I have just witnessed greatness on Broadway and it is rotten. "Something Rotten" to be exact; the new musical from people responsible for The Book of Mormon, Avenue Q and Aladdin. Currently in previews at the St. James Theater, this is a show for people that love musicals, people that hate musicals, musical nerds and for people with no opinion about anything.
It is the story of two brothers in the 1590's and their struggle to make a big entertainment hit with Shakespeare as their main rival for success. I am not going to give anymore away as this is something that must be witnessed in person to fully enjoy. I will only say that the show does a brilliant job of not taking itself or the Broadway industry as a whole too seriously, which is why I think it will be such a success.
Everything in the show is top-notch. From the costumes, to the sets, to clever songs and references, and the performances. The cast is led by Brian D'Arcy James (Shrek, Macbeth) and John Cariani (Fiddler on the Roof) as the two brothers, Nick & Nigel Bottom (ergo the inside jokes start). There is also Christian Borle (Peter and the Starcatcher, Spamalot) who does a fantastically campy turn as The Bard himself, Shakespeare, the current rock star of the time. The supporting cast are just as strong as the leads and equally hilarious in their role, notably Brad Oscar as Nostradamus and Brooks Ashmanskas as Brother Jeremiah.
This show is an absolute breath of fresh air and will be the surprise hit of the season. If I have to nag, I think the first act is stronger than the second in that it seems better paced and more fluid, but it is in previews so there may yet be changes. I am looking forward to seeing it again once it has opened and I can't wait to share my experience with my guests and friends.