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Once Upon a Musical

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The musical, Once Upon A Mattress, will be performing March 16, 17, and 18.

The musical, Once Upon A Mattress, will be performing March 16, 17, and 18.

Photo By: Chanti Anderson

Photo By: Chanti Anderson

The musical, Once Upon A Mattress, will be performing March 16, 17, and 18.

Rosie Dougherty-Herrmann, Staff Writer

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Students are working hard on putting together the spring musical, “Once Upon a Mattress.” The musical is a retelling of “The Princess and the Pea.” To prepare for the show, students work on directing, costume making, working on lights and sound, building the set, singing, dancing, acting, making rehearsal schedules and promotion. Rehearsals will span for almost four months for actors. During later weeks, these rehearsals span for up to five hours in one day.

When a young prince named Dauntless comes of age to marry, he starts seeking out a princess. His mother is very critical, however, of all of the princesses who are eligible to marry Dauntless. One day, a princess comes to the castle who Dauntless takes a liking to. His mother is once again critical, so they decide to give the princess a test.

Ms.Pitts is the drama and tech theatre teacher and the director of the spring musical. She has enjoyed figuring out how characters should be portrayed with singing, acting, staging, and costumes. Her favorite part of the play is the song “Shy,” when Winnifred expresses how “unshy” she is. She chose the musical because it tells a message of being true to oneself. Also, it is not star centered.
“I discussed the possibilities with lots of drama students and then selected this one because it is very ensemble-based and has lots of good opportunities in it for many students to shine. I didn’t want to do a musical that is a ‘star vehicle’,” she said.

Arina Bratkovska is a student choreographer and dance captain for the play. “This year Ms. Pitts gave me the amazing opportunity to choreograph “The Minstrel”, “The Jester and I”, and to be the dance captain alongside Evelyn Garey,” she said. “My favorite thing about the musical is the people and the bond we have created. We have our own inside jokes that we come up with in rehearsal. As I already said, tech weeks are the hardest period and that’s when we try to support each other. There are people helping with homework, some people buy each other coffee and food when they have a chance. Theater is the most collaborative artwork,” she said. She enjoys the tech weeks. Even though this time is very tiring and stressful, Arina enjoys it. “Tech weeks are always the hardest period in the musical. Rehearsals go everyday and really late. We get very tired and we always have a lot of homework to do. This is the time when the cast gets really close and we feel like a family,” she said.

Esther Harris, a senior, is one of the ladies in the musical. “Once Upon a Mattress” is Harris’ first drama performance at Western. She decided to audition for the musical because, “I just feel like I wouldn’t do something like this ever again so I wanted to do it in high school.”

Isabelle Mathewes is part of the Ensemble in the play. The ensemble does not have lines in “Once Upon a Mattress,” but does much backup singing and dancing. Mathewes enjoys the bonding and community with the large cast, but says that the musical requires a lot of work to learn all the moves.

Francesca Gibson, another member of the ensemble, previously played Madame Botard in the fall play, “Rhinoceros.” She enjoys the dancing and singing aspects of the musical and thinks that the soundtrack is fantastic. She commented that there are many song, dance, and acting rehearsals, but that lately many people have worked on set building.

To prepare for the play, students have rehearsals multiple days a week from 4-7pm. Stage crew members include assistant director Olivia Gallmeyer, pep coach Sierra Reynolds, lighting designer Brynn Jefferson, and the Tech Theatre class. Teachers and parents also do much work to prepare the musical. “Mr. Chatterson, Mr. Showers, and Mr. Barberio have spent hours working on sound, parent volunteers are working on costumes, props, PR and feeding the cast- Mr. Hartshorn is working with the orchestra, Ms. Blakovich with the vocal direction,” said Ms. Pitts.

The Technical Theatre class works on set, props, publicity, and costumes for the fall play and the spring musical. The students read the script to better their work, and each have specific assignments. These assignments can be anything from working on the press release to making the costume and props.

The musical will show from March 16 to March 18.

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