‘Something Rotten!’ musical forgoes Seattle, direct to Broadway

Screen Shot of website for new Broadway musical "Something Rotten!
Screen shot of website for new Broadway musical “Something Rotten!”

“Something  Rotten!” producers are so eager to get to Broadway they’re bypassing a world premiere in Seattle. With a plot about two brothers desperate to write a hit musical to compete with  Shakespeare, I can’t wait either. Tickets for the first three previews are  $15.95, the year in which the play is set: 1595. Cool.

The cheap seats for the first three previews — March 23-25 — will be available beginning Dec. 19 at the St. James Theatre box office and online at Telecharge.com. The St. James now houses the revival of “Side Show,” which is closing earlier than planned on Jan. 4  to make way for “Something Rotten!” (here’s why).

 The cast has not yet been announced, but a NYC workshop featured such heavy-hitters as Tony winner Christian Borle (“Peter and the Starcatcher,” “Smash”) as Shakespeare with Tony nominees Brian d’Arcy James (“Smash,” “Next to Normal,” “Shrek”).  James and John Cariani (“Fiddler on the Roof,” “Almost Maine”) portrayed the musical-writing Bottom brothers. (Bottom, like the weaver in 1596’s “A Midsummer’s Night Dream”?)

How it came about, so far

The Tony Award-winning director of “Book of Mormon” and “Aladdin,” Casey Nicholaw, will stage “Something Rotten!,” which has been developed in private readings and then the  workshop in October. The lead producer is Kevin McCollum, a Tony-winner  for “In the Heights,” “Avenue Q” and “Rent.”

Music and lyrics are by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick. Karey Kirkpatrick is collaborating on the musical’s book with John O’Farrell.

NYTimes writer Patrick Healey also pointed out in his article that “Something Rotten!” stand out because “The musical – one of the few these days not based on a movie, book, or jukebox song list.”

According to the NYTimes, the last musical comedy to open cold on Broadway, “Bullets Over Broadway,” had an A-list team yet still flopped and closed in August after five months. (I loved it, except for the dancing hot dog scene. UGH. Tap dancing’ gangsters, tho, were impossible to resists.) In contrast, “The Book of Mormon” opened cold on Broadway in 2011 and earned critical acclaim and the Tony Award for best musical, and has become a box-office blockbuster.

How the show’s website describes itself:

Image of the Chandos portrait, artist and authenticity unconfirmed. National Portrait Gallery, London./Wikipedia
The Chandos portrait, artist and authenticity unconfirmed. National Portrait Gallery, London./Wikipedia

“Welcome to the ‘90s — the 1590s — long before the dawn of premium tickets, star casting and reminders to turn off your cell phones. Brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom are desperate to write a hit play but are stuck in the shadow of that Renaissance rock star known as “The Bard.” When a local soothsayer foretells that the future of theater involves singing, dancing and acting at the same time, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first MUSICAL! But amidst the scandalous excitement of Opening Night, the Bottom Brothers realize that reaching the top means being true to thine own self… and all that jazz.”

So what do you think? Winner, or loser?