April 22, 2018
School & Youth
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  • Eighth-grader Abbie Smith said she was excited to be cast as Princess Winnifred because she’s a “spunky” and “funny” character who breaks stereotypes.
    Photo by Maya Pottiger
    Eighth-grader Abbie Smith said she was excited to be cast as Princess Winnifred because she’s a “spunky” and “funny” character who breaks stereotypes.
  • Choreographer Morgan Gingerich gave feedback during a rehearsal for Severna Park Middle School’s production of “Once Upon A Mattress.”
    Photo by Maya Pottiger
    Choreographer Morgan Gingerich gave feedback during a rehearsal for Severna Park Middle School’s production of “Once Upon A Mattress.”
  • Severna Park Middle School’s spring musical is “Once Upon A Mattress,” a fairytale that flips the script on gender roles.
    Photo by Maya Pottiger
    Severna Park Middle School’s spring musical is “Once Upon A Mattress,” a fairytale that flips the script on gender roles.

“Once Upon A Mattress” Flips The Script

Maya Pottiger
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April 3, 2018

Cinderella had help, but not all princesses do when tracking down their prince.

Such is the story of “Once Upon A Mattress,” Severna Park Middle School’s spring musical this year.

“The plot is fun, and it’s a twist on a story people know,” said producer Jill Robinson.

Based on “The Princess and the Pea,” the story follows Prince Dauntless in his search for a princess, but his mother, the Queen, doesn’t particularly want him to wed. She finds fault in all of the potential princesses, gleefully sending them all away.

Then, Princess Winnifred comes in, and she is nothing like the typical princess.

“She’s really spunky, and she’s funny,” said eighth-grader Abbie Smith, who portrays Princess Winnifred. “She has a lot of great songs that really influence the plot in a funny, musical way.”

Abbie said she had heard of the show before it was announced as the school’s musical. Princess Winnifred was one of her favorite characters because she “breaks the stereotypes of a princess,” which is something Abbie could relate to.

“I break a lot of stereotypes,” Abbie said. “There’s a lot of stereotypes in Severna Park, and I think it’s important to break them, and I think this part generally breaks all stereotypes.”

Director Atticus Boidy said he chose the musical because it’s a timeless tale that takes the “typical storybook aspect” of what a woman needs to be and “flips the script.”

“It breaks down a lot of the norms we see in stories, so I think that’s why it continues to be timeless,” Boidy said. “I think it has a good message in comparison to a lot of other shows out there.”

Henry Wright, the eighth-grader who plays Prince Dauntless, said he hadn’t heard of the show before auditioning but was “super intrigued” once he read it. The show, he said, includes humor and personalities to tell the story.

“It’s different from the other musicals because it’s a role reversal. The prince is this shell of a man who doesn’t even make his own decisions. He’s just this little kid in this grown man’s body,” Henry said. “Princess Winnifred comes in and helps him show his true colors, and he finally finds out who he is.”

Some of the cast’s favorite songs from the show are “Shy,” “Happily Ever After” and “Song of Love.”

“Happily Ever After” was Boidy’s favorite song before he chose this musical.

“I like this version of it because instead of just Winnifred singing it, it has a variety of princesses singing it and the ladies in waiting, which I think is really cool,” Boidy said.

“Once Upon A Mattress” is a family-friendly show that will appeal to all audiences, Robinson said.

“I think that people are going to be really surprised,” Robinson said. “I think the songs and the choreography are not what they’re going to expect with a fairytale.”

There will be four performances of “Once Upon A Mattress” from April 13 through 15. The performances will be Friday, April 13, at 7:00pm; Saturday, April 14, at 2:00pm and 7:00pm; and Sunday, April 15, at 2:00pm. Tickets are $10 at the door and $9.50 online at www.spmssings.org. Tickets are now available online.


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