This week, Columbus is experiencing something new as a city. For the first time since being founded in 1828, Columbus will serve as the launch site for the U.S. national tour of a Broadway show.
Something Rotten! opened on Broadway in 2015 to critical acclaim. The production did 742 performances before closing in early 2017. Its first national tour launched nine days later, and this week the musical begins a second tour with an all new cast and crew.
Set in 1595, the story of Something Rotten! involves two brothers who are desperate to write a hit play. They consult a local soothsayer who foretells that the future of theatre involves singing, dancing and acting at the same time, so they set out to write the world's very first musical. Hilarity ensues and a musical is born.
The new national tour will launch from Columbus tomorrow evening after spending nearly two weeks at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts preparing the technical aspects of the show and rehearsing the cast for their 32-week tour.
Norm Easterbrook, RiverCenter's Executive Director, is thrilled to have the production and its crew launch from RiverCenter. "We are extraordinarily excited to welcome the cast and crew of Something Rotten! to RiverCenter," said Easterbrook. "We have been working for the past 18 months to find a compatible time in our season schedule. We are thrilled that it has all worked out this time."
In addition to putting Columbus on the map as a desirable city for launching Broadway tours in the future, the extended presence of the cast and crew is expected to generate a big economic impact for our community.
“This project utilizes the existing building and infrastructure of RiverCenter and the producers will be bringing new revenue to the community as they purchase materials and services in the local community,” said Easterbrook. “We will monitor the economic impact of the project while they are in Columbus, but early estimates are that they will generate in excess of one million dollars in economic activity."
These projections come from a variety of sources that take into account the type of spending promoted by these types of endeavors, as well as the necessities of local involvement as a host city.
"Most (of the economic activity) is centered in the hotel and hospitality economy," said Easterbrook. "But some activity is also in sectors that provide transportation services, materials, and supplies to support the start of a major national theatrical tour."
Easterbrook said that seeing the process behind a production of this magnitude has been amazing. "When we do a performance for a single evening or two we miss out on what makes live theatre so special – the human component of the creative process. To see our lobbies filled with wonderful dancers, singers, actors and all of the creative team drives home the point that theatre is very much a living, volatile process. This imparts an energy to the space that makes RiverCenter something different than the beautiful building that it is. For many of us that have careers in the theatre, myself included, this is the very environment that inspired us to work in the profession in the first place. It has been great to get in touch with that sense of community again."
The RiverCenter staff has gone above and beyond to make sure the cast and crew of Something Rotten! has had access to everything they needed during their time in Columbus.
"We have done everything that we can to be welcoming, and the environment of RiverCenter and the surrounding area certainly supports that," said Easterbrook. "For the members of this particular company this is the start of thirty-two weeks away from their homes and families. The company members span a wide range in age and experience, with some of the company touring for the first time while others have been touring for years. There has been a good mix of things for the cast to do while not rehearsing, and it has been a very easy environment for them to do their work and get away and relax between calls at the same time."
As a part of their residency at RiverCenter, crews have been filming rehearsals. In addition to this footage, the live performance tomorrow night at RiverCenter will be filmed and photographed as well.
Tickets are on sale for the first public performance of the new U.S. tour of Something Rotten! For more information on how to secure tickets visit https://rivercenter.org or call (706) 256-3612. ◼︎
If You Go:
What: Something Rotten!
When: September 19, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Bill Heard Theatre, RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, 900 Broadway
Call: (706) 256-3612
More to Know:
All images and the video in this article are from the original production of Something Rotten! and were shared directly from the producer with RiverCenter for press. Copyright belongs to Something Rotten! and the appropriate parties therein.