'Something Rotten!' Bound for Broadway

The new musical comedy from brothers Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick and author John O'Farrell imagines the birth of the first musical in Shakespeare's England

By the pricking of my thumbs, Something Rotten! to Broadway comes.

Seizing on a plum vacancy created by the swift closing of Side Show at the St. James Theatre on Jan. 4, producer Kevin McCollum has announced the next tenant at that prime Broadway venue.

A world-premiere musical comedy that imagines the birth of musical comedy, Something Rotten! will begin previews on March 23 at the St. James, with an official opening set for April 22. Casey Nicholaw, co-director of the massive Broadway hit The Book of Mormon as well as Disney's Aladdin, will stage and choreograph the production.

Set in England in the 1590s, the show follows the desperate efforts of writing team Nick and Nigel Bottom to compete in a theatrical market dominated by the Bard. When a fortuneteller sees a future spectacle driven by the revolutionary concept of singing, dancing and acting at the same time, the brothers set out to produce the world's very first musical.

Read more 'Side Show' Packs Up Its Tent Early on Broadway

Mirroring its story, Something Rotten! comes from the pen of sibling composers Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick, who teamed on the music and lyrics. Karey Kirkpatrick co-wrote the book with best-selling British comic author John O'Farrell, whose books include An Utterly Impartial History of Britain. O'Farrell is also known for his satirical columns in The Guardian and for his TV writing, including the 1980s cult comedy series, Spitting Image.

As a songwriter, Wayne Kirkpatrick's work has been recorded by Amy Grant, Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Trisha Yearwood, Joe Cocker and Eric Clapton, whose version of Kirkpatrick's "Change the World" won the 1997 Grammy Award for Song of the Year.

Karey Kirkpatrick's screenwriting credits including Chicken Run, James and the Giant Peach, Charlotte's Web and The Spiderwick Chronicles. He directed the Eddie Murphy comedy Imagine That and co-directed the 2006 animated feature Over the Hedge.

Lead producer McCollum's strong track record with original musicals includes Rent, Avenue Q and In the Heights. He and Nicholaw previously teamed on another musical about musicals, The Drowsy Chaperone. McCollum's upcoming Broadway projects also include the transfer of off-Broadway hit Hand to God, which opens on April 7 at the Booth Theatre.

Casting for Something Rotten! is to be announced.

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