Once Upon a Mattress opens Friday at Charter Tech

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Minstrel Bobby LeMaire, 15, of Cape May Court House, Eric Phillips, 18, of Atlantic City, playing King Sextimus the Silent, and Jester Eric Wyatt, 18, of Atlantic City ham it up onstage.  Minstrel Bobby LeMaire, 15, of Cape May Court House, Eric Phillips, 18, of Atlantic City, playing King Sextimus the Silent, and Jester Eric Wyatt, 18, of Atlantic City ham it up onstage.
SOMERS POINT – The rollicking, fractured fairy tale “Once Upon a Mattress” – a musical version of “The Princess and the Pea” – will hit the stage Friday, March 15 at Charter Tech High School for the Performing Arts.

The show is directed by Brian McGuire, Jean Immler is the music director, and Karen Creighton is the choreographer.

The Charter Tech rendition of the 1959 Broadway production takes some liberties with the original, all in the name of keeping the show loaded with surprises and fun for the audience. 

The story revolves around Princess Winifred, played by Lindsey Evans, 17, of Mays Landing, who proves that it was not just the pea that caused her sleepless nights. Characters including Queen Aggravain, King Sextimus the Silent, Sir Harry and the Jester team up in some hilarious and entertaining scenes.

The romantic tale of a royal courtship and comeuppance just could give the audience a whole new view of fairy tales.

Audriana Hill, 17, of Galloway plays the chatty Queen Aggravain. The junior had roles in both “Pippen” and “Rent” at Charter Tech. “I like this show because it seems like a very simple show,” she said, “but really the character is complex.”

Hill said she has a lot of dialogue to remember because the queen keeps talking throughout the show, but once she got into the flow it came together. “It’s a really fun show for everyone,” she said.  Her favorite musical number in the show is “Shy.”

Lindsey Evans, 17, of Mays Landing, who plays Princess Winifred, is a veteran performer at the school. Evans had roles in “The Putnam County Spelling Bee,” “Rent” and “Pippen.”

She said the princess is a free spirit compared with the other characters. The role is different, she said, and was a learning process.

She said “Shy” is her favorite number and her shining moment.

The senior, who said her father and brother share her love of music, plans to major in music education but has not yet chosen a school.

Dominick Martino, 17, of Wildwood plays Prince Dauntless. He, too, performed in “Rent” and “Pippen.” Martino said his character is fun to play.

“He is very childlike, and it was nice to relive that time again,” he said.

“Man to Man Talk” is the junior’s favorite musical number in the show because it is a good representation of the king and the prince interacting. Asked if anyone else in his family is musical, he replied, “Well, my mom is emotional and my dad is technical, so I guess I am the combination of the both of them.

”Sean Wyatt, 18, of Atlantic City plays the Jester. A performer in “Pippen,” “Rent” and a number of church and regional productions, the senior described himself as a “triple threat” who can sing, dance and act.

He said his favorite number is “Very Soft Shoes” because he gets to tap dance. He said he gets all his acting ability from his grandmother and her siblings.

Wyatt said he would like to study musical theater and film in college.

Sophomore Bobby LeMaire, 15, of Cape May Court House plays a minstrel in the production. He appeared last year in “Pippen.”
He said his favorite number is “Normandy” because of its “Sinatra-esque” quality. A dance major, LeMaire said he enjoys singing equally.

Eric Phillips, 17, of Atlantic City plays King Sextimus the Silent.

“He is cursed that he cannot speak until something happens, and much of his communication is through charades, and some people do not get what the king is trying to say and it is pretty funny,” Phillips said. He called Queen Aggravain “one who nags a lot,” and said the king and queen do not have a good relationship.

His favorite number is “Minstrel, Jester and I” because “It’s a lot of fun.”

Phillips said he is looking to major in sports marketing and minor in theater. “I love to act, but in case that does not work out I need to have other plans,” he said.

Show times are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 15, 16, 22 and 23 in the cafeteria at Charter Tech, 413 New Road.

Tickets are $10, $15 and $20. For information call (609) 926-7694 or see www.chartertech.org.

 


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