.

Since this is all about the student actors, their talents and hard work to make merry, here they are:

The Bottom Brothers are Benny Schurmer and Rafael Sierra, and Nick Bottom’s wife is Ella Giuliani whose sister Lily Giuliani plays Portia. Shakespeare is Dieter Umholtz, Nostradamus’s niece is Coree Kotula and Shylock, Sean Reed. Others are Nakaya Mendoza-Maashoff as Brother Jeremiah, a minstrel played by McKenna Turner, and the Minister of Justice, Ruby Currie.

Bottom’s acting troupe include Tenzen Jamyang, Emma Poultney, Kyra Maal-King, Penny Avildsen, McKenna Turner, Shanti Kettles, Ivan Cruz and Conner Latimer.

The Ensemble’s dance captain is Brianna Turner, and the dancers/singers include Mariana Calderon, Sawyer Gamsey, Brooke Green, Addysyn Johnson, Elizabeth Donnelly and Vida Haring.


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