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Nashville Moment with Wayne Kirkpatrick

The musical Something Rotten!, playing this month in Nashville, earned the Kirkpatrick brothers multiple Tony Award nominations.

Written By:  Alison Abbey

Photographers:  Shannon Fontaine

Wayne Kirkpatrick, The Playwright

There are plenty of stars on Nashville’s Broadway, but even the greatest names in the business can’t say they’ve made it on the Great White Way. Wayne Kirkpatrick was fresh out of Belmont when he started writing and producing for the likes of Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Eric Clapton, and Little Big Town, but it was a love of theater and a killer idea—both shared with his writer/director brother Karey—that launched his Broadway career.

Something Rotten!, opening at TPAC June 27, centers around two playwright brothers in Renaissance London desperately trying to defeat their rival, William Shakespeare. The musical earned the Kirkpatrick brothers multiple Tony Award nominations. “To be able to share it all with my brother and to see everything we talked about be realized in such a grand way, it’s pretty special.”

Age: 55

On producing: “I first started writing and playing guitar in the ’70s, so I was heavily influenced by singer/songwriters like Jackson Browne, James Taylor and The Eagles,” Kirkpatrick says. “When [that style] started showing up in country music, I just gravitated toward that. That’s when I started working with Little Big Town. We had a good run with ‘Boondocks,’ ‘Bring it On Home,’ and ‘Little White Church.’”

Theater geeks: “My brother and I had this love of the theater—we were both in theater in high school—and we always talked about writing a musical and, in fact, this particular idea, but we like to say our other careers got in the way,” Kirkpatrick laughs. “We can’t even remember who came up with the idea, but we discussed it in five minute increments over a span of 15 years.”

Broadway comes home: “I think it’s as thrilling for me to see it at TPAC as it was on Broadway,” the Franklin resident says. “I have been going to see shows at TPAC since I’ve lived here, so to see a show that I was a part of creating on that stage, it’s such a full circle moment for me. I am so proud to be a part of the arts community of Nashville, and I’m just really excited to share it with this town that I love so much.”

Stay tuned: “We are working on another one. We are gluttons. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in the realm of writing, but it was so rewarding to get through it because when it’s great it’s really great,” he says. “To say that we’ve been bitten by the theater bug—we’ve been bitten by it since high school, but now we are just infected! We experienced every emotion possible, from the lowest lows to the most incredible highs, seeing it all come together and working with such incredibly talented people. It was such a great experience and we just want to keep experiencing that as much as we can.”

>>> Nashville Moment with Doug the Pug


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