|The cast of Something Rotten|
I saw the show last month and it is the one show I would recommend to everyone. The premise is that Nigel (John Cariani) and Nick (Brian d'Arcy James) Bottom are brothers who are playwrights in England at the same time as Shakespeare. Nick doesn't understand why everyone thinks Shakespeare is so great, and Nigel worships the man.
The Bottom brothers need a hit, and Nick goes to visit Nostradamus (the fabulous Tony-nominated Brad Oscar) to see if he can find out what kind of show he needs to write to have a hit show. This results in the show-stopping tune A Musical that contains snippets of songs from some of the most iconic Broadway musicals of all time (Annie, Rent, Sweet Charity, Chicago, Phantom of the Opera-you get the idea). The audience gave this number a middle-of-the-show standing ovation, something I've only seen once, for the Genie in Aladdin, played by Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart.
Shakespeare in the show is portrayed by the brilliant Christian Borle, who won the Tony for his portrayal of Shakespeare as a combination of Prince/James Brown/Mick Jagger. He was born to play this role, similar to his other Tony-winning performance as Black Stache in Peter and the Star Catcher. (He's a nice guy too. And Brian d'Arcy James has the most beautiful eyes and the kindest smile.)
Other standouts in the cast include Heidi Blickenstaff as Nick's wife Bea, Michael James Scott as Minstrel and Brooks Ashmanskas as Brother Jeremiah.
At Barnes and Noble, they opened with another great number, God, I Hate Shakespeare, which highlights the terrific talents of Brian d'Arcy James (Nick) and John Cariani (Nigel). These guys have a great brotherly chemistry.
Cariani and Kate Reinders sang the next song, the sweetly comedic I Love the Way.
Christian Borle finished the performances with the Queen-sounding Hard to Be the Bard, which is also a favorite from the show.
This is the perfect show- funny, great songs, and a fantastic cast- and it is a must-see even at full price.
The Something Rotten website is here.