'Mattress' gives fairy tale a funny twist

GENOA – The Genoa-Kingston Drama Department will present its spring musical, the fairy tale romp "Once Upon a Mattress," March 15 through 17 in the high school auditorium.

“This is really a classic musical created by Mary Rogers, daughter of Broadway giant Richard Rogers,” said G-K drama director Jon Fromi, who is at the helm of this year’s production. “It’s a favorite of high schools across the nation, and there’s a good reason for that. It’s fun show to do and a fun show to sit and watch.”

This retelling of "The Princess and The Pea" centers on the comedic exploits of a far-off kingdom ruled by a talkative Queen (Samantha Fisher) and a mute King (Cal Thompson). Their son (Matt Chandler) is of the age to take a bride and the law throughout the kingdom is that no one else may wed until this happens.

Unfortunately for the subjects of the kingdom, the Queen is rather against her baby boy getting married and conspires with the Court Wizard (Paul Stensrud) to prevent a suitable bride from being found. Sir Harry (Noah Engles) goes on a desperate and exhaustive search and returns with a rather unconventional candidate, Princess Winnifred the Woebegone (Rebecca Whittenhall).

Winnifred swims across the castle moat to apply for the opening. From there the plot takes a series of twists and turns that conclude with a test of Winnifred’s sensitivity – a single pea placed under 20 mattresses.

The story is moved along by a Minstrel (Daphne Vassmer), who teams up with the Court Jester (Donny Gorrell) and the King to help Winnifred pass this difficult test. They also come to the aid of Lady Larkin (Galen Hughes), Winnifred’s lady-in-waiting, who wishes to marry Sir Harry.

Musical highlights include “Sensitivity,” “Normandy,” “The Swamps Of Home” and “Happily Ever After."

“This is a show that all ages can enjoy,” Fromi said. “We produced 'Once Upon A Mattress' 10 years ago, just before we moved into the new high school. I’ve always wanted to do the show over here and the kids were really excited about putting it on.”

Alumni of the 2003 production are invited for a reception the afternoon of the Saturday performance. “We enjoy recognizing shows that the school has performed in past years,” Fromi explained. “It doesn’t happen every year, but it is fun to look back at those musicals.”

'Once Upon a Mattress'

7 p.m. March 15 and 16
2 p.m. March 17
Genoa-Kingston High School
Adults $7, students and seniors $5
Tickets available at the door. Tickets can be reserved by calling 815-784-5111, ext. 1301.

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