BWW Interview: Julian Burzynski Jr. of SOMETHING ROTTEN! at Fisher Theatre says It's Hilarious - A Show for Everyone!
Something Rotten! is a completely original new musical directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw, known for his work on The Book of Mormon and Disney's Aladdin that is opening the Broadway in Detroit season on September 25th at the Fisher Theatre. The hilarious new musical comedy tells the story of brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom, stuck in the shadow of Renaissance rockstar, Will Shakespeare. When the next big thing in theatre involves singing, dancing, and acting at the same time, the Bottom brothers set out to write the world's very first musical! BroadwayWorld Detroit had a chance to speak with Michigan-born Julian Burzynski Jr., an ensemble member in the show, who is loving every moment of being part of the show before it opens here on September 25th in Detroit. "It's definitely a show for everyone. People who love musical theatre or want to get more into musical theatre," he said. "It's truly incredible and hilarious." Here is what else he had to say about Something Rotten!, life on tour, and coming back to Michigan.
BroadwayWorld Detroit: Can you a brief background of yourself and then your theatre career as an introduction for our readers?
Julian Burzynski Jr.: I was born in Michigan and most of my family still lives around Macomb Township and Sterling Heights. I grew up in Bloomfield Hills where I attended Detroit Country Day School until my family and I moved to Chicago in 2nd grade. I lived there and attended a performing arts high school where I found my love for musical theatre, performing, and dancing. Then I went to college in North Carolina at Elon University and studied musical theatre where I received my BFA in May of 2017. For the past year, I was dancing on Norwegian Cruise Line, the Norwegian Star, until about May. Then Something Rotten! was holding auditions and I audition and, luckily, I am a part of the amazing show.
BWW Detroit: How would you describe Something Rotten! in your own words?
Julian Burzynski Jr.: Something Rotten! is definitely a show for everybody. It is set in the 1590s, which is the Elizabethan era. It's a story about two brothers, Nick and Nigel Bottom, who are desperate to write a hit play, but during in this time they are stuck in the shadow of Shakespeare, who in show, is a rock star and is known as The Bard. Nick Bottom is desperate to write a hit so he seeks out a local soothsayer without anybody knowing who foretells that the future of theatre involves singing, dancing, and acting, which is a musical. Then Nick and Nigel set out write the first musical ever, but, in all excitement, the Bottom brothers both realize that reaching the top and writing a hit means being true to themselves and listening to their heart.
BWW Detroit: What do you take on as being an ensemble member of the show?
Julian Burzynski Jr.: Something really cool about Something Rotten! is that each ensemble members gets to play a lot of different exciting characters throughout the show. My favorite character that I play would definitely be a Bard Boy, which is Shakespeare's back up dancer. I'm one of four Bard Boys. He is a rock star so we are behind him living our best back up dancer lives and it is so fun with the other three Bard Boys to really go for it. There is a lot of leather and I get to fulfill like a rock and roll dream of being on stage and feeling that energy of the crowd so that is my favorite character I get to play. Everyone in the show, especially the ensemble members, gets to do so many different things that makes the show so special.
BWW Detroit: Shakespeare is such a well-known historical figure and this is such a different type of show including him, yet not a Shakespeare show most people will recognize, why do you think people will like this show?
Julian Burzynski Jr.: I think people will like Something Rotten! because it really is a show for everybody. The humor is so incredible that anybody who saw the show is going to be laughing the entire time. People might hear Shakespeare and get scared that it's all in verse or you need to well-educated in all aspects of Shakespeare, but you don't. Anybody who knows little to a lot of Shakespeare will enjoy the show because everything is written so carefully that everyone who comes to see it will understand it. The combination of the singing, dancing, and acting pulls from different musicals that have been so popular, monumental, and building what Broadway is now are included show and it's just a beautiful homage to those as well as an original musical that Something Rotten! is.
BWW Detroit: Even though you left Michigan at an early age, do you have any fond memories of Michigan?
Julian Burzynski Jr.: I did leave at an early age, but my grandparents still live there and my parents actually met in middle school in Sterling Heights. So, Michigan has always been a part of my life even though we left at a young age. We usually go back for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas along with different family events. My grandparents still live there and my cousins, aunts and most of my extended family. I've been back many times, but I'm very excited to go to Greektown. That always was my favorite kind of food and Detroit has such an amazing kind of Greektown with so many restaurants that I'm so excited to go to.
BWW Detroit: Is it exciting for you to play at the Fisher Theatre?
Julian Burzynski Jr.: I actually have never seen a show at the Fisher Theatre, but growing up in Michigan I always knew what it was. My family in Michigan who are older really haven't been able to see a lot of work that I have done since I was on a cruise and in North Carolina for college because it was a lot travel. My grandparents are so jazzed to see this show and they are going to see many performances of the two weeks and they are so excited. My parents, my family friends, bunch of my mom's friends, and my dad's friends are all coming. It's a lot of people who I haven't seen me since I was very young, but it's a big deal for me as well as for them to see me perform because this is what my dream is and me living out my dream on stage and getting to travel the country doing this.
BWW Detroit: If someone is offered tickets to another event here in Detroit or your show, Something Rotten!, why should they come see your show?
Julian Burzynski Jr.: I think they should come see Something Rotten! because it is so original and nothing like you would ever see. It ties in acting, singing, and dancing so effortlessly and it pays homage to so many musicals throughout Broadway's history, but it also reaches to those who like Shakespeare and those who don't like Shakespeare, those who love musical theatre or who are questionable about it and looking to maybe see a show that they are going to enjoy. Plus, it's so hilarious. A fun fact is that it's written about two brothers writing a musical, the composers of the show, Karey Kirkpatrick and Wayne Kirkpatrick, are brothers as well, which is really awesome. Karey Kirkpatrick and Wayne Kirkpatrick who co-wrote the music and then Karey Kirkpatrick wrote the book with John O'Farrell. But I think that it's super cool that two brothers wrote a show about two brothers writing a show, so it's very near and dear to their hearts, which made the show have so much more beauty, heart, and passion in it that I think everyone would enjoy seeing it.
You can connect with Julian Burzynski Jr. on Instagram at @juliancookies.
Something Rotten! kicks of the Broadway in Detroit season opening September 25th at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit. For more information and tickets, visit www.BroadwayInDetroit.com.