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The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

Students Prepare for the Production of ‘Something Rotten

Cynthia Harbott
Actors auditioning at the State Playhouse Theatre.

As the fall semester begins, students in the theater department have already begun auditions for the musical, “Something Rotten” – a fresh and comedic take on Shakespeare. 


The production follows brothers, Nick and Nigel Bottom, who aspire to produce a successful play, but are outshined by the increasingly popular William Shakespeare. The show offers a new perspective on historical fiction with catchy show tunes featuring a rock ‘n’ roll twist. The comedy combines the archaic backdrop of 1590s London England with the wit of a modern-day comedy. In essence, Shakespeare reimagined. It debuts on Nov. 9, at 7:30 p.m. at the State Playhouse. General admission will be $8 for students with I.D. and $15 without. 


The production will be led by Director Meredith Greenburg, a recipient of the Cal State LA’s Outstanding Professor Award in 2016. She’s managed many stage productions and events, including the L.A. Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Paramount Pictures, and regularly worked on productions at the L.A. Opera. Greenburg lends her years of expertise to students by walking them through the production’s rehearsal schedule and set design. 


A vacant stage quickly began bustling with activity as actors filed in for the audition. Seated in a large circle, students took turns introducing themselves and sharing their theater experience. As scripts were handed out, everyone alternated stepping into character to recite their lines. 


For actor Brian Arechiga, excitement and anticipation can be felt throughout the room as preparations begin to unfold. 


“Everyone is very eager, I feel like people are ready to get started with production,” Arechiga said. “I love the auditioning, because you get to see a little bit of how everyone would have been in that role if they got an opportunity to, and it’s a way to gauge where the direction of the show is going.”


For others, the process of production is a sanctum of creativity and connection – a chance for performers to bond with one another. Cast member Kira Shinden reflected on the first night of the auditions, and mentioned how it surpassed her expectations. 


“It was way more comfortable than I thought it would be. Everyone’s been so friendly, so nice,” Shinden said. 


For actor Matthew Dominguez, the arts have been a consistent facet in his life. He spent much of his adolescence performing on stage. 


“I’ve always had a passion for acting, whether it’s on stage or in front of the camera,” Dominguez said. “I’ve been involved in community theater, high school, middle school, and now college.”


Performing in front of a live audience also allows actors to push past their usual comfort zone. With years of performing experience, Dominguez understands the importance of overcoming nerves before a show. 


“As I’ve grown, there’s so many ways that you can tackle nervousness,” said Dominguez. “I’ve heard that if you’re not nervous, it’s bad because you don’t care enough to be nervous. I fight the nerves by doing warm-ups, or stuff with other actors. It’s a great bonding experience too.”


As actors prepare for the upcoming debut, tickets are available for purchase through the College of Arts and Letters website at


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Cynthia Harbott
Cynthia Harbott, Multimedia Reporter

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