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  • Writer's pictureJoe Lyons

AU theatre presenting “Once Upon a Mattress” Feb. 16-19

ASHLAND, Ohio – The department of theatre at Ashland University continues its 2022-23 theme of “Standing Up, Standing Out” by presenting the musical comedy “Once Upon a Mattress” Thursday through Sunday, Feb. 16-19. All performances take place at the Hugo Young Theatre, with the Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows beginning at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday’s matinee at 2 p.m.

“Once Upon a Mattress” is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale “The Princess and the Pea.” The musical was written by Mary Rodgers (music), Marshall Barer (lyrics), Jay Thompson and Dean Fuller.

Teresa Durbin-Ames, associate professor of theatre at AU, who serves as the director describes “Once Upon a Mattress” as not “your typical fairytale, but fun for the entire family.”

The story focuses on a kingdom where no one is allowed to wed until Prince Dauntless, played by Tobin Grendzyski, does so. All princess candidates must pass the tests created by the prince’s overbearing mother, Queen Aggravain, played by Leanna Uselton, to determine if they are true princesses. Many ladies and knights of the kingdom are anxiously waiting for the day they can get married, especially Lady Larken and Sir Harry, played by Lauren Vladyka and Anthony Marchetta, respectively. Sir Harry takes it upon himself to help discover a true princess, traveling to the marshlands and finding Princess Winnifred the Woebegone, played by Katie Snell, to see if she can stand out and pass the Queen’s test.

Also included in the cast are Oliver Wagner as King Sextimus the Silent, Belle Ayala as the Minstrel, Tia Shanklin as the Jester, Becca Huegler as the Wizard and Lily Dowler, Connor Reis and Mattie Vermilya, who play Ladies-in-Waiting, Knights, Servants and Wenches.

The production staff is composed of Deb Logan, music director; Justin Miller, scenic designer; D. Justin Bilewicz ‘09, costume designer; Seth Morrison ’18, lighting designer; Katie Gibson, choreographer; Richard Ingraham, sound designer; and Brien Carpenter, stage manager. The student crew includes senior Tyler Rice as the technical director, as well as Mela Abarca, Jesse Baker and Mikehlah Carr on the crew.

Tickets can be purchased from the AU campus store in person or by going to Tickets are $2 for AU students, $5 for non-AU students and $10 for adults, faculty/staff and senior citizens. Tickets will not be available for purchase at the door.


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