Once Upon a Mattress Starts Spring with a Laugh


Photo credit: Adrienne Marko

Jordan Day Rhynard (12) and Bella Virginia (11) play the two leads of Once Upon a Mattress as Prince Dauntless and Princess Winnifred. “I think they’re all really good actors,” Ashley Highland (12), another audience member, said.

Brynn Lemons, Staff Writer

Once Upon a Mattress hit the Dakota Ridge Mainstage Feb. 27th, with two more productions showing the 28th the 29th. Written by Jay Thompson, the musical depicts the story of a young Prince Dauntless [Jordan Day Rhynard] trying to find a worthy enough princess to marry, despite the Queen Aggravain’s [Ella Arnold] vicious grip. When a less-than-decent Princess Winnifred [Bella Virginia] shows up to win the prince’s hand, trouble ensues. 

After four months of after-school line readings and dance rehearsals, the musical’s first public showing was held on Thursday 28th.

“When we have the audience helping us and giving us that feedback instantly, of laughing and getting involved with what’s happening on stage — it always infused the show with so much more energy,” Liam Walter (11), who plays King Sextimus, said about the show’s opening night. “I think it went absolutely phenomenal tonight.”

“Opening night went great,” Bella Virginia (11) said. “There’s obviously going to be hiccups, no matter how many times you run a show, but those hiccups make the show even better. I think it was a perfect opening night.”

The musical takes a twist on the classic tale of Princess and the Pea, depicting exaggerated versions of characters like a mute King Sextimus [Liam Walter], a deadbeat magician wizard [Jordan Trigg], and a minstrel [Alyssa Keller] who acts as the singing narrator of the story. 

“It’s [Once Upon a Mattress] like Shrek, but reverse,” Emmalee Ketchum (12), audience member and past theater participant, said during the musical’s intermission. “I’m really liking it!”

“This was my first actual lead position,” Walter says on his role as the king. “First time having spots on me, first time I had a mic, first time for a lot of things. Also, the first musical I’ve done. So, it was a lot of new experiences, but it was absolutely amazing and I loved every second of it.”

Virginia plays the lead role as Princess Winnifred, a loudly Scottish and distinctly unlady-like princess. “It’s a pretty good commentary,” Virginia says, “that you don’t have to be conventionally beautiful to be worthy of love. I think what made it even more fun to play her [Princess Winnifred] was the more I worked with her and the more I was her, I saw bits and bits of her in myself and it helped me gain more confidence in little everyday things that I used to be self-conscious about.”

Once Upon a Mattress will show again tonight, Saturday the 29th, with an admission of ten dollars for students and twelve for adults. Tickets can be purchased online at www.drhstheatre.com or at the door.

Photo credit: Adrienne Marko
The musical is roughly two hours, held at 7 p.m. in Dakota Ridge’s auditorium. James Young, Once Upon a Mattress’s director, says in his director’s note, “you’re bound to laugh a lot.”