‘The Bomb-itty of Errors’: Shaking up Shakespeare

Megan Nicole O’Brien is the first to admit that she doesn’t exactly exude street cred when it comes to hip-hop. “Who ever thought that I, a white girl from the suburbs, would be directing a four-man rap version of ‘The Comedy of Errors’?”

No matter how unlikely, O’Brien is once again directing “The Bomb-itty of Errors,” the so-called “ad-rap-tation” of the Bard’s comedy penned by Jordan Allen-Dutton, Jason Catalano, GQ and Erik Weiner. 11th Hour Theatre Company is remounting the production for the first time since it earned seven Barrymore nominations and two wins with its initial staging five years ago.

“It was the first show that put 11th Hour on the map artistically in Philadelphia,” O’Brien says. “It’s something that we’ve been really passionate about, and [it] ties in very much with our mission, which is about expanding the boundaries of musical theater.”

O’Brien describes the play, which is performed with a live DJ and four actors each playing multiple characters, as possessing a vibe reminiscent of ’80s/’90s acts like the Fresh Prince and Kris Kross. And for those who, like the director, don’t listen to much rap, she sees herself as the perfect guide.

“The writers have stayed true to that culture, so I’ve been immersed in it,” she says. “I think I’ve been able to communicate that to an audience who might not know a lot about the hip-hop genre either.”

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