BWW Interview: Nicholas Rashad Burroughs of SOMETHING ROTTEN! at Wharton Center Says You Will Have New Abs From Laughing So Much

BWW Interview: Nicholas Rashad Burroughs of SOMETHING ROTTEN! at Wharton Center Says You Will Have New Abs From Laughing So MuchThe completely new original musical Something Rotten! is appearing in East Lansing starting March 13th as part of the MSU Federal Credit Union Broadway at the Wharton Center series. "It is just a love letter to musical theatre and theatre in general," said Nicholas Rashad Burroughs, on tour as the Minstrel in the production. "It makes fun of things that you love about theatre and things you don't like about theatre and it makes you laugh."

With 10 Tony Award nominations including Best Musical, Something Rotten! is set in the '90s - the 1590s - and is the story of two brothers, Nick and Nigel Bottom (Tony nominee Rob McClure and Broadway's Josh Grisetti), who are desperate to write their own play while the "rock star" Shakespeare (Tony nominee Adam Pascal) keeps getting all the hits. When a local soothsayer foretells that the future of theatre involves singing, dancing, and acting at the same time, Nick and Nigel set out write the world's very first musical! "It's one of the most fun cast I have ever been a part of," said Burroughs. "We have been on the road for about a year and I'm really having a blast."

In Something Rotten! Burroughs is the Minstrel and part of the ensemble, but he also understudy's the role of Shakespeare. "I have my own two songs I sing as the Minstrel and I love those songs, but then I get to the play the villain of the show, well the lovable villain of Shakespeare, every now and then," he said. "I have to say that the high school theatre geek in me is losing my mind that I am understudying Adam Pascal. As a black guy, period. I never thought that was even an option. I stepped out on faith when the positon went up, auditioned, got it, and now to have the chance to be the first black guy to play Shakespeare in Something Rotten! is just so fun. Adam Pascal is just amazing and I grew up listening to Aida and Rent so he's a superstar. I just can't believe I get to understudy him."

Burroughs, a graduate of the University of Alabama, almost did not go the theatre route. "It's funny because I come from a big sports family. I was playing football and running track. I was going to go to college for track. I found theatre late and, by mistake, I auditioned. My mom was late picking me up from school because she had to figure something out with my sister at her school. I was with friend who was auditioning for the theatre department. He knew that I sang and I was just there to support him while I waited for my mom to pick me up. I jokingly got up there and sang a song then actually got in trouble because I was being loud and not respectful of the audition that was very serious for them. I somehow managed to get cast in the end. I told my mom and she said we don't quit anything in this family, you have to do it, so I did it," he explained. "I did a play with them and I ended up realizing it is what I'm good at, that I love acting, and that I love being around these people that have the same passion. And then from 10th grade on of high school that's when I decided to switch over from sports to do theatre."

After college Burroughs landed his first job on Broadway, Kinky Boots. "I was lucky enough to book Kinky Boots and understudy Lola, well understudy Billy Porter, who is my all-time idol, so I could not be more grateful for that opportunity," he said. "I had a blast and did the show for two years. Then right after that I was lucky enough to do Something Rotten!"

"Something Rotten! is for everyone. Theatergoers will love it. People that don't do theatre will love it because it makes fun of it enough that you will feel something," said Burroughs. "You will literally have used your ab muscles so much you will be a bodybuilder when you leave, it's that funny. You will walk out of the theatre with new abs because you have laughed so much."

Connect with Nicholas Rashad Burroughs on Instagram at @nickrburroughs.

Something Rotten! runs March 13th to 18th at the Wharton Center in East Lansing. For more information and tickets, visit

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