Don’t be ‘Shy.’ See ‘Once Upon a Mattress’ opening March 9
The Emmaus High School Drama Department presents the mid-century classic musical “Once Upon A Mattress” opening 7 p.m. today.
Performances continue 7 p.m. March 10, 11 and 12 and 2 p.m. March 12 and 13.
The musical tells the story of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Princess and the Pea.”
First produced on Broadway in the 1959-1960 season, the original production was a star-making turn for Carol Burnett as lead Princess Winnifred, known as Fred to her friends. A 1997 revival featured a then soon-to-be “Sex in the City” singleton icon Sarah Jessica Parker as Winnifred. That production was a Tony Award nominee for Best Musical Revival.
The musical opens in a kingdom in dire need of a princess to wed Prince Dauntless. Several eligible princesses have applied but Queen Aggravain, mother of the prince, has approved of none of the princesses.
When Winnifred arrives by swimming across the castle moat, the Queen immediately tries her best to derail her son’s interest in the young woman. The final test requires Winnifred to sleep on a bed piled high with mattresses positioned atop a pea. The point of the test is a princess of proper noble birth should be sensitive enough to feel the pea through the mattresses. Will Winnifred pass the ultimate test?
Carol Burnett returned to the musical to play Aggravain in a 2005 movie featuring Tracey Ullman as Winnifred.
Cathy Ritter will play Princess Winnifred in the Emmaus production. Nick Quinn is Prince Dauntless and Victoria Reichelderfer is Queen Aggravain. Jaeden Reppert plays King Sextimus.
The book of the musical was written by Jay Thompson, Marshall Barer and Dean Fuller with music by Mary Rodgers and lyrics by Marshall Barer.
In its original Broadway run the musical saw 460 performances, opening Nov. 25, 1959.
Student directors of the Emmaus production include Leah Gaydos, Maya Kita, Lauren Leader and Noel Greenwood. Luke Csordas is the student choreographer.
The supporting cast includes: Robert Lynn, Thomas Reilly, Julia Bezems, Joseph Freemont, Jason Bowen, Abigail Mauro, Chloe Mathieu, Erin McGowan, Allyson Davies, Emily Christison, Rileigh O’Brien, Kenna Kita, Natalie Maroun, Julia Norelli, Kevin Williams, Noel Vinovskis, Sebastian Mora, Ryan Peiffer and Luis Rivera.
The court ensemble will feature Cindy He, Joe Galante, Patrick Martin, Isis Masterpalo, Ashlynn Masters, Brock McElhenney, Tommy Murgitroyde, Ryan Murphy, Alejandro Rodriquez, Oliver Vinovskis and Emily Wolfe.
The musical includes the song “Shy” in which Winnifred announces her outgoing personality is really a cover for her shy nature and “Happily Ever After” a song where Winnifred educates the audience about how other fairytale princesses have had help in achieving their happily-ever-afters. Snow White, for example, had the seven dwarfs, a group Winnifred describes as “practically a regiment” and Cinderella had a fairy godmother. Winnifred laments she is on her own to win the heart of the prince.
Tickets are available at the main office lobby 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday during school hours.