A New Musical from the Director of “The Book of Mormon”
On March 23, 2015, Something Rotten! began previews at the St. James Theatre. This is a new musical with a book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell, and music and lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick. The musical is directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, who also directed and choreographed The Book of Mormon, Aladdin, Elf, and The Drowsy Chaperone. The musical will officially open on April 22, 2015, and is scheduled for an open ended run. The musical deals with two brothers named Nigel Bottom and Nick Bottom, who are desperately attempting to write a hit play, but they keep being overshadowed by some guy named William Shakespeare. In this effort, they accidentally invent the first ever musical! Like the protagonists, the show was conceived by a pair of brothers: Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick. Though they are both Broadway newbies, they have had a great deal of success in other realms. Wayne Kirkpatrick is a songwriter based in Nashville whose hit songs have been sung by the likes of Amy Grant, Trisha Yearwood, Eric Clapton, and Garth Brooks. Meanwhile, Karey Kirkpatrick is based in Los Angeles, where he is a writer and director of such films as James and the Giant Peach, Chicken Run, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
The lead roles of the musical writing brothers are played by John Cariani (Fiddler on the Roof) and Brian d’Arcy James (Macbeth, Time Stands Still, Next to Normal, Shrek the Musical). The role of William Shakespeare is played by Christian Borle (Peter and the Starcatcher, Legally Blonde, Mary Poppins). Additional roles are played by Brooks Ashmanskas (Bullets over Broadway, Promises, Promises, Present Laughter), Heidi Blickenstaff (The Addams Family, [title of show], The Little Mermaid), Brad Oscar (Big Fish, Nice Work if You Can Get It), and Kate Reinders (Good Vibrations, Wicked, Gypsy). In addition to the extremely successful director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten! also has a very experienced creative team. The scenic design is by Scott Pask, the lighting design is by Jeff Croiter, the costume design is by Gregg Barnes, the sound design is by Peter Hylenski, the musical coordinator is John Miller, and the conductor is Phil Reno. Also notably, the lead producer is Kevin McCollum, who is also behind Hand to God this season, as well as The Last Ship, Motown the Musical, and Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.
Difficult to Pre-Sell, but Not Necessarily to Sell
In his interview with Variety, producer Kevin McCollum was questioned about his choice of lead producing two new shows this season – Something Rotten! and Hand to God – both of which have little name recognition with the average audience member. In response, he said that these shows are not hard to sell; they are just hard to pre-sell. Something Rotten!, which is still in previews, is proving this to be correct thus far, as the box office figures in the first few weeks of the run are not spectacular. In the last reported week of box office, the week ending April 12, 2015, the show brought in $619,159, which represents 76.60% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $197.00, the average paid admission was $66.50. However, the good news is that this is a steady increase from the previous two weeks. Even with one fewer performance, that week was an increase of $112,057 from the week ending April 5, 2015, and that week showed and increase of $143,228 from the week before. Therefore, word of mouth is beginning to spread, and the post-opening reviews will prove whether this musical will be a long-standing hit.