Karol’s first spring musical stuns crowds


Sasha Kvitsinski, Business Manager

Last Sunday, the Artists Theater held its final production of the spring musical, Once Upon a Mattress. There were nine shows in all; they took place on March 10 – 13 and March 18 – 20. The show drew in a consistent audience and was definitely a success. Once Upon a Mattress is a comedy that claims to clarify the misleading fairytale presented in The Princess and the Pea.
“I’m absolutely thrilled with the show! Rehearsals were very focused and asked a lot of the actors; I believe their hard work paid off in spades. I witnessed the show growing with every performance, as these actors became more and more confident,” said co-director Alexis Karol.
Unlike the fall play, Stage Door, this musical appealed especially to the younger audience, and with well-planted humor, applause and laughter filled the theater. The show had audience members leaving with smiles.
“It was a delightful process. I loved working with everyone, and I liked exploring my role. I learned a lot, and I have to thank all the directors, crew members and the rest of the cast for giving me a great experience,” said Will Purdy who played the wizard.
The musical followed a kingdom in which no one could get married until the prince, Dauntless, found a wife. But his mother, an evil queen, did not want her son to get married to just anyone; she demanded a real princess. Through a series of impossible tests, the Queen successfully scared away all of the Prince’s suitors. Sir Harry, a knight, impregnated his wife one night but couldn’t marry her just yet. Fearful of Lady Larken giving birth before they were married, Sir Harry went into the swamps to look for a princess for Dauntless. A sweet, yet strange, princess named Winnifred returned with Sir Harry. The queen was not impressed. But with the help of the Minstrel, the Jester and the Wizard, she was able to pass her test – she felt a pea under 20 mattresses. Since Winnifred passed the test, the queen has no choice but to let her son marry. Thus, everyone else in the kingdom was finally permitted to marry their loved ones too.
“Even though this has been my first musical experience here at the high school, I really feel like I really bonded with the cast. We have really created a family here in the drama department,” said freshman Gabi de Moraes.
The lead actors included Evie Cant as princess Winnifred the Woebegone, Bayley Thomas as the Prince Dauntless, Carmen Fernandez as the Queen, Hunter Mills as the Minstrel, Ellie Glade as Lady Larken, Kaitlin Gunsolley as Jester, Will Purdy as the Wizard and Wyatt Ship as Sir Harry.
“I have really enjoyed the process of learning the role of Winifred and watching the whole play come together. I have met so many lovely people, and I’m so proud of all the hard work everyone has put in as a team to make the show great,” said Cant.
With the help of band and the tech crew, the cast members were able to put on a great show. The actors met Monday through Thursday from 6:00 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the weeks leading up to the performance. The weekend before the opening night, the cast frequently stayed at school for about 15 hours, going over the play and helping the tech crew get used to the pace of the show.
“I don’t think I could be more proud of these actors! It has been a pleasure to watch each and every member of the cast grow as artists and as people. I have a great deal of respect for my students, and nothing makes me happier than seeing them have fun and do such great work on stage,” said Karol.
The group that made the show included the co-directors, Karen Rymar and Alexis Karol; assistant director, Celena DelPizzo-Howell; musical director, Roxanna Ward; choreographer, Paul Nygro; technical director, Peter Roche; and the dance captain, Jordan Burton.
“LBHS has always been known to have a terrific theatre program, and that certainly is what I experienced coming in as a guest co-director on this show! I believe that with Miss Karol at the helm, LBHS Park Avenue Players can look forward to a bright and wonderful future! I loved the show and was so excited that it was so well received. Every standing ovation was well deserved. We had a wonderful team among our talented cast, dedicated crew and all the adults that put in not only time and energy into the show but their hearts and souls. LBHS is so very lucky to have Karol, Ward, DelPizzo-Howell, Roche, Max Dressler and Angela Irish! I am looking forward to returning to see how the program and students grow,” said co-director Karen Rymar.