Director of 'Once Upon a Mattress' promises it's a family show
Cheri Hamilton hesitates when trying to explain an unexpected reaction to directing "Once Upon a Mattress."
Apparently, people misconstrue the title as a "dirty play."
"I was getting kind of strange looks," Hamilton said with a laugh. "It's been interesting."
In fact, the upcoming Area Community Theatre production, which opens this weekend, is a musical take on the fairy-tale classic "The Princess and the Pea."
"It's a family show," Hamilton said. "It's something you can bring your grandchildren to."
Set to live piano music, the light-hearted comedy follows the trials of Prince Dauntless, an unhappy bachelor whose scheming mother, Queen Aggravain, has made it her mission in life to prevent her son from ever marrying by subjecting any interested princess to a litany of unpassable tests.
"The tests are just so hard, that none of them ever pass," Hamilton said.
When the lovely, and unconventional, Princess Winnifred arrives, she works at winning over the hearts of the kingdom, and passing the queen's tests. Outlandish side characters include a jester, a minstrel and a king who can't speak.
"Actually I think he has the best part in the whole play," Hamilton said. "It's just a riot, the whole play is."
"Once Upon a Mattress" opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, and will show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and May 10-11, and at 2 p.m. Sunday and May 12. Tickets are $12 or $14, depending on seats.
Queen Aggravain -- Karen Harrington
Princess Winnifred -- Brooke Pejsa
Prince Dauntless -- Jack Mitchell
Minstrel -- Chris Lippert
Wizard -- A.J. Bierman
Lady Larken -- Elsa Tapio
Sir Harry -- Paul Mah
King Sextimus the Silent -- Kim Lorenzen
Jester -- Twyla Mah
Sir Studley/Harold -- Joe Pejsa
Sir Luce -- Kyle Stas
First Lady-in-Waiting -- Cat Erickson
Second Lady-in-Waiting, Rowena -- Kathie Freeman
Third Lady-in-Waiting/Beatrice/Lady Merrill -- Theresa Campbell
Lady Lucille -- Brandy Bambas
Lady Mabelle/Lady-in-Waiting -- Megann Davis
Princess No. 12/Lady-in-Waiting -- Sarah Moore
Knight No. 1 -- Tom Miller
Knight No. 2 -- Kevin Ries
Knight No. 3 -- Jim Hamilton
Knight -- Bill Hamilton
Nightingale/Serving Wench -- Calli Mah
Lady-in-Waiting -- Erica Fett
Lady-in-Waiting -- Maggie Smith
Director -- Cheri Hamilton
Pianist -- Karleen Jung