Once upon a musical; Community theatre performs royal comedy

By Madeline Pena | Published Thursday, May 5, 2011

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With a height of ‘twenty-downy mattresses” and a pea underneath the bottom mattress, Kate Cowling portrays the lead role of Winfred, creating a whole new level of beauty sleep.

“Its (performances) are something to look forward to everyday,” she said.

Madeline Pena

Performed by Off 380 Players, Once Upon a Mattress is based on the classic “The Princess and the Pea” fairytale.

“I would describe it as a fractured fairytale,” director Marty Sherman said.

Open auditions for the musical were held in January.

“My ultimate goal is to give everyone the opportunity to see how fun it is,” Sherman said.

Auditions were open to anyone who was willing to sing a song and give a cold read of a scene.

“At first I was nervous, but Marty put my nerves at ease,” actress Kate Wilson said.

Despite calmed nerves, others lacked confidence in their audition.

YouthSpoken 580“Since it was my first, it was weird because it was the first time I sang on stage and in public,” actor Jack Sherman said.

Conflicts may occur with diverse age range.

“Initially it presents a challenge but by the end of the show it is good for both ends of the spectrum,” Sherman said.

Ages don’t prevent the cast from sharing joy.

“I love the cast,” actor Scotty Johnson said. “No one takes everything too seriously.”

Rehearsals began in early March.

“With a cast you move from apprehensive into determination of ‘I can do this,’ and then it moves into collaboration,” Sherman said.

Unlike a play, a musical has additional skills besides acting.

“You have the elements of song, dancing and dramatic performance so it’s more layered,” Sherman said.

Choices in types of performance vary between cast members.

“I’m a lot better at acting than singing,” Johnson said.

Despite the different strong suits, the production comes together.

“I think towards the end of this process the experience level balances out,” Wilson said.

Sherman believes bonds between the cast are crucial to a successful production.

“That’s one of the biggest jobs of the director is to bring the cast together,” she said.

The plays are performed at the Bridgeport Stage and provide entertainment to a variety of audiences.

“Up to this point we’ve had little children to 96-year-olds,” Sherman said.

With a spread in community theatre, Sherman hopes to inspire others.

“It opens up the entire community through the idea of a new adventure,” Sherman said.

Once Upon A Mattress will be performed May 5, 6 and 7 at 7:30 and 2:30 on May 8. For more information and reservation of tickets visit

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