Once Upon a Mattress, which is playing at Bowie Playhouse, and produced by Prince George’s Little Theatre is a wonderful marriage of musical numbers, much laughter and love.
The musical was adapted by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshall Barer in 1959 from the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea. As the story goes, a would-be princess proves her worth by noticing the one little pea hidden at the bottom of several mattresses she sleeps on.
This story is quite different in many ways, and much more character driven than a mere fairy tale. The story is brought to life by an outstanding cast, lead by the incomparably good Meg Nemeth as Princess Winnifred. Nemeth is in total command of her role and her audience throughout the show. She connects with the story, the characters and the audience on every level—one of the best performances I’ve seen this year.
The show opens with the singing narrative of the excellent Ken Kemp as the Minstrel, and takes off when we meet Queen Aggravain (Linda Swann, who also did a superior job as Costume Designer) who is looking to marry off her son Prince Dauntless (the fantastic Mike Culhane).
The mother son battles between Prince Dauntless and Queen Aggravain are whimsical and familiar. They go back and forth over who the Prince should marry, and it’s clear the Queen does not approve of Princess Winnifred.
You’ll love the scenes between on-againoff-again lovers, Lady Larken (Erin Paluchowski) and Sir Harry (John Culhane). There’s many a comical scene with King Sextimus (the hilarious John Shackelford), the Minstrel and the Jester (Shane Conrad).
Lady Merrill (Attey Harper), Sir Mount (Keith Brown), Lady Rowena (Maureen Roult), Lady Helena (Jessica Inzeo) and the Wizard (Ken Kienas) stand out as members of the large, royal court.
The cast makes the 18 musical numbers swell to lofty heights. The pre-recorded music is pitch perfect. The dance numbers are impressive, as choreographed by Erin Skelly (Lady Lucille, dance captain).
Director Frank Pasqualino and Producer Jenna Jones worked magic pulling together a phenomenally polished show. Sheer musical comedy at its finest, not to be missed!
When you go:
Once Upon A Mattress
Bowie Playhouse in White Marsh Park, 16500 White Marsh Park Drive, Bowie, MD
September 11 – 26, 2015
Tickets: $25 Adults, $20 Seniors 60+/18 & Under
For tickets, call 301.937.7458, or navigate to the PGLT ticket page
Friday 9/25/15 at 8 pm
Saturday 9/26/15 at 2 pm
Meet the Once Upon A Mattress Cast
Linda Swann – Queen
John Shackelford – King
Ken Kienas – Wizard
Meg Nemeth – Winnifred
Erin Paluchowski – Larken
Mike Culhane – Dauntless
Shane Conrad – Jester
John Culhane – Harry
Ken Kemp – Minstrel
Kate Small – Kitchen Wench, Emily Chambermaid, Ensemble
Jessica Inzeo – Princess #12, Lady Helena
Kelly Farrall – Nightingale, Lady Endatramp
Erin Skelly – Lady Lucille
Attey Harper – Lady Merrill
Hillary Glass – Lady Fingers
Maureen Roult – Lady Rowena
Jenna Jones-Paradis – Lady Madonna
Keith Brown – Sir Mount
Tom Bethards – Sir Render
Patrick O’Connell – Sir Luce
Paul Pesnell – Sir Loins
Otega Okurume – Sir Studly