The Broadway Musical Blog – Musical theater news and gossip from the Great White Way

Dishing out daily (or almost daily) Broadway musical news and gossip. The companion site to The Broadway Musical Home (, a directory of Broadway musicals with the story, songs, merchandise, video clips, lyrics, tickets, rights & awards for almost 200 shows.

Archive for Brian d’Arcy James

The Reviews for Something Rotten! are In…

Something Rotten

Photo by Sara Krulwich

The reviews for Something Rotten! are in, and most find the new musical to be something wonderful, while some others feel it’s just a bit more rotten than it should be.  The musical is set in the Elizabethan Renaissance, when Shakespeare (a devilish idol, winningly played by Christian Borle) is the hottest thing in London and the Bottom brothers (played by Brian D’Arcy James and John Cariani) are struggling playwrights hoping to debut the next big thing – the musical! – and win some fame for themselves.  The humor is nerdy and low-brow at once (not wholly unlike much of Shakespeare’s comedy) and the music is extravagant in a tongue-in-cheek way, but there are plenty of smarts at play here too.  There seems to be something for everyone, from Shakespeare-lovers, to big musicals-lovers, even to Book of Mormon and Mel Brooks-lovers.  You won’t hear this much (ever) but head to Something Rotten! for a jolly good time!


Unchecked enthusiasm is not always an asset in musical comedy, despite the genre’s reputation for wholesale peppiness. “Something Rotten!,” the rambunctious new show that opened on Wednesday night at the St. James Theater, dances dangerously on the line between tireless and tedious, and winds up collapsing into … 



Do you fondly remember that “Taming of the Shrew” episode from “Moonlighting,” back in 1986? Whenever blue, do you stream “Shakespeare in Love” for succor? Are you a fierce partisan for “Blackadder II?” Elizabethan fops and wenches forming a stagewide kick line cause a little flutter under the ruff? If you answer… 



The Shakespearean references come thick and fast, along with the winking nods to a whole plethora of modern musicals, in “Something Rotten!” But the laughs in this rambunctious comedy by Broadway newcomers Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick, written with British humorist John O’Farrell and buoyed by a top-drawer cast, … 



The first sign that things might go a little nutty at “Something Rotten!” is in the second song when William Shakespeare is called, well, a “little turd.” The Bard is mocked as “the poster child for why no one should ever procreate” and “a hack with a knack for stealing anything he can.” Those are some of the … 



Shakespeare is a charismatic and conniving copycat who wears skin-tight leather pants in the new musical comedy “Something Rotten!” An easygoing effort from the director of “The Book of Mormon,” the real brains—and heart—of “Rotten!” belong to the Bottom Brothers, a pair of aspiring writers who challenge the Bard 


President Barack Obama on Broadway musicals

Yesterday, the Obama family welcomed Broadway to the White house in an event hosted by Nathan Lane, which featured performances by Idina Menzel, Audra McDonald and Brian d’Arcy James, among others. The President opened the event with a reflection on musical theatre’s national significance:

“Now there’s nothing quite like the power and the passion of Broadway music….It’s one of the few genres of music that can inspire the same passion in an eight-year-old that it can an 80-year-old — and make them both want to get up and dance….In many ways, the story of Broadway is also intertwined with the story of America. Some of the greatest singers and songwriters Broadway has ever known came to this country on a boat with nothing more than an idea in their head and a song in their heart. And they succeeded the same way that so many immigrants have succeeded — through talent and hard work and sheer determination.  Over the years, musicals have also been at the forefront of our social consciousness, challenging stereotypes, shaping our opinions about race and religion, death and disease, power and politics.  But perhaps the most American part of this truly American art form is its optimism. Broadway music calls us to see the best in ourselves and in the world around us — to believe that no matter how hopeless things may seem, the nice guy can still get the girl, the hero can still triumph over evil, and a brighter day can be waiting just around the bend.”

The event was taped and will be broadcast on PBS on October 20, 2010.


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