DENVILLE, NJ – Once upon a time, there was a queen trying to find a princess to marry her prince son. In the tale of Hans Christian Andersen’s, The Princess and the Pea, there was only one way. In 1959, this story was adapted into a musical, with music by Mary Rodgers and lyrics by Marshall Barer, known as Once Upon a Mattress. Once Upon a Mattress features a hilarious tale where Queen Aggravain has outlawed all marriages until her son marries a princess. Yet, the salty queen chases away all suitors. That is until Princess Winnifred arrives in the kingdom with support from several royal characters.

This musical comedy will grace the auditorium stage of Morris Knolls High School on March 12, 13 and 14. Student cast members already cannot wait for next month.

Once Upon a Mattress is a very zany show,” said 15-year-old sophomore Michaela Yacker, from Mt. Arlington, who plays the main villain, Queen Aggravain.

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“It’s really fun and weird. The cast gets along really well, and overall, it’s a great experience that I’m happy to be a part of. I also get to scream a lot in my role as the queen so that’s real fun!” Yacker has been acting in and out of school since kindergarten.

Other student crew members also expressed excitement as they put together costumes, props and set pieces.

“I really love the show because it’s very whimsical, fairy tale-like and comical,” said Olivia Greenberg, the student director who has acted in Morris Knolls’s fall production.

“I think the actors are doing a great job with the songs and their performing. The production going well and sets really help to tell the story.”

“This play is an oldy but a goody,” said musical director Sharon Garry, from Montclair.

“It’s also a spoof on fairy tales in general. There’s a lot of group numbers and lively shows that are for ensembles. There are colorful costumes and sets so it will pop. We have 39 cast members and 40 crew. And we are ready for opening night. They’ve been rehearsing five to six days a week since early January, and everything’s really coming together. They’re just fine-tuning all those little moments that add up to a great show.”

Garry has been directing Morris Knolls musicals for 14 years and serves as the drama teacher.

Showtimes for Once Upon a Mattress are 7 p.m., on March 12, 13 and 14, and 3 p.m., on March 14.


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