Students at Midland University will look to transport audiences to a farcical faraway kingdom when they bring their production of “Once Upon A Mattress” to the Kimmel Theater stage later this month.
Student performers will bring to life the Mary Rodgers’ classic musical comedy, which is an adaptation of “The Princess and the Pea” fairy tale originally written by Hans Christian Andersen.
“This was the show that made Carol Burnett a star,” Midland Director of Theater Dan Hays said.
The play begins in a faraway kindom long ago where—due to a curse—King Sextimus is unable to speak which has lead to his terror-of-a-wife, Queen Aggravain, taking control over the kingdom.
In an attempt to keep her son, Prince Dauntless single, Queen Aggravain has decreed that only the princess that can pas her test may marry her son. Further, no one else in the kingdom may marry until Prince Dauntless does.
Lady Larken and Sir Harry are extremely disturbed by this fact since Lady Larken is now pregnant with Sir Harry’s baby. Luckily, Sir Harry is able to find an amazing princess, Winnifred the Woebegone.
“It’s about how you can’t judge a book by its cover, because the princess comes from the swamplands,” Hays said. “Everybody in the kingdom sees her at first as kind of crazy, and not-quite their idea of what a princess is, but then everyone comes to love her.”
King Sextimus will be played by Midland student John Peetzke, Queen Aggravain by Shannon Duke, Prince Dauntless by Nick Allen and Princess Dauntless by Diannah Peji-Palm.
The full cast includes 26 Midland student, along with an orchestra also made up of mostly students.
“The reason I chose the show is that there are so many really great parts, so it features a lot of our talented students,” Hays said.
The show is Midland’s Interterm Musical, which means that students and staff began production just last week—and only have several weeks to put on the show.
“The students have been working really hard, and we already have the show complete, we just have fine some fine tuning left to do,” Hays said.
Performances of “Once Upon A Mattress” will be held from Jan. 24-27 with shows on the first three days beginning at 7:30 p.m. and the final performance on Jan. 27 beginning at 2 p.m. inside Kimmel Theater on Midland’s campus.
Tickets are $15 for adults, and $10 for students and seniors. FMES members can get into the show for free, but must call and reserve tickets beforehand.
Tickets may be purchased by calling the Kimmel Theater box office 402-941-6399 or online at https://bit.ly/2VM92Tc.