GHS Theater Program’s “Once Upon a Mattress” is a fun show for the whole family


Willa Brosnihan

Brendan Johnson and Jessyca Muniz rehearse for the GHS spring musical, “Once Upon a Mattress”


For this year’s annual spring musical, the GHS Drama program is presenting “Once Upon a Mattress,” a fun and amusing adaptation of the “Princess and the Pea.” This raucous comedy stars Princess Winifred, a non-traditional heroine for a non-traditional tale.

“It’s based on the fairytale ‘The Princess and the Pea,’ but it puts a little twist on it,” said GHS junior and cast member Marisa Orlando. “There are some comedic elements added into it.”

Orlando plays King Seximus in the musical, who is mute due to a curse that can only be broken “when the mouse devours the hawk.”

“I have lines through the whole show, but I’m not able to actually speak,” said Orlando on her role. “I have to act all of them out, and I didn’t know how I was going to go about miming certain things. I figured if I method acted, then I would be able to communicate with others without actually speaking.” At rehearsals, Orlando is not talking unless absolutely necessary.

“Everyone’s gotten into their roles a lot,” said Orlando, “And I think that’s really going to show on stage.”

The show also features senior Karlee Hynes as the narrating minstrel, and senior Kayla Saltonstall as the talkative and smothering queen. Jessyca Muniz, Drama Council President and senior, plays Princess Winifred.

“It’s a lot more commitment than you would think,” said Muniz. “People don’t really know much about the theatre program, but we rehearse so much. It’s a lot of extra work outside of school too; I have to make sure I’m on top of my stuff and remembering everything. It’s hard but it’s worth it.”

Muniz stars opposite Brendan Johnson, who plays the childish and funny Prince Dauntless the Drab.

“I love Brendon’s character, Prince Dauntless, he’s hilarious,” said Muniz. “I really like ‘Song of Love,’ it’s so cute.”

The musical score is peppy and original, written by Mary Rodgers and Marshall Barer.

“The music is really upbeat and really fun,” said “Once Upon a Mattress” cast member Nadav Gerber.

“My favorite part of rehearsals is the dance part,” said student costume designer and cast member Bella Giordano, “because that’s really fun and I just like to dance. My favorite part of ‘Once Upon a Mattress’ is probably the Spanish Panic, because I have so much fun dancing.”

The play takes part in a medieval setting, but according to Giordano, the show will have a more Renaissance period look.

“Initially it was supposed to be medieval,” said Giordano, “But then I ended up hating every single waistline, so I changed the entire show to be Renaissance inspired.”

Drama students rave about the inclusion that they feel at theatre, and the experience they gain.

“My introduction to the musical and the drama community has been lovely,” said Laura Ryan, a GHS freshman. “I feel very accepted and everyone is so nice.”

The musical will be performed on Thursday, April 5th at 7:00pm Friday, April 6th at 7:00pm Saturday, and on April 7th at 1:00pm and 7:00pm. Tickets are $8 for students, GHS staff, and seniors, and $12 for general admission tickets bought online, or $15 at the door. A family pack (two adults and two students for $30) will also be offered at the door. 

Click here to visit the Gloucester High School Theatre Program’s official website.