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Cast enchants audience in spring musical PDF Print E-mail
Written by Darci Tomky   

Once upon a time some brave and noble Holyoke High School students took the stage, portraying prince and princess, knight and lady, king and queen. This is their story...

An impressive castle scene and magnificent costumes transported the audience back in time to a hilarious take on the classic fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea.”

Even if the audience had had their own soft, fluffy bed 20 mattresses high, there was no going to sleep during the wild antics of the HHS Drama Department’s “Once Upon a Mattress” on stage Friday, March 22 and Sunday, March 24.

The annual musical was directed by Eric Conklin with music director Pat Wiebers and assistant director Penny Dockins.

Prince Dauntless (Jacob Vasa) meets a spunky Princess Winnifred (Eva Penzing) after she swam the moat and climbed the castle wall.  —Enterprise photo

A charming Princess Winnifred, played by Eva Penzing, captured the hearts of audience members—and of Prince Dauntless, played by Jacob Vasa—with her amazing singing voice and playful personality. This girl (who swam the moat!) proved she was worthy of her title with each test that came her way.

Vasa’s innocence and spunk was a perfect match to Penzing, portraying on stage a young prince simply in need of a wife, despite his uncooperative mother, Queen Aggravain, played by Molly Brandt.

And speaking of the queen, no one could seem to get a word in edgewise, especially King Sextimus, who was left utterly speechless at her fast-flying words and no-nonsense attitude.

A smiling wizard (Ryan Parker, at right) follows around Queen Aggravain (Molly Brandt) as she angrily plots a plan to eliminate Princess Winnifred before she can win her son’s heart.  —Enterprise photo

The king, played by Jack Gorwitz, didn’t even need to utter a word to make the audience laugh. His man-to-man “talk” with his son about the birds and the bees was the best game of charades I’ve seen in a long time!

The mute King Sextimus (Jack Gorwitz, at left) does his best to use charades to explain the birds and the bees to his son (Jacob Vasa).  —Enterprise photo

Also getting the giggles were the hilarious and musically talented jester, played by Ben Martinez, and the minstrel, played by Brittney Prottsman. And don’t forget about the surprisingly successful magic tricks performed by the wizard, played by Ryan Parker.

Brittney Prottsman and Ben Martinez sing “The Minstrel, the Jester and I” with the king during last weekend’s spring musical on the HHS stage.  —Enterprise photo

Alongside all the silliness was the love story between Lady Larken and Sir Harry, captured perfectly on stage by Anastasia Conklin and Zach Roll.

The two love birds, Lady Larken and Sir Harry (Anastasia Conklin and Zach Roll, pictured at left), sing “In a Little While.”
 —Enterprise photo

Whether they were doing the Spanish Panic dance or singing about a girl named Fred, the ladies, knights and ladies-in-waiting made “Once Upon a Mattress” an unforgettable performance. Rounding out the cast list are Dani Brandt, Alexandria McCallum, Megan Parker, Lori McWilliams, Alyssa Killin, Elli Ahro, Kaely Zilla, Logan Gift, Cody Lamm and A.J. Brandt.

“Once Upon a Mattress” cast members check out the mattresses the queen was preparing for her test to see if Princess Winnifred could fall asleep with a single pea under her bed. The ladies and knights of the castle are pictured from left, Kaely Zilla, Dani Brandt, Lori McWilliams, Elli Ahro, Alexandria McCallum, Alyssa Killin, Cody Lamm, Logan Gift and A.J. Brandt.  —Enterprise photo

In addition to the directors and cast, those who were part of the production staff included Nicholas Ortner, Spencer Kotch, Wyatt Bishop, Robin Conklin, Mario Madrid, Nancy Pillard and Tracy Drake.

All in all, this musical left the audience humming the catchy songs as they fell asleep on their own mattresses that night, and everyone lived happily ever after!


Holyoke Enterprise March 28, 2013