Starting tonight, the Brenham High School Theatre Department will be bringing queen-sized fun to the stage with their musical “Once Upon a Mattress.”
Adapted from “The Princess and the Pea” fairy tale, the play tells the story of a kingdom in search of a princess to marry the queen’s son, Prince Dauntless. Many beautiful and queenly princesses arrive but are rejected by the queen for various reasons, so when Winifred the Woebegone arrives, seeming to hardly be princess material, the queen decides to disqualify her by devising a test too impossible for anyone to pass. Claiming that a true and suitable princess must be sensitive, she places a single pea under a tower of mattresses for Winnifred to sleep upon.
“It’s a classic, with a little twist” said Laura Jordan, the play’s director who has taught acting and technical theater classes at Brenham High School for six years. “It’s one of my favorite classics, so I wanted to do it and show the kids what classics really are like.”
Rylie Patrick, who plays Winnifred, is no stranger to acting. She first became involved in theater when she was 3, and she has participated in BHS Theatre for all four years of high school. “I just have so much fun on the play, especially the dances,” said Patrick.
The play is just as fun to work on for the other students in the production, including Mallory Hughes, a junior who plays the queen of the kingdom and mother of Prince Dauntless. “The queen is very very protective of her son,” said Hughes. “She’s such a huge character, very overdramatic, and it’s fun to portray that.”
Sydney Ross, a sophomore, plays Lady Larkin, a lady-in-waiting who convinces the man she loves, Sir Harry, to search for a bride for the prince. Ross first became involved with theater in 4th grade, and this will be her 4th BHS production and her first time appearing as a main in a musical. “I think we have a really good family here,” she said. “I always feel supported by the people around me. These people are some of the best friends I could ever make.”
“The cast is full of so many talented people,” said Patrick. “They’re all so uniquely amazing at what they do, and it’s cool because people come from so many different backgrounds.”
The play, which features live musical accompaniment by Brenham High School Band students, promises laughs and fun for the whole family.
“It’s a lot of family fun,” said Ross. “It has jokes that the kids will enjoy, but it also has jokes that I think a lot of adults will find humor in.”
“It’s one of the timeless classics where you can just come to the theater and have a good time,” added Jordan. “It’s just fun.”
“It’s extremely funny,” said Hughes. “It’s very colorful and beautiful, and we worked really hard on it.”
“Everyone should come see it,” added Patrick.
Patrick and Hughes, along with four other students in the production — Tanner Pieper, Edin Inestroza, Annie Clepper, and Aidan Strickland — will also be competing in nationals in Lincoln, Nebraska this summer. They qualified for this honor in November after competing in individual and duet competitions at the Texas Thespian Conference. “They are all in the cast, so you can come and support them as well,” said Jordan.
The musical runs at the BHS Auditorium this Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door.