After two years of coping with a pandemic, what Grays Harborites need is to gather together and have a good laugh – albeit with their masks on.

That’s exactly what Grays Harbor College’s Andrew Gaines and the cast and crew of “Something Rotten!” hope to provide in live performances at the Bishop Center for the Performing Arts in early March.

“For our return to in-person musicals, we selected a contemporary comedy to provide our community some needed relief from stress of the last two years,” said Gaines, who is directing and choreographing the show.

“We can’t wait to be back in the Bishop Center with everyone to enjoy the healing power of live theater again,” he said.

The Tony-nominated Broadway hit from 2015, “Something Rotten!” is set in the 1590s. Brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom are desperate to write a hit play but are stuck in the shadow of that Renaissance rockstar, “The Bard.” 

When they find out that the future of theater involves singing, dancing and acting at the same time, the two are determined to write the world’s first musical. However, the Bottom brothers have several obstacles to overcome before opening night. 

Photo by Rick Moyer

Gaines can relate to obstacles in putting on a play as he readies the cast and crew to perform a live show during a pandemic. “Rehearsals have been frustrating at times right from the start due to disruptions beyond our control,” Gaines said. “We’ve been forced to run rehearsals with a Zoom room because of Covid infections, being a close contact, cold or flu symptoms, the snow storm, and then floods. Nevertheless, we are soldiering on.” The last time Grays Harbor College produced an in-person show was “Oliver!” in March of 2020.

 “We were lucky enough to perform one weekend of shows but had to shut down the second weekend as Covid arrived,” the director recalled. “It was heartbreaking for everyone – totally surreal and shocking.” With that lingering memory, it’s not surprising that Gaines said that he’s finding returning to in-person performances comes with mixed emotions.

Photo by Rick Moyer

“Foremost is gratitude, joy and hope. Our cast, crew, administrators and audiences have been craving this homecoming. Preparing this hilariously clever show makes the return even more satisfying. In the midst of Omicron’s scary rise, we get to laugh, dance and sing!” “Witnessing the show step closer into focus with every rehearsal is incredibly satisfying. Yet all that joy is somewhat tempered by a constant low-grade fear,” Gaines said.

“Not only of infections spreading in the cast and crew, but also that ‘Something Rotten!’ will meet the same fate as ‘Oliver!’  or worse – no performances at all.” The cast has been rehearsing masked and maintaining distance whenever possible.

“The plan is to perform unmasked and we will be taking several measures to increase our safety, including frequent testing,” Gaines said. In addition, audiences will be required to present a vaccination card or proof of a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours. Audience members must also wear a mask at all times.

In addition to Gaines as director and choreographer, the large production team includes William Dyer as music director, Ian Dorsch as vocal director, Tamara Helland as associate choreographer, and Natasha Brown-Williams as both stage manager and assistant director. Also, Natasha and Karin Noble are assistant choreographers.

The primary cast includes Matthew Kline and Jake Conrad as the Bottom brothers, Casey Bronson as Shakespeare, Julayne Fleury as Nostradamus, Al Holt as Bea, Libby Carrico as Portia, and Bryan Blackburn as Brother Jeremiah. In addition, many other actors and singers are part of the ensemble and featured chorus.

As proud as Gaines said he is of the virtual music revue, “Songs for Another Day,” which was presented online in the spring of 2021, his excitement about doing live theater again is palpable. “Nothing compares to the feeling of being in the theater and hearing the applause, laughter, or that on-the-edge-of-your-seat silence,” he said.

“Something Rotten!”  plays at the Bishop Center for the Performing Arts, Grays Harbor College. Some material in “Something Rotten!” may be inappropriate for children. Viewer discretion is advised for those under 16.

March 4, 5, 6, 11, 12,13

Friday, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday 2 p.m.

adults $25; seniors $22; students $15,

and 12 and younger $10


or (360) 538-4066.

Proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test within 72 hours prior to the performance is required for entrance to the theater. Masks will be required at all times while at the Bishop Center.