Photo Courtesy of Mia Rice
As you sit in the audience, you gaze at the stage listening to the pit warm up. Murmurs and whispers fill the air as the lights flicker once…twice…and for the final time they dim. The curtains gracefully open and the show starts.
Once again, the Milford Theatre Company prepares for their fall musical: “Once Upon a Mattress”. Auditions for this musical were held on Sept. 10. Since then, the theatre company has been working diligently to put on its best performance yet. The musical is a clever rendition of the famous fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea. Set in medieval times, it follows the life of a prince as his mother, the Queen, ambitiously sets out to find him a princess. Through a comedic and modern dialogue, the Milford Theatre Company takes the audience on a heartfelt and humorous journey into the chaotic life of royal arranged marriages.
Many students are thrilled for the opportunities this play brings. “This is my first lead at Milford,” said Jillian Armstrong, a Junior, who plays Lady Larken (a lead). “I didn’t see it coming and wasn’t expecting it, but I am excited to take on this leadership role.”
Armstrong has been involved in theatre since she was in kindergarten and has participated in many theater workshops. Having a leading voice may be new territory for Armstrong, but her passion and enthusiasm for theater along with years of experience on stage makes her a strong leader.
Megan Weeks, the theatre director, decided on “Once Upon a Mattress” before the new vocal director was selected. Maryann Lambrecht was the former choir teacher. Since this musical was performed by MHS in 2009 and was a huge success, Weeks chose to repeat it for this year in order to help make a smoother transition. The new vocal director, Brittany Miller, will find this musical involves a wide range of age groups and the students are looking forward to working with her. “I’m excited for a new start as Ms. Miller is our choir teacher,” says Xander Martin, a Junior who plays the Jester (a lead). “It’s going to be very exciting to work with her.”
Some of the Seniors have a bittersweet feeling when rehearsing for their last show. “I’m simultaneously super nervous and scared,” said Tim Dawe, a Senior who plays Dauntless. “It’s my last musical, but also it’s with all my friends, so it’s just going to be really fun.” Dawe also said he is most excited for the song “Man-to-Man Talk.” Another Senior, Bryn Graskewicz, who plays the Sorceress (a lead), is also happy to be back for her final musical. “Man to Man Talk” is definitely an interesting part of the show,” said Amelia Beesley, a Senior who plays Queen Aggravain (a lead). It is a hilarious song that cast members believe the audience will enjoy. They’re also looking forward to the different duets and monologues that are included in this musical. Ben Mondrush, a Junior who plays Sir Harry (a lead), explains his enthusiasm for his duets with Armstrong. “Those should be a lot of fun,” he said. “It feels good to be back and have everyone in the theatre once again.”
Coming back from a year of virtual, hybrid, and in-person learning has been tough. This led to their last year’s musical, “Zombie Prom”, to be pushed from fall of 2020 all the way to last July. So going back to back from the curtains closing to re-opening, the cast is working long hours to make this a spectacular show.. “I’m just excited to be back honestly,” said Junior Ben Sanko, who plays King Sextimus the Silent (a lead). “It’s a lot smaller of a cast, so there’s more cast bonding and everyone is closer.”
Sanko is also excited for people to see how each cast member stands out and how they sound individually as well as together. “We’re dealing with an amazing group of people this year and I’m glad to be working alongside them and to see how everyone grew from last year.”
“Once Upon a Mattress” under the direction of Weeks and Miller promises to make audience members laugh and warm their hearts. From center stage to the catwalks, everyone is busy rehearsing and perfecting their roles. The shows will be held on Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 20 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. So, mark your calendars and bring your friends! to support the Milford High School Theatre Company!