Act 1 Presents Zany Musical “Once Upon a Mattress”

by Roseann Damico Schatkowski | Oct 09, 2015

Once Upon A Mattress at DeSales

 

Original production marked Broadway debut of Carol Burnett

Once Upon A Mattress at DeSales 

 Act 1 DeSales University Theatre opens its second production of the 46th season with the zany musical “Once Upon a Mattress.” The production will run October 15 to October 25, 2015 in the Schubert Theatre of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, Center Valley, PA.

A hilariously nutty retelling of “The Princess and the Pea,” “Once Upon a Mattress” is filled with wonderful songs, dazzling dance numbers, and sidesplitting shenanigans. This raucous, romantic, and melodic spin on a familiar classic is recommended for ages 10 and older.

“Once Upon a Mattress” marked the Broadway debut of legendary stage and TV personality Carol Burnett, who garnered a Best Leading Actress Tony nomination and won a 1960 Theatre World Award for her role as Princess Winnifred. “The role of Winnifred the Woebegone is one of those typical fish out of water roles; a brash, unrefined princess enters the royal court to charm Prince Dauntless the Drab while dodging the slings and arrows of his mother, the devious Queen Aggravain,” says John Bell, division head of the DeSales University Division of Performing Arts. “These are fun roles to play and can often serve as a breakout role for a young actress. If ever there were a performing arts paradox, it is the image of the great American comedienne Carol Burnett belting out ‘I’m Shy’ in the original 1959 Broadway production. This is the show and role the catapulted Ms. Burnett to stardom.”

 “Once Upon a Mattress” also received a Tony Award nomination for Best Musical. It features a musical score by Mary Rodgers with lyrics by Marshall Barer, and book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshall Barer. “Composer Mary Rodgers is the daughter of the legendary Broadway composer Richard Rodgers,” says John Bell, division head of the DeSales University Division of Performing Arts. “She wrote only a handful of Broadway shows of which ‘Once Upon a Mattress’ is surely the best. It should also be noted that her son, Adam Guettel, is also a very successful Broadway composer having won accolades for such shows as ‘Floyd Collins’ and ‘The Light in the Piazza.’ Clearly, the vein of musical talent in the Rodgers family ran deep.”

A Broadway revival starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Lewis Cleale, and Jane Krakowski opened on December 19, 1996, at the Broadhurst Theatre and ran for 188 performances. The production was nominated for the 1997 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.

The production is directed by associate professor of theatre Anne Lewis. Ms. Lewis directed last season’s “Little Women, the Musical.” The production features the talents of Nancy Moser Collins as musical director and Stephen Casey as choreographer.

In keeping with the tradition of allowing outstanding DeSales technical theatre students the opportunity to design a production, “Once Upon a Mattress” features the talents of juniors Paul Curcillo as scenic designer, and Liza Black as costume designer, Theresa Raso as sound designer, and sophomore Heather Terranova as lighting designer. The division’s faculty designers Will Neuert (Sets) and Elizabeth Zernechel (lights) mentor these talented students.

October 15 to October 25, 2015 in the Schubert Theatre of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, Center Valley, PA. Performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM. A talk back is also scheduled for Sunday, October 18 after the 2:00 PM performance. “Waiting in the Wings, A Dinner with Understudies” will take place on Sunday, October 18, 2015, at 5 p.m. in the DeSales University Center. This themed dinner will feature students understudying for roles in our fall productions. Find out what it's like to be one of these special breeds of actors who ensure that “the show must go on.”

Guests will be seated with current understudies in dance and theatre and hear from them and Tina Slak (’94) who will recall her moment of being thrust into the spotlight on less than 12 hours’ notice for the leading ingénue role in the musical “Something’s Afoot” in 1991. All attendees with understudy experiences are invited to share their stories too.

The Dinner costs $32 and includes full bar, appetizers, buffet dinner, and desserts. The menu features dishes where a main ingredient has been substituted—similar to the substitution that occurs when an understudy gets the call to go on. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Labuda Center box office at 610-282-3192 or by visiting the web site at www.desales.edu/act1.

In an effort to improve accessibility for all patrons, the Saturday, October 24, 2:00 PM matinee performance will feature Audio Descriptions for patrons who are blind or visually impaired. During Audio Described performances, all action and physical appearances are described live through a headset. Tickets are half price for patrons using these special services on this date. Please call box office manager Catherine Logan at 610-282-3654, ext. 1 for more information.

Ticket prices are $21 for adults and $19 for students and seniors on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and $25 for adults and $23 for students and seniors on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Group discounts are available for all performances. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Labuda Center box office at 610-282-3192 or by visiting the web site at www.desales.edu/act1.

The Labuda Center is fully accessible and equipped with a listening enhancement system. Special seating is available for our patrons using wheelchairs or requiring other assistance. Please inform the box office of your needs when ordering tickets.


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Tom McNamara
Executive Director of Communications
DeSales University
2255 Station Avenue
Center Valley, PA 18034

610.282.1100 x1219
Tom.McNamara@desales.edu