Actors Lexi Rabadi and Daniel Plimpton on ‘Something Rotten’ at Pioneer Theatre Company


Lexi Rabadi and Daniel Plimpton as Portia and Nigel in “Something Rotten” (Courtesy Pioneer Theatre Company)

By Hannah Keating, Arts Editor


As a major regional theatre, Pioneer Theatre Company brings in actors from across the nation to perform in their seasons of productions. With opening night for “Something Rotten” coming up, I had the opportunity to speak with cast members Lexi Rabadi and Daniel Plimpton about their roles and their experience at PTC.

“Welcome to the Renaissance”

“Something Rotten” follows two playwright brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom (Matthew Farcher and Plimpton) living in Renaissance England where William Shakespeare (Matthew Hydzik) reigns as writing royalty. In a fictionalized account of Shakespeare’s work, the brothers try to write a hit musical to steal the spotlight from the pompous playwright. Nigel quite literally runs into Portia (Rabadi), the daughter of the staunch, religious magistrate Brother Jeremiah (Kevin B. McGlynn), and the two start to meet in secret.

“It’s been a blast,” says Plimpton. “[The show] is a love letter to musicals that is self-aware of how ridiculous it can be.” “Something Rotten” isn’t Plimpton’s first show in Utah — he was previously seen in “Cagney” at PTC and toured with “Spring Awakening” and “The Book of Mormon,” making stops in Salt Lake City. He was originally cast in PTC’s production before the pandemic, as was Rabadi, who said, “Two years ago, I had a completely different reason for wanting to do this show.” A New York native, this is their first time working in Utah. Like Plimpton, they enjoy touring and traveling with shows, getting to, “have little hearts, little families, all around the nation.”

“To Thine Own Self Be True”

As for stepping into the roles of Nigel and Portia, Plimpton and Rabadi have discovered a common language for their “star-crossed lovers,” one of playfulness, innocence and opening up through comedy. We see that Nigel is a talented poet, but lacks the confidence to speak up for himself. Portia too lives in fear of her authentic self, but discovers Nigels’ poetry and helps him find his voice. “There are things worth fighting for in [Nigel’s] writing and in himself,” Plimpton said.

Both actors reference a song from the show, “To Thine Own Self Be True,” a line from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and part of a central theme of discovering who you are and living truthfully. “They ultimately have a really parallel journey … they bring each other out into the light of their full potential as people,” Rabadi said.

Lexi Rabadi and Daniel Plimpton as Portia and Nigel in “Something Rotten” (Courtesy Pioneer Theatre Company)

“A Musical”

The two actors also spoke to being back in the rehearsal room after the hiatus many workers in performing industries experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Lexi is a jackpot scene partner,” Plimpton said, which Rabadi returned and added, “Daniel is so playful, and willing to fail too, which is a huge essence of comedy.” As for working at PTC, Plimpton said, “There’s a collective focus and goal on being there for each other and for the piece.” Rabadi agrees, speaking to how it has been, “a really trusting process. That magic that happens when everyone is really well-cast clicked early on.”

For audiences coming to see the show, Rabadi called it a “wink to hindsight, with beautiful seeds of truth, art and meaning.” Plimpton added that it is a “modern escape into this old world.” Rabadi summed it up best with, “If you have a lot of experience with theatre, you’ll enjoy the implants of jokes, and if you don’t, you’ll still enjoy it because it is sweet and funny.”


“Something Rotten” opens Feb 25. You can find show and ticket information here.


[email protected]