It's a classic fairy tale with wise jesters, cranky queens, rubber chicken-wielding wizards and a princess from the swamp who can out-drink and out-wrestle any man in the court.
St. Edmond High School will present the musical comedy "Once Upon a Mattress" Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
"It's based on 'The Princess and the Pea,' so we have a search for a princess," said Elizabeth Johnson, a St. Edmond senior. "But the Queen doesn't like her, and puts her to the test. The minstrel and the jester kind of save the story.
-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Mitch Rogers, left, helps Neil Flattery demonstrate the proper method for hitting a jester with a rubber chicken, in rehearsal for “Once Upon a Mattress.”
"I play Lady Larkin, one of the ladies-in-waiting waiting to get married," she said.
She's waiting because Queen Aggravain, played by Olivia Trevino, has decreed no one will wed until her son Prince Dauntless, played by Connor Frischmeyer, has found a wife. But she dislikes every princess that comes along and sets them up to fail an impossible test.
Lady Larkin's boyfriend, Sir Harry, decides enough is enough and sets out to find a princess himself. Then the court meets Princess Winnifred the Woebegone, played by Emily Garst. It was not a dark and stormy night when she arrived at the castle, but she looked as though she'd come through a storm, because she was so eager to arrive that she swam the castle moat.
If you go:
What: "Once Upon a Mattress" musical
When: Thursday, Friday and Saturday 7:30 p.m.; Saturday 2 p.m. matinee
Where: St. Edmond High School Auditorium
Cost: $8 matinee, $9 evening performance. Available at the St. Edmond High School office
Princess Winnifred Emily Garst
Prince Dauntless Connor Frischmeyer
Lady Larken Elizabeth Johnson
Sir Harry A.J. O'Brien
Queen Aggravain Olivia Trevino
King Sextimus the Silent Cal Coleman
Minstrel Jimmy Averill
Jester Mitch Rogers
Wizard Neil Flattery
Princess #12 Brooke Axness
Lady Rowena Alyssa Nagel
Lady Lucille Emily Hindt
Luce's Lady/Lady H/Lady Merrill Allie Oberg
Mabelle Cassie Stumpf
Lady-in-Waiting Libby Augustine
Lady-in-Waiting Natalie Japuntich
Scullery Maid (Emily) MacKenzie Kelso
Sir Studley Robby Burke
Luce/Knight #1 and #3 David Flattery
Knight #2 Jacob Sande
Chorus Sarah Benjamin, Jaci Brungardt, Michaleah Buhr, Megan Burke, Timmi Dencklau, Ashley Edge, Mary Eide, Kenzie Flaherty, Julia Fletcher, Rachel Fosbender, Meggie Frischmeyer, Kylie Guldenpfennig, Emma Halligan, Britta Heidenreich, Emily Johnson, Josh Lee, Hannah Lentsch, Meg Lowe, Maddie McCarville, Melissa Mikos, Emilee Mobley, Lauren Moeding, Jazmine Myers, Alexis Perrin, Ashley Salter, Tommy Setterdahl, Cassie Stumpf, Haley Thanupakorn, Thomas Woodruff, Rachel Walter
Johnson has had some experience in the theater.
"I really like doing theater; it's something I grew up doing. I started when I was 5," Johnson said. "I was in a high school show in first grade; I was the dove from Noah's Ark in 'Children of Eden.'
"This one is funny. The king's part is very funny to watch," she said.
The king, played by Cal Coleman, is under a curse that he will be unable to speak until "the mouse devours the hawk."
Sir Harry is played by senior A.J. O'Brien, also a veteran actor.
"I've been in the plays every year since my freshman year," he said. This year, "there's a lot of really interesting people playing the parts. Everyone is kind of crazy."
The rehearsals are now in crunch time, said director Nicole Brown. St. Edmond's success in the boy's state basketball tournament in Des Moines, where they finished second, created an added challenge for the musical.
Right now, the crew is hard at work completing the set.
"We're sort of building our own little castle. It's one of the bigger sets since I've been here," Brown said. "There's a lot of painting in our future."
The cast members spoke of the scheduling challenges created by the state tournament.
Johnson said, "The last week with the basketball there's been a lot of delay, but we were all excited to be down there. Now with spring sports starting, we have a lot of absences, but it's going to come together in the next few weeks."
Some new faces will be in this year's production. Freshman Rachel Walter, a member of the chorus, said this is her first play.
"So far, it's a lot of fun. I'm really glad I tried out," Walter said. "The hardest part is to memorize all the dances, and getting everything together."
Senior Mitch Rogers, who plays the jester, also said this is his first show.
"I just went for it," he said. "We'll see how it goes. I like the songs, and the humor's really good. We just have a great cast."
This will be the first school production in the auditorium after it was revamped this summer, Brown said.
"I'm not sure if renovated is the right word, because we didn't do any construction," she said. "We gave it a little facelift. The seats are new to this auditorium, and we got new carpet and gave it a fresh coat of paint."
Contact Joe Sutter at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org