Buckeye Valley High School students will raise the curtain May 4-6 on “Once Upon a Mattress.”
The Broadway play will be performed by the high school’s Thespian Troupe #6950, which is currently in rehearsals in the school’s auditorium.
The spring musical is directed by Amy Anderson, a professional actor in central Ohio for 12 years who has directed the Buckeye Valley cast the last three years. She directed the thespian group this past fall in the comedic play “Harvey the Rabbit.”
“Once Upon a Mattress,” a musical comedy, first opened off-Broadway in May 1959 and then later was moved to Broadway.
The musical is an of adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, “The Princess and the Pea,” set in the 15th century and told from the perspective of a minstrel. The music is by Mary Rodgers, lyrics by Marshall Barer, and the script was written by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller and Marshall Barer.
The musical is staged in a medieval kingdom ruled by the notorious Queen Aggravain and her mute husband, King Sextimus the Silent.
When the story opens, an unjust law has been levied against everyone in the kingdom by Aggravain, forbidding anyone from marrying until a true princess is found for Prince Dauntless to marry.
When the curtain rises, the audience sees the queen and her confidante, the wizard, testing princess number 12 with an outlandish quiz.
“What was the middle name of the daughter-in-law of the best friend of the blacksmith who forged the sword that killed the beast?” Her Royal Highness Aggravain asked.
When the girl’s answer is wrong, to Aggravain’s delight, she is given a rubber chicken by Sir Studley as a constellation prize.
The chorus then sings: “Throughout the land, no one may wed, ‘till Dauntless shares his wedding bed.”
Anderson said the stage and props were designed and built by the students and parents.
“It’s all made of Styrofoam and cardboard, and looks great,” she said.
Anderson said the castle walls were constructed from 4-by-8 Styrofoam panels by using a soldering iron and heat gun to get the desired effect. The stack of mattresses was created around a bunk bed by wrapping drainage titles with cloth and stacking them up on the outside of the bed.
“It’s a really good opportunity to show your creative side,” said Michaela Veres, the royal prop mistress. “You work with the director and mesh ideas together to create awesome props.”
Several of the cast said they are finding the comedy to be a lot of fun, but the singing and dancing is a challenge sometimes.
“It’s fun but very different because it’s a comedy,” said Clare Digrandi, a member of the cast as she worked on her dance steps backstage Thursday evening with another cast member, Alexa Draper.
“I think it’s going really well as we move closer to the opening,” Draper said. “It’s starting to come together.”
The big excitement is back in the lighting booth with a new touchscreen system that replaced the old board.
Lighting tech Robin Wilson said the new system is simpler and that “the old board was just ancient.”
Performances times are 7 p.m. on Friday, May 4, and Saturday, May 5; and 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 6. The musical will be held in the high school auditorium at 901 Coover Road, Delaware.
Tickets may be purchased online at www.showtix4u.com. Prices are $10 for adults and $8 for students and senior citizens.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.