Something Rotten! Q&A with Queer Thespian, Blake Hammond

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If you've been looking for a reason to catch a musical at The Fox Theatre, you're in luck! One of the most rotten, hilarious original musicals is making its debut in ATL this week with cheeky classics like "Bottom's Gonna Be On Top!".

Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon, Aladdin), Something Rotten follows playwright brothers, Nick and Nigel Bottom, as they try to climb to the top, taking on Renaissance Rockstar William Shakespeare. In 2015, it was nominated for a whopping ten Tony Awards, including Best Musical. 

Three of the principal Broadway actors will be appearing in the traveling production: Rob McClure as Nick Bottom, Adam Pascal as Shakespeare and Josh Grisetti as Nigel Bottom.

WUSSY had the chance to speak with queer actor, Blake Hammond, about his role as the boisterous fortune teller, Thomas Nastradamus. 

Something Rotten will run at Atlanta's historic Fox Theatre from April 17-22.
Tickets are available here

 

Something Rotten is one of the most beloved original Broadway productions in the last few years. Why do you think audiences have connected with it?

Well first off I will say it is truly funny with a capital F!!! So few productions come our way these days that are an original story not based on any other previous medium. I think it's refreshing for audiences to discover something new in the theatre. And you're right - they really connect with the piece.

 

What's the most exciting part about playing the soothsayer, Nostradamus? Favorite number?

The most exciting part about my role is the fact that I am sort of in my own play. No other character comes from my world and being a soothsayer, it gives me great freedom to be creative and wacky! Fun! And of course my favorite number is one I share with Rob McClure and our fantastic ensemble. "It's a Musical". You have to see it to believe it!

 

You've played so many iconic queer roles, from Edna Turnblad in Hairspray to Pumbaa in The Lion King, can you pick a favorite and why? 

I dearly love Edna Turnblad. Many times you will see a man in drag playing a man in drag but with Edna you are actually someone’s mother! I adore that. I loved that by the time you get to "Timeless to Me" the audience has really sort of forgotten you're a man. They just accept Edna and Wilbur as married couple. But I also love "When Pig's Fly". It was a show I did Off Broadway and again in Los Angeles and it is fantastic. Get the soundtrack. You won't be sorry!

 

I know I've seen you in at least The Addams Family when you all rolled through Atlanta. What's your experience like with Atlanta and ATL audiences?

I always have fun in Atlanta. Audiences there know good theatre when they see it and I appreciate that. I was first there with Lion King for 8 weeks a zillion years ago. But have since been back with Addams and Cinderella at the Fox! What a glorious beautiful theater and I can't wait to play it again. Love the pipe organ at half hour. 

 

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Can you give us any tea on what goes down on the road with touring productions like this? 

Well I wouldn't want to spill the tea on any of my beautiful cast mates, but I will tell you that on this show it has been a huge love fest. We all have a great time together and there are so many stunning men and women. Eye Candy all around!

 

Do you still get nervous going on stage?

I really don't get nervous much any more. Of course the first time you start a new show there are some nerves and it takes a while to settle down. But for the most part I just feel excited to get out there and have fun. 

 

A lot of queer kids find their tribes working on school productions -- did you have something like that when you were younger?

I really didn't. I am from a small town in Texas. Only 23 people in my High School graduating class. But I soon found my tribe in College at  The University of Texas. But I love that these kids find each other. We theater folk are a special breed and oh I love us!


Any advice for young queer thespians? 

My advice for young people period is listen to your heart and follow your dreams. Like I said, I came from a tiny town of 1800 people and I made it. I am living out my dreams. Professional theatre happens all over this country. If I can do it - you can too!