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‘Something Rotten!’ Heats Up Broadway’s New Musical Race

“Something Rotten!,” the new musical comedy directed by “The Book of Mormon” and “Aladdin” helmer Casey Nicholaw (pictured, above) and produced by Kevin McCollum (“Motown,” “Avenue Q”), has locked in a Broadway run that starts previews in March.

The addition brings one more contender to a Broadway season of new musicals that started off slow in the fall but picks up in 2015, with “Something Rotten!” joining a springtime lineup already set to include “Finding Neverland,” “Fun Home,” “Honeymoon in Vegas,” “An American in Paris” and “Doctor Zhicago.” Along with the Sting musical “The Last Ship,” the only other new Broadway musical to open this season was the short-lived “Holler If Ya Hear Me.”

“Something Rotten!” will skip the pre-Broadway tryout run the show had initially scheduled for April at the 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle, having gained some behind-the-scenes buzz in New York thanks to a series of developmental workshops and industry readings. The well-reviewed but sales-challenged revival of “Side Show,” which opened in November, will make way for “Something Rotten!” when it shutters at the St. James Theater Jan. 4.

Comedy “Something Rotten!” centers on two Elizabethan-age brothers who, resentful of working in the shadow of bardic rockstar Shakespeare, follow a soothsayer’s advice and invent musical theater. Country and pop songwriter Wayne Kirkpatrick and his brother Karey Kirkpatrick — a screenwriter whose output has included “Chicken Run” and “Smurfs 2” — pen the music and lyrics, with book by Karey Kirkpatrick and UK novelist-screenwriter John O’Farrell.

No casting for the Broadway staging has yet been set. Actors to have been involved in prior readings include Christian Borle, Brian D’Arcy James, Beth Leavel and Will Chase.

“Something Rotten!” aims to combat the marketing obstacle of an unfamiliar title by offering $15.95 tickets for all seats at its three initial preview performances. The show starts previews March 23 ahead of an April 22 opening at the St. James.

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