The Tony Award-winning musical “Something Rotten!” is the type of ridiculous, riotous production that can sometimes have its own cast members using words to describe it that don’t necessarily go together in a normal sentence.
“It’s got a lot of, sort of heartfelt, crude humor,” said Emily Morris, who plays the role of Bea in the Broadway touring production of “Something Rotten!” coming to the Lexington Opera House this weekend. “It’s a big comedy. I’ve never done something so funny.”
Part of the what makes the 2015 hit musical so beloved by audiences is a story that offers a unique revisionist take on musical theatre, history and on a few iconic figures. Written by brothers Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick, “Something Rotten!” tells the tale of struggling sibling playwrights Nigel and Nick Bottom, who are having to deal with the unfortunate circumstance of fighting for theatrical attention with William Shakespeare during his peak in the Renaissance.
Out of frustration, Nick visits a soothsayer that happens to be the nephew of the famed Nostradamus, Thomas, who reveals the future of musical theatre will involve a lot of singing and dancing, leading the brothers to write the very first musical with more than a few hilarious missteps along the way.
The original Broadway production of “Something Rotten!” ended up earning 10 Tony Award nominations and one win for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Christian Borle for his portrayal of William Shakespeare as a sort of rock star celebrity version of “The Bard” who eats up being the hottest commodity in the theatre world.
As for Morris’ role in the touring Broadway production as Bea, she is Nick’s wife but also “the first feminist” who is determined to break into the male-dominated world of theatre by any means necessary.
“I get to play lots of boys, so I get to wear lots of facial hair, wear lots of costumes, do lots of different voices. It’s really fun,” she said.
Morris has been touring with “Something Rotten!” through more than 140 shows across 50 cities and she said there are more than a few moments that consistently get audiences in an uproar. One is the number “A Musical,” where Thomas Nostradamus introduces Nick to the art form in a song that drops enough Broadway references that will certainly delight theatre fans.
As “Something Rotten!” makes its way across the country, Morris said while the show is consistently funny, what can make the difference between an entertaining musical comedy and an unforgettable night at the theatre is largely up the crowd.
“Traveling with a comedy is fun because, with comedy, there’s always another character that’s the audience, and that’s truly like another character. We feed off that so much,” she said. “When audiences are really excited and vocal and laughing and present, that makes the show that much more fun for everyone, so don’t be afraid to get into it.”
When: 8 p.m. March 22, 2 and 8 p.m. March 23, 1 and 6:30 p.m. March 24
Where: Lexington Opera House, 401 W. Short St.
Tickets: $30 to $120
859-233-4567 or lexingtonoperahouse.com