Once Upon a Mattress performed at Independence

The Independence High School Performing Arts Department recently presented the production of Once Upon a Mattress on March 23-25 at the school’s theatre.  The original shows music was by Mary Rogers, lyrics by Marshall Barer, and the book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller and Marshall Barer.

The production Cast.

The production takes place during 15th Century Europe,where a fictional medieval kingdom is ruled by the devious Queen Aggravain and the mute King Sextimus, the Silent King.  The King suffers from a curse that can only be reversed “when the mouse devours the hawk.” This musical comedy originally performed off-Broadway in May 1959, and was then moved to the Broadway stage.  Our hometown students put on quite a show and an excellent performance of their own.  The night was delightful with fun entertainment.

The cast led by Ron Gibson as the Minstrel, Jessica Miller as Queen Aggravain, Jared Wilson as King Sextimus, Grace McKinney, Lady Larkin, Max Becker, Prince Dauntless, Molly Hedrick, Jester, William Parsons-Carper, Sir Harry,  Isabella Villanueva, Princess Winnifred,  Grace DeSeve, Princess Nightingale, Will McGilloway, Wizard and the entire cast, crew, ensemble and production team were all fabulous.

Princess, Minstrel, and Wizard.

The Director Paula Baldwin, Musical Director/Accompanist Kristine Neale, Choreographer Amie Davidson, Technical Director Rick Dills, Assistant Technical Director, Kyle Harris, Costume Design, Jamey Varnadore and Dance Captain Molly Hedrick all were simply outstanding as the set, musical numbers, acting, dancing were superb.

The theatre production was part of The Blumenthal Awards calendar, whereby the Blumenthal Performing Arts invites public, private, and charter high school performing arts programs in the Charlotte area to apply for participation in the annual event.

The Blumey awards judges were on hand the night we viewed the production and granted the following cast awards.

  • Best Actor – Ronald Gibson
  • Best Actress – Isabella Villanueva
  • Best Supporting Actor – Max Becker
  • Best Supporting Actress – Grace McKinney
  • Best Featured Actor – Jared Wilson

All the judges will review video clips to make selections for the finalists in each category to be named on May 21, 2017 in the Belk Theatre at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

The Performing Arts Department at Independence is planning to conduct several more shows this year, including The Curious Savage on May 11 and 12 to be held at the high school theatre located on campus.


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Ed Berti
Ed is retired and remains active as a freelance writer, local journalist and independent contractor. He is engaged in print and electronic media writing stories covering business, sports, hometown news and veteran’s affairs including articles of interest to various media outlets. Ed is a graduate of Wagner College where he earned an MBA and holds a BBA from Pace University.
Ed can be reached at ed@minthilltimes.com, eberti7777@gmail.com and linkedin.com.