Bring the family and expect the unexpected as the St. Francis Players in Springfield, PA perform ONCE UPON A MATTRESS in celebration of their 55th year of production.
ONCE UPON A MATTRESS is a musical about “The Princess and the Pea” with twists and turns set in a medieval kingdom. If you thought you knew the story of “The Princess and The Pea”, you may be in for a quite a surprise! A lot of romantic songs and a spin on the familiar classic of royal courtship and punishment provides for some laughter through out the entire show. Chances are you’ll never look at fairytales quite the same way again.
Kristen Azzarano plays the daring Princess Winifred or Fred, if you will, and she wins the heart of mama boy Prince Dauntless, played whimsically by Josh Zigmont. Both are a delight to watch. Azzarano’s performance of “Shy” has a definite Carol Burnett flair to it, and the cast does an amusing job supporting the song. Stephanie Azzarano (Kristen’s real life sister) plays the Jester and we were entertained with her song and dance “Very Soft Shoes”. Elizabeth Farley is the most beautiful horrid Queen Aggravain in all the land, and Michael Donnelly raises a lot of laughter in his portrayal of King Sextimus the Silent. Patrick Flood’s expressions are to die for everytime he admires at himself in the mirror as he plays the egotistical but lovable Sir Harry, and his counterpart, Lady Larken is played by the lovely Katherine Lemon. We were very fond of their duet “Yesterday I Loved You”.
One last person to mention, Claire Gower (who in real life the queen’s younger sister) plays the Nightingale of Samarkand and sings absolutely beautifully. Just 11 years old, this little girl is going places!
On a personal note, it was shared with us that Princess Winifred was proposed to during one of the rehearsals! I wonder how her Prince feels about that?
The hardest part about reviewing is trying to fit everyone in who was enjoyable. Truth is, everyone was. So much thought and work was clearly put into the entire production, from the enormous set and beautiful costumes, to the pit, to the cast. Years of generations of multi families make up 55 years of success. There is a definite bond that you sense as soon as you walk into the auditorium.
ONCE UPON A MATTRESS is certainly pleasing to the eye and ear palate for any theatergoer, and you should take your family and swim the moat to get your tickets.
ONCE UPON A MATTRESS
April 25 – May 4, 2014
St. Francis Players
136 Saxer Avenue
Springfield, PA 19064