Paul VI Catholic High School Once Upon A MattressBy Cappies • Apr 18th, 2013 • Category: Cappies
The King is mute, the Prince is Princess-less, and the Queen will do anything in her power to stop a happily ever after in this fractured fairy tale. Will she succeed in stealing away her son’s fairy tale ending? The answer lies beneath twenty mattresses and one uncooked vegetable in Paul VI Catholic High School’s enchanting production of Once Upon A Mattress.
This musical adaptation by Mary Rodgers of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, “The Princess and the Pea” launched the career of the Queen of Farcical Comedy, Carol Burnet, who originated the role of Princess Winnifred when it opened off-Broadway in May 1959. The not-so-magical plot follows a jealous Queen who prevents her love-starved son from marrying by putting prospective brides to insurmountable tests. Since in her kingdom there is a strict marriage law, “Throughout the land no one may wed, ’till Dauntless shares his wedding bed,” the entire court is waiting for Princess Right to come along, however, after twelve Princesses have failed, it seems that no one is good enough to marry Prince Dauntless.
The jovial cast exuded effervescence and left not a dry moment on stage. In a storybook court filled with handsome knights, secret lovers, and everyone in between, the vocal prowess of the colorful ensemble shined in large numbers, while the commitment of each individual cast member infused the show with humor with every word.
As brash and unrefined Princess Winnifred from the marshlands, or Fred as she prefers to be called, Abigail Rozmajzl showcased infectious energy and extraordinary vocal range, and her dynamic onstage presence lit up the house. Her memorable initial appearance, after ostensibly swimming the castle moat, is in a huckleberry pink dress draped in seaweed, proving that this princess is certainly not “Shy.” Playing opposite Rozmajzl as Prince Dauntless was Alex Siegal, who shared playful chemistry and adorable compatibility with Rozmajzl. His mama’s boy attitude and childish exuberance had the audience in peels of laughter; he also showcased his excellent dancing and acrobatic ability during the high energy Spanish Panic.
Punctuating the scenes with robust singing and dexterous dancing was the Jester (Jacob Rozmajzl), in a ridiculous costume complete with three-pronged cap, displaying his impeccable comedic timing and impressive vocals. The domineering Queen Aggrivain (Kristen Washington) expresses her all-absorbing domination of her son with sour facial expressions and stormy rages. Brendon McAlvey’s mute King Sextimus communicates eloquently in pantomime, especially while explaining the birds and the bees to his overly naïve son. Further, a particularly successful ensemble with the Jester (Rozmajzl) and the Minstrel (Taylor Kiechlin) and McAlvey was showcased in a number where the trio declares that they have only two voices among them. Their timing is impeccable and speech is not necessary for McAlvey’s presence to shine.
Each technical element of the show enhanced the childlike, storybook aura of the production. Colorful medieval costumes and a playful castle set complemented the actors. Exaggerated arched eyebrows and red cheeks suited to each character was truly drawn from fairy tale inspiration. The stage crew moved gracefully through each transition, smoothly and effectively shifting large set pieces. Though at times some microphones made a few characters difficult to hear, all issues were minor and hardly effected the performances adversely.
With counting sheep, a secret handshake, and a little bit of magic, this zealous, lighthearted spectacle fit for royalty at Paul VI Catholic High School kept the audience wide awake and wishing for a happily ever after in a kingdom far far away.
by Roshni Gorur of Chantilly High School
Photos by Katy Carlson
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