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Something Rotten - Director's Note:

Nick Bottom, our protagonist in Something Rotten, attempts to invent something new for the stage that will outshine Shakespeare's plays. With the help of witchcraft (reminiscent of another ambitious, Scottish gentleman), he quickly discovers, "Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown." His hubristic quest to best Shakespeare makes him forget or ignore the things he knows are true: his wife, his brother and writing partner, and his own instincts. He takes us on an amusing, clever, irreverent, and self-deprecating journey which culminates in the realization, "To thine own self be true." In other words, embrace your true self, add a little love, and all will be right with the world.  

- Lesley Larsen

A Note from the Dramaturg:

The definition of what a dramaturg does (and by extension, what the act of dramaturgy actually is) is…vague at best, and far too specific at worst. This is because the work a dramaturg must do will inevitably vary from the play being worked on, the production being created, and the people involved with it. An attempt to solidify or rigidly define what we do will prevent us from helping in all the ways we wish to. For that is exactly what a dramaturg is supposed to do. We are supposed to help.

As I implied earlier, the exact type of work that a dramaturg will do for the production she is working on will probably never once be the same. However, this does not mean that dramaturgs just do “whatever” for a production. The work dramaturgs do can be summed up using words such as research, design, organization, questioning, and the like. All these iterations of a dramaturg’s possible work serve to simultaneously ease and develop the creation of productions for everyone else who is involved. For example, a dramaturg researching the meaning of an archaic turn of phrase in a script is helpful; and at the same time, a dramaturg questioning the playwright’s choice to write that very same phrase is helpful. If the work needed to be done can somehow be linked back to the aforementioned words, then a dramaturg will be happy to do it.

Dramaturgs who have a hand in production, like myself with Something Rotten!, tend to work with practical applications of the research being done. Resources for actors like actor packets that can contain anything from pronunciation guides to history crash courses can help place everyone on the same page when it comes to the background of the production. In some cases, lobby displays are designed by dramaturgs to function as an introduction or think piece for a production. Lastly, program notes, like the ones you’re reading now, are a common job of a production dramaturg.

Through my research on Something Rotten!, I produced an actor packet and these very program notes. That is what I was asked to contribute to this wonderfully witty production. As my job is to help, I am inevitably hoping that these notes have helped you all learn something interesting about dramaturgy. I can state with certainty that you are not alone on this learning journey. After all, my semester is in no way over.
I thank you all for reading my notes, and I sincerely hope you enjoy the show!

Your humble dramaturg,
Sydney Miller


(in order of appearance)

Minstrel: Tim Briggs
Brother Jeremiah: Mallory McKendry
Portia: Madison Hite
Nick Bottom: Collin Wheeler
Nigel Bottom: Austin Cox
Troupe -
Tom Snout: Claire Wayman
Robin: Robb Zahm
Peter Quince: Katey Hallock
Snug: Drew Duren
Francis Flute: Garrett McCoy
Lord Clapham: Mary Margaret Elam
Shylock: Thomas Richard Pereles
Bea: Anna Grey Hogan
Nostradamus: Adam "J.R." Stoffel
Shakespeare: Joshua Donohue
Ensemble -
• Shakespeare’s Messenger/Announcer: Tim Briggs
• Bard Boys: Mary Margaret Elam, Drew Duren, Katey Hallock, Garrett McCoy
• Valet: Drew Duren
• Astrologer: Claire Wayman
• Psychic Woman: Anne Talkington
• Eyepatch Man: Robb Zahm
• Miranda & Helena, and Viola: Anne Talkington, Mary Margaret Elam, Sarah Becker
• Three Chefs: Katey Hallock, Tim Briggs, Mallory McKendry
• Sad Little Egg: Mary Margaret Elam
Master of the Justice: Robb Zahm


Lesley Larsen
Music Director: Sarah Cramer
Choreographer: Corey Vincent Holmes
Stage Manager: Becca Gustafson
Assistant Stage Manager: Alex Sullivan
Dramaturg: Sydney Miller
Set Designers: Joshua Donohue, Collin Wheeler
Lighting Designer: Drew Thompson
Sound Engineer: Becca Gustafson
Costumer: Rachel Sites
Props Master: Lesley Larsen
Makeup/Hair Design: Sarah Cramer
Lightboard Operators: Drew Thompson, Jason Gordon
Follow Spot Operators: Camillo DeSantis, Toby Cramer
Backstage Crew: Jason Fitts
Dance Captain: Anne Talkington
Vocal Captain: Katey Hallock

Special Thanks:

The American Shakespeare Center, The Frontier Culture Museum, Sarah Cole, Brittney Forgrave, Christine Nielsen, Katherine MacNicholas and Chris Straight

Meet the cast

Get to know the talent behind the show!


Sarah Becker

Sarah Becker (she/her/hers) (Ensemble) is a Sophomore at James Madison University studying Media Art and Design as well as Theatre and Business. Recent Credits include The Wizard of Oz (Toto), Footloose (Wendy Jo), The Hello Girls (Helen Hill), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Alice), Hairspray! (Luanne), and Grease (Marty). She would like to thank her parents for always believing in her. She is also so thankful for everyone involved with Something Rotten for supporting her and dealing with her insane schedule. She’s never met a group of kinder people, and is so eggcited for the opportunity to perform this show with them.

Tim Briggs

Tim Briggs (they/them) (Minstrel) is thrilled to return to musical theatre after a long hiatus, and what better show to do it in than a show where “everything is new”? They were most recently seen as Timon in Timon of Athens at Mary Baldwin University. They lent their voice to the character of The Bat in the original work Til the Night is Done, also at MBU. Other favourite past roles include Gomez in The Addams Family Musical, Cain/Japheth in Children of Eden, and Greg Pierotti (and others) in The Laramie Project. They would like to thank Lesley and Sarah and all the cast of this show for helping them navigate returning to live theatre after the past few pandemic years, as well as their husband, Alex, for his unending support. Huzzah!

Austin Cox

Austin Cox (He/Him/His) (Nigel Bottom) is performing in his first show at the Wayne. Austin is a freshman at Mary Baldwin University where he plans to major in Theater. He was in a few shows at Mary Baldwin this year including Promenade and Romeo and Juliet. He is beyond excited to make his debut at the Wayne Theater. I would like to thank my family and friends for helping me get to where I am today. I would also thank the rest of the cast and production team for accepting me with open arms and making this an amazing experience!


Josh Donohue

Joshua Donohue (he/him) (William Shakespeare) graduated from James Madison University with a degree in biology and a minor in biochemistry and molecular biology. He is currently working in the pathology lab at Sentara Rockingham Memorial Hospital and as a volunteer EMT. Joshua has previously worked with the Wayne and several capacities, including co-directing lion king kids and set designing for several mainstage productions. Some of his recent credits include the Christmas Carol National Tour (Fezziwig), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Judah), Wizard of Oz (Cowardly lion), Beauty and the Beast (Cogsworth), The Turn of the Screw (Uncle, Peter Quint), Singin in the Rain (Don Lockwood) along with murder mysteries performed at Wintergreen. He is thrilled to continue to bring elevated theater to the Shenandoah Valley with the Wayne, even throughout Covid..

Drew Duren

Andrew Duren (he/him/his) (Snug/Bard Street Boy) is making his Wayne Theatre debut. Previous theatres where Andrew has worked include James Madison University, Virginia Rep, and ComedySportz Richmond and Midlothian High School. Drew is a full time student at James Madison University studying Intelligence Analysis and Criminal Justice while still finding time for theatre in his everyday life.

Mary Margaret Elam

Mary Margaret Elam (she/her/hers) (Lord Clapham/Bard Street Boy) is “bedazzled”  to be your very own Lord Clapham and Sad Little Egg… She is currently in the top of her class at James Madison University as a marketing major. After graduating from Staunton High School, she began her professional career touring with the “Virginia Repertory Theatre,” where she performed to thousands of audiences all over the country! Previous acting credits include Grease (Rizzo),  Seven Bride for Seven Brothers (Milly),Carrie (Sue Snell), Wizard of Oz (Scarecrow), and Lucky Stiff (Rita LaPorta). She has loved every second of being a part of this wonderful ensemble and will miss every absurd moment of this hilarious show. She wants to thank all of her family and friends who have supported her and her outstanding directors for this gratifying experience. She’d like to dedicate her performance to her favorite little egg, Emma. To God be the Glory!


Katey Hallock

Katey Hallock (she/her/hers) (Peter Quince/Bard Street Boy/Vocal Captain) is so excited to be part of Something Rotten with The Wayne!  She has worked with The Wayne before in Beauty and the Beast (Silly Girl), The Marvelous Wonderettes (Miss McPhearson and u/s), The Wizard of Oz (Ensemble), and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Ensemble) with The Wayne at Wintergreen.  Most recently Katey performed in The Wayne’s A Christmas Story: The Musical (Miss Shields).  Other favorite roles include: Katherine Plumber (Newsies) and Niki Harris (Curtains) with Shenanarts.  Katey has also had the opportunity to teach “Music and Me” Pre-K classes and “Rhythm and Blues” with Studio Wayne and music directed 101 Dalmatian Kids and Jungle Book Kids!  When she’s not on stage, Katey teaches middle school chorus, guitar, and musical theatre in Augusta County.

Madison Hite

Madison Hite (she/her) (Portia) is a senior theatre performance and political science double major at James Madison University. Her recent credits include The Turn of the Screw (The Governess, Wayne Theatre), Joseph…Dreamcoat (Ensemble, Wayne at Wintergreen), The Pandemic Project (Creator/Performer, JMU Mainstage), Legally Blonde (Serena, Wayne Theatre), The Bridges of Madison County (Carolyn/Chiara, Wayne Theatre), and Hairspray (Penny Pingleton, Wayne Theatre). Other training includes Virginia VPA Governor’s School for vocal performance. Madison loves her dog, her friends, and her amazing-ly supportive family. You can check out her work in JMU’s Senior Showcase, which is published virtually. She will be attending George Mason University for a Masters of Science in Management, and will continue to pursue her passion for performance. Thank you for coming to see Something Rotten! @madisonannehite / @hite.madison on IG.

Anna Grey Hogan

Anna Grey Hogan (she/her/hers) (Bea) is pumped to be making her debut at The Wayne. Anna Grey received her BFA in theatre performance from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2019. Favorite credits include: Vivienne in Legally Blonde, Cinderella’s Stepmother in Into the Woods, Margery in Hand to God, and Annie in In the Next Room. Most recently, Anna Grey directed All in the Timing at Four County Players and A Few Good Men at Blue Ridge School, where she teaches English and drama. Thanks to my real-life right hand man Andy, my crazy dog/child Oz, my amazing family, my supportive coworkers, and the wonderful cast and production team! Thank you for coming!


Garrett McCoy

Garrett McCoy (he/him/his) (Francis Flute, Bard Street Boy) is very thankful to be included in this amazing cast for this stellar show! He has participated in multiple productions at the Wayne Theatre such as A Christmas Story: The Musical (Ensemble) and the workshops held by Studio Wayne such as Shrek Jr. (Shrek), Lion King Jr. (Mufasa), and Elf Jr. (Walter Hobbs). Garrett would also like to thank everyone in the this supportive cast and crew. They have all been such wonderful models and to mentor him along the way.  Garrett is a student at Blue Ridge Community College.  He plans to transfer to James Madison University to study Theatre. Garrett would also like to thank his family for supporting him as he pursues his love of theatre.

Mallory McKendry

Mallory McKendry (she/her/hers) (Brother Jeremiah) is an award-winning singer/songwriter and recipient of Norfolk’s Veer Magazine Best Americana Band Award with the Longfellow Street Music Collective in 2013.She has traveled the world singing for the US Navy and sang as a studio member with the Hawaii Opera Theatre. She has toured nationally with her former, New Orleans jazz project The Whiskey Jackets and is now performing locally with her original music in My Gal Mal: Mallory McKendry and her One-Mal-Band. Previous theatrical roles include Mrs. Walker (The Who’s Tommy), Titus Andronicus (Titus Andronicus), The Countess Rousillon (All’s Well That Ends Well), Ghost of Hamlet and Gravedigger (Hamlet). Something Rotten is Mallory’s first musical role since 1998 and she could not be more excited to be part of such a terrific production!

Thomas R. Pereles

Thomas R. Pereles (he/him/his) (Shylock) is performing in his third production at the Wayne Theatre. Previous performances included Legally Blonde (Callahan) and I Heart Broadway. Tom and his wife, Susan, have lived in Waynesboro for over 25 years. They have three children (Zach, Rebecca, and Sam) and a dog (Truffles). Tom works as an orthopedic surgeon in Fishersville at Shenandoah Valley Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. He dedicates this performance to the memory of his father, who passed away during the production of Something Rotten, and to all those who have suffered discrimination as a result of religion, race, gender, or gender preference.


Adam “J.R.” Stoffel

Adam “J.R.” Stoffel (he/him/his) (Nostradamus) made his musical theater debut in A Christmas Story, The Musical right here at The Wayne in 2021, and now he just wants to be in all the musicals. JR is no stranger to performing though, he’s the drummer in a band called ToBe Fare, and hosts a live show about Consumer Electronics called Crutchfield Live on YouTube. JR also shares his thoughts on the world on his podcast called Three Things With J.R. JR has two grown kids, three grand kids, and a really cool girlfriend.

Anne Talkington

Anne Talkington (she/her/hers) (Ensemble/Dance Captain) is thrilled to make her debut at the Wayne Theatre with Something Rotten!  Her favorite productions include Guys and Dolls (Cary Players), Ira David Wood III’s A Christmas Carol (Theatre in the Park), and Merry Wives of Windsor (Sweet Tea Shakespeare).  She is also trained in classical ballet and has performed in numerous productions of the Nutcracker (Clara), Swan Lake (Four Little Swans, Grand Waltz Pas de Deux) and Sleeping Beauty (Fairy of Eloquence).  Her choreography has appeared in productions by the Duke University Dance Program and SITA Film Productions.  Offstage, Anne can be found working in computational cancer immunology research as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Virginia.

Claire Wayman

Claire Wayman (she/her/hers) (Tom Snout) is egg-cited to be making her debut at the Wayne Theatre! Past acting credits include Newsies, Billy Elliot, and Children of Eden at ShenanArts and The Trial of Goldilocks and The Fantasticks with the Valley Playhouse. She’s had the pleasure of choreographing with Oak Grove Theater, Blue Ridge Community College, and Valley Playhouse including Singin’ in the Rain, Urinetown, Annie, and Little Shop of Horrors. She grew up dancing at Sandy Stramonine School of Dance in upstate New York and has loved being able to tap on stage again! She lives and works in Harrisonburg as the marketing director and office manager for the Harrisonburg Homes Team, part of Kline May Realty. ‘In memory of Mom, who always loved to watch me dance.’


Collin Wheeler

Collin Wheeler (He/Him) (Nick Bottom) is thrilled to be part of such an egg-ceptional cast.  Previous credits with the Wayne include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (The Butler/Gad), Last Call at Chez Mort (Mack), A Christmas Story: The Musical (The Old Man), and Beauty and the Beast (Lefou). When not on stage Collin works for the IT department at Augusta Health. A big thanks to his Girlfriend, Family and Coworkers for all their support.

Robb Zahm

Robb Zahm (he/him/his) (Robin) is grateful to be able to resume live performances at the Wayne Theatre! Robb most recently collaborated with the Wayne by directing Studio Wayne’s production of Jungle Book, Kids. He portrayed Reuben in the Wayne at Wintergreen’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and also participated in their Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre series, portraying Inspector Eddie Constantine in Last Call at Chez Mort, and Drew Graham in Murder Me Always. His prior credits at The Wayne Theatre main stage include Uncle Henry / the Mayor of Munchkinland / Emerald City Guard / Nikko the Flying Monkey / Recalcitrant Poppy (uncredited) in The Wizard of Oz, Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, and Bud in Bridges of Madison County. Robb has also performed locally with ShenanArts, Opera Roanoke, Hollins University, and Washington & Lee University theatres.

Meet the cREW


Lesley Larsen

Lesley Larsen (she/her) (Director)  has a BFA in Acting from Brigham Young University and her MLITT and MFA in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance from Mary Baldwin University/The American Shakespeare Center.  For the Wayne Theatre, Lesley has directed works such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (The Wayne at Wintergreen), A Christmas Story the Musical, The Wizard of Oz, The Lion King JR, A Christmas Carol: Radio Edition, Deep Into the Darkness: An Adaptation of Poe’s Works, Deathtrap, and various children’s theatre productions. Other favorite directing credits include: You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Into the Woods, and The History Boys.  In addition to directing, Lesley teaches acting at James Madison University. Lesley lives in Waynesboro with her husband and ridiculously creative girls.   @lesleylarsendirector

Sarah Cramer

Sarah Cramer (she/her/hers) (Music Director) has bachelor's degrees in Theatre Arts and Vocal Music from Brigham Young University, and institute training from American Musical Theatre of San Jose. She has worked as a music director, vocal coach and actor with multiple theatre companies in Virginia, California and Utah. She is also an experienced soloist, choral conductor and theatrical makeup designer. Favorite Wayne Theatre music director credits include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (The Wayne at Wintergreen), A Christmas Story the Musical, Wizard of Oz, Lion King Jr, Legally Blonde, Beauty and the Beast, Bridges of Madison County and Sweeney Todd. Sarah lives in Waynesboro, VA with her husband and 5 children.