Rating: 5/5 stars
Say what? Did I just rate this show a 5/5? Oh I did. And not because I think it's the best show ever and is my new all-time favorite, because it's not. It's because you need to stop whatever you're doing and buy a ticket to this show. You will LOVE it and you will want to see it again. This show is why musical theatre is exciting, and fun, and absolutely worth the risk. And boy was this show a risk. Brand new story, new music, new writers and they didn't have an out of town run (which is super rare). What they had was a producer who didn't care about any of that and just believed in the show and the writers.
This past Monday night I attended the first preview of Something Rotten with a few friends to start off my birthday week. I cheated a little with this show because I read the script back in October while I was interning at Bespoke Theatricals (the general management company on this show). So I knew it was hilarious but hadn't heard any of the music. To sum it up for you without giving too much away, it is set in 1595 and follows two brothers that are a writing team in the same time and place as Shakespeare. They keep trying to write a hit play, but everyone adores Shakespeare and they can't seem to catch a break. Shakespeare is characterized as an arrogant rock star that is used to everyone fawning over him. One of the brothers visits a soothsayer to ask him what the next big thing in theatre will be...and he tells him "musicals." "You mean someone will be talking and then just break into song?...people enjoy that?" It just gets crazier and funnier from there on out.
I'm not even sure where to begin with how many different ways I can praise this musical. Alright, let's start with the story. It's very hard to write a completely original idea for Broadway. You generally have an easier time if your show is based off of a book or movie because it's something audiences can relate to. Yes, this story has Shakespeare in it, but after that, everything is from the writers' imaginations. And oh my goodness it is hysterical. It feels like some friends just got together and came up with all these amazing jokes and found a way to make them ALL work and flow together (which is probably what happened). The closest thing I can compare it to is The Princess Bride. It's a fun adventure, but totally goofy, and full of minor and major characters that you just absolutely love. I promise you that I had a stupid grin on my face the entire time.
The show starts with this incredible number called "Welcome to the Renaissance" and prepares you for an evening of contemporary pop/rock music written by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick who also wrote songs for Eric Clapton and Garth Brooks. Not your typical Broadway show tunes and they totally work. The lyrics are just so amazingly clever and you're trying to catch every line because they're all so funny and smart. To explain what I mean, we gave a standing ovation to the number "It's a Musical" which is halfway through the first act! That's insane!
As someone at my agency said, "I've never seen a show with that many Broadway veterans." And it really shows. There's a difference between veterans and stars. This show isn't full of Idina Menzel's, it's full of people who have been crafting their acting skills for years and years and sometimes in the background. They know how to be perfectly funny without being over the top. Brian d'Arcy James is the rock of this show and steers it perfectly. Christian Borle nails it as Shakespeare. And John Cariani is so amazingly awkward and adorable and is basically the human version of Kermit the Frog. He by far was my favorite. And all the minor characters were so memorable and funny. I could feel that every actor was so incredibly excited to be in this show and loved every moment they had.
I don't know what else you want from me. Go buy a ticket! This show is going to be a big hit. I think it'll get good reviews, it'll definitely get nominated for a few Tony categories, and it may even win some big ones (*hint hint*). Then word will get out and ticket prices will go up. GO NOW!
Who should see this show:
- Seriously everyone
How to get tickets:
- $37 Mezzanine seats, which are good seats: https://www.telecharge.com/Broadway/Something-Rotten/Ticket
- It sometimes shows up on TDF.org for $45 and would probably be better seats