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DeLand High School’s Hill Street Theatre is gearing up for a grand production of Once Upon a Mattress. With music by Mary Rodgers, lyrics by Marshall Barer, and a book by Jay Thompson, Marshall Barer and Dean Fuller, this piece of classic American musical theater is sure to please all who come to see it.

The story is narrated by the Minstrel (played by Josh Freeman), who introduces us to Prince Dauntless (Ben Roberts), who has been searching for a princess to marry. The problem is that his overbearing mother, Queen Aggravain (Etzell Medrano), will simply not settle for just any princess.

With the assistance of her Court Wizard (Mark Leavitt), the queen insists on putting every applicant princess through a series of tests to see if she is fit for her little boy, who is approaching middle age himself.

Unfortunately for the rest of the kingdom, nobody may marry until Dauntless finds his real princess bride. This proves problematic for everyone, especially Sir Harry (Scotty Leavitt) and Lady Larken (Brianna Gutierrez).

Sir Harry takes it upon himself to search high and low for the perfect princess for Dauntless. Weeks pass, and all hope is dwindling when a strange, beautiful young woman appears claiming to be a true princess from the swamps.

Winnifred (Emily Hill) wows the court with her friendly, energetic personality, and within moments of her introduction, Dauntless is already in love. Naturally, the queen won’t rest until she and the Wizard create the perfect test for this young lady.

With the help of his father, King Sextimus (Hunter Wilkes), and his personal jester (Austin “Virgil” Grogan), Dauntless’ wedding day is just around the corner — if they can get the information they need to thwart the queen’s plans in time.

This fantastic cast is supported by a wonderful company of new and veteran thespians. Winnifred is attended by a group of ladies-in-waiting, and each one of these ladies is longing to be united with one of the knights.

Our production features choreography by Avant Guard Director Heather Gleason, with assistance fromFreshman Dance Captain Kendall Morreale.

Our amazing band students make up our pit orchestra, under the brilliant direction of Director of Bands Matthew Boswell.

We are blessed to have Melissa Cargile playing piano and keyboards.Our singers had the honor of working with two wonderful vocal coaches, our own Ross Cawthon, and our fabulous parent volunteer Bethanne Schrecengost, whose daughter, Claire Schrecengost, is stage-managing our production.

Aaron Goldy is our technical director, and members of our Theatre Tech Club and Hill Street Theatretake care of our technical needs and running crew.

Stuart Hamilton and members of his Bulldog Construction Club helped us get our tiny set onto the stage!

The production is produced and directed by me, Jenny Sejansky,and I couldn’t be prouder of these students and all the beautiful adults who’ve stepped up to make this show a reality for us.

So come support the DeLand High School Fine Arts Department’s annual spring musicalOnce Upon a Mattress.

Tickets cost $5 for students and $10 for adults, and are available at the door each night of the performance starting at 6:15 p.m.

The shows begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, Feb. 13-15, in the DHS Auditorium.

We have a Valentine’s Day “Date Night” special: If students wear their club or group T-shirts to the show, they get in for $3 instead of $5 on Thursday night only.

For more information, call the theater department at 386-822-6909, ext. 23455.

See you at the theater!

— Jenny Sejansky is director of the theater-arts program at DeLand High School.

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