WMS to present “Once Upon a Mattress”

Annual school musical to debut Nov. 19

Rebecca Hellman and Bridget Nee

This year WMS is leaving HSM Jr. behind, but the students are still all in this together for the production of “Once Upon a Mattress.” This popular play is a junior version of “The Princess and the Pea” — with a quirky twist.

It will be performed Friday, Nov. 19, and Saturday, Nov. 20. Casting was held in Abby Cordell’s room on Sept. 15 and 16.

Fewer auditions were held this year than last year, and Ms. Cordell’s room was packed with kids waiting their turn. Molly Smith, an eighth-grader at Watertown Middle School, landed one of the main roles of Princess Winifred. Nathan Greess, an eighth-grader, and Ryan Moore, a seventh-grader, both landed another main role of the prince. Adeline Cimino got the role of the evil queen.

Ms. Cordell holds rehearsals about twice a week, either in the chorus room or the auditorium. With the amount of kids at each rehearsal ranging from 1 to 50, Ms. Cordell can always handle the drama.

“[The] play is going well, we’re getting busy into rehearsals,’’ said Ms. Cordell, the director and producer of the production.

A normal full cast rehearsal usually starts after school or during extended homeroom on Monday or Friday. Actors walk into the dark auditorium, usually with food in one hand and their script in the other. The stage managers stand at the front of the stage, taking attendance and saying announcements. Then Ms. Cordell walks in, with her script and a water bottle in her hands. She walks quickly to the stage to calm everyone down. She then calls students to the stage to play their parts. She is either up there on the stage acting along with them, or sitting in the audience to critique them.

On the outside, Ms. Cordell seems all fun, but, when things need to be done, she gets down to business.

“The stage managers keep my head on straight with all the confusion, ” said Ms. Cordell.

This year, she is giving more opportunities to students to work behind the scenes. For example, eighth-grader Caitlyn D’Amico has the role of Lady Larkin, but she is also the show’s dance captain.

On the lights and sound crew are eighth-graders Aimee Balch and Kayla Lawlor. Eighth-graders Rebecca Hellman and Bridget Nee are the two main stage managers and attend most rehearsals.

The storyline is very much like the original, except with a modern twist. In this version, the prince is desperate to find a suitable princess to marry, so he can take over the kingdom. But with the queen on his back, it’s nearly impossible to choose a wife!

This enchanting fairytale, with a great ending, is a must see!

–Nov. 14, 2010–