(Well, they’re not that ROTTEN)
1. THE BOTTOM BROTHERS
Despite what you might think from their last name, actors Brian d’Arcy James (Nick Bottom) and John Cariani (Nigel Bottom) are far from being on the bottom. They portray a playwriting duo that is trying to create their next big hit (or only big hit), while Shakespeare has built up a pretty big fan-base throughout Europe. Brian d’Arcy James will not only make you believe he hates Shakespeare, but also create genius magic on stage in a high-energy and laugher filled performance. John Cariani throws so much sensitivity and innocence into his character that you can’t help but love him. Cariani plays the brother whose words flow onto the page, and idolizes The Bard. Nick and Nigel are the perfect pair, and director, Casey Nicholaw couldn’t have picked better actors to play this duo.
2. THE BARD
Christian Borle portrays the great William Shakespeare and there is no doubt that he is the WILL OF THE PEOPLE. You will “fan-girl” over him as much as the actors on stage do. He claims it’s “hard to be The Bard,” but this guy is a total rockstar! From his hip-thrusting to terrific tapping, he will thrill you as Will. Rhyming is expected. Borle steals the scene when he enters because “IT’S SHAKESPEARE!” Plus, #ChristianBorlesArms do make an appearance for all you fans out there.
3. THE SUPPORTING PLAYERS: THE GENTS
TONY AWARD NOMINEE, Brad Oscar plays the Soothsayer Nostradamus (not that Nostradamus!!), who assists Nick Bottom, through slightly misinterpreted visions. These visions include what the next great thing in the theatre will be (“Musicals”). *Hint Hint* Standing O’s every night so it has got to be a good idea. Michael James Scott, who opens the show and welcomes you to the Renaissance, will have you smiling from the moment he steps onstage. His liveliness and the overwhelming sense of joy from the orchestrations will have you tapping your foot along to the beat. Brooks Ashmanskas, Peter Bartlett, and Gerry Vichi, will knock your socks off as their respected characters. Prepare ye, because these 1590’s gents know how to WORK IT.
4. THE SUPPORTING PLAYERS: THE GALS
A Puritan and a wife who know that girls can do anything that men can do. Kate Reinders and Heidi Blickenstaff portray these amazing female characters. In the midst of these leading men, these gals stand out, giving the story a strong and delicate advancement. These gals will fight for what they believe in and their performances are one-of-a-kind.
5. THE ENSEMBLE
Let’s just give a round of applause for these guys and gals who seem to have a costume and character change every minute. Whether it’s Shakespeare’s “crew,” poor wenches, sophisticated 1590’s Europeans, or the Bottom Brother’s acting troupe, this ensemble of talented actors and actresses can pull it off. They are definitely bringing you “the latest and the greatest” of the Renaissance. Just expect this ensemble to give you their ALL, because they do, each and every night.
6. THE MUSICAL NUMBERS
Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick, came up with 19 of the most creative songs you will hear on Broadway this season, and maybe even ever. Yes, they’re THAT GOOD! Be warned, you will walk away with more than one of these tunes stuck in your head. You will be humming the notes and trying to remember more than the most notable lyrics in the number (i.e. “Welcome to the Renaissance” can only be sung repeatedly so many times until we can frantically learn the rest of the words). Don’t fret, the album digitally “drops,” as they say, June 2nd.
7. THE CHOREOGRAPHY
Casey Nicholaw, Director and Choreographer extraordinaire. From tap battles, to Rockette kicks, the choreography in this show is unexplainably incredible. The minute the first number begins you will be in awe of the fancy footwork that takes place on the stage of the St. James Theatre. His directorial choices are what keeps the show flowing and the dancers are so well taught, that they never miss a beat….see what I did there? With simple steps and extravagant full-out musical numbers, you’re not going to need to wish for anything more.
8. THE COSTUMES & SCENIC DESIGN:
Stunning Modern-Renaissance costuming and scenery is pleasurable to the eye….but according to the Puritans, that’s a sin. Scott Pask (scenery) and Gregg Barnes (costumes) will transport you into the Renaissance.
9. THE JOKES
Non-stop laughter. As in, you will be laughing for 2 ½ hours. The jokes and references made in this show are so well-written (thank you, John O’Farrell) and cleverly delivered that you just don’t understand how they did it, but it is done….EFFORTLESSLY. Something Rotten tips their hat with odes to the theatre, which you will just have to listen for when you go see the musical. Sorry, refusing to include any spoilers.
10. THE TONY NOMINATIONS
10 of them….you’ve heard correctly, and there is a reason for that. You just have to go see this show. Just ask anyone who has experienced this Rotten performance and they will tell you it’s anything but. Guess all we have to do is wait until the Tony Awards on June 7th to see what’s in store….but until then, the show is open, and despite what the advertisements say, the actors do seem to know all their lines! HUZZAH!
***Photo credits to Broadway.com & Playbill.com***
A Look Back