'Nashville' Star Will Chase to Return to Broadway

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Will Chase

The actor will step into the role of theatrical rock star William Shakespeare in the musical comedy 'Something Rotten!,' a part he originated in the show's earliest reading.

Will Chase is trading America's country music capital for Elizabethan England.

The Nashville star will return to Broadway this summer when he joins the cast of the satirical musical comedy Something Rotten! Chase will play Shakespeare, the Renaissance rock star who makes life difficult for two brothers struggling to gain a foothold as theater artists — until they stumble upon the idea of staging a musical.

Chase originated the scene-stealing part in the show's very first reading, but his role as Luke Wheeler on the ABC drama Nashville prevented him from joining the cast when Something Rotten! opened at Broadway's St. James Theater in March last year. The role instead was taken by Christian Borle, winning him a Tony Award for best featured actor in a musical.

News emerged yesterday that Chase, along with fellow series regular Audrey Peeples, would exit Nashville, which is moving to CMT in its fifth season, after being canceled by ABC.

Borle will play his final performance in Something Rotten! on July 16; he is leaving the production to star in a limited-engagement fall Broadway revival of Falsettos before jumping in the spring to the new musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, in which he has been cast as Willy Wonka.

Chase steps into Something Rotten! on July 18, along with fellow new cast recruits Catherine Brunell, Josh Grisetti and Leslie Kritzer. Chase's previous Broadway credits include Rent, High Fidelity, The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Billy Elliot; he also appeared with Borle on NBC's backstage Broadway drama series Smash.

Directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon), Something Rotten! has grossed $55 million on Broadway to date.