Some of you may remember young Owen Fitzpatrick from his thought-provoking letter to Mr. Dickens last Christmas. The promising student returns to The Hanover Theatre this week to see Broadway’s “Something Rotten!” and took a moment to reflect on why kids should like Shakespeare. Read his short essay below!

Owen Fitzpatrick backstage at The Hanover Theatre.

Kids should like Shakespeare. There. I said it. I know what you’re thinking. What? In today’s world of short attention spans, we text without vowels, we watch gifs instead of the news and we read 140 character posts instead of books. I have no doubt that “Something Rotten!” will make your kids say, “Huh. Who was this guy? Who was William Shakespeare?” 


The two struggling playwrights Nick and Nigel Bottom will tell you that Will Shakespeare is an egotistical, plot-stealing, undeserving rock star. He’s Kanye dissing Taylor Swift and Bieber driving a sports car made of mirrors. “Something Rotten!” jokes that Will put the “I am” in iambic pentameter.


Even though the Bottom brothers are shaking their angry fists at old Will, the man could write a play. Almost everyone knows a crumb or two of Shakespeare, whether it’s “Romeo, Romeo. Wherefore art thou?” or “To be or not to be. That is the question.” The humor of “Something Rotten!” may very well open your kid’s minds to say, “Shakespeare. Maybe I should Google him.”

I’m lucky that I’ve seen Shakespeare in the Park every summer for as long as I can remember. I remember having to concentrate and strain my brain to follow the dialogue that was so different from how I speak. Shakespeare’s word choice is unparalleled. It is so far beyond what we use today, but it is the yesterday of it that can bend a kid’s brain. It made me want to be a writer. 


“Something Rotten!” promises something for all ages. Hopefully it will inspire curiosity and a return to the classics by essentially stomping all over history in muddy boots. I invite you to join me and my family at The Hanover Theatre. When the curtain falls, you’ll wish that the show could go on as you stand and cheer for the actors. Expose your kids to live performances. They can’t ask a meme for an encore.