John Szablewski Previews

First Look: ‘Something Rotten!’ at Shea’s Buffalo Theatre

The cast of the National Tour of ‘Something Rotten!’ Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

If you follow current Broadway trends you will know that almost every show that graces the stage on the Great White Way comes from some other source material. It is either based on a book, a movie, or some other concept. It is very rare that an original work comes to life on Broadway because of the risk involved. Fortunately for the theatergoing public, there are a few original works that break through, one being ‘Something Rotten!,’ the Broadway Smash Hit that takes their audiences back to the 90’s. The 1590’s. . .

“Something Rotten!” tells the story of Nick and Nigel Bottom, a pair of playwriting brothers who set out to write the next big hit in theatre. Their rival, William Shakespeare, writes hit after hit, and they are tired of not even making ends meat. One day Nick decides to go and visit a soothsayer, in the attempts to find out what the future holds. Nostradamus, well, his nephew, says that the next big thing in theatre will be a musical! And if Nick and Nigel want to beat the Bard at his own game, their musical needs to be called, ‘Omelet.’

Starring in the role of Brother Jeremiah, the puritan Bible-thumper who is sent to save England from all the ‘pleasures’ of art and theatre, is Scott Cote. “I first learned about the show when I saw it on Broadway, and I was completely blown away by it,” says Cote.

Brother Jeremiah is essentially the villain in the piece, and is also the father of Nigel Bottom’s love interest, Portia. “My character wants to stop the two brothers from writing their show, and most definitely stop the one brother from even thinking about my daughter,” laughs Cote. 

When it comes to playing a character that is not based on anything and has no source material, Cote says that you have to trust your instincts. “I was given the freedom to create this character, using my own ideas,” says Cote, “there is very little given on the page, so it’s up to me.”

“Something Rotten!” has been said to create converts out of audience members who might be dragged to see a show against their will. “It’s a really good show. It’s well written, it’s witty, and it’s really funny,” says Cote. “At the stage door I meet people who rave about it, and they say that it really makes them feel better.”

Of all the songs in this show, ‘A Musical’ the show stopping Act One number where Nick learns about what the theatre will be like in the future is Cote’s favorite. “It is a love letter to the theatre, and it is just a perfect production number,” says Cote. It would have to be, since the song lasts roughly 10-12 minutes. “We say that it is a show stopping number, but really, it literally stops the show every single night.”

Cote goes on to say that the cast created a hashtag for this tour, #MakeAmericaLaughAgain. “This is a show that audiences really need right now. Come see it, you will be really surprised.”

“Something Rotten!” opens on March 6 at Shea’s Buffalo Theatre and runs until March 11, 2018. For more information, click here.