WVLO’s “Once Upon a Mattress” is coming to Saratoga in March/April 2020

By Ande Jacobson

West Valley Light Opera (affectionately known as WVLO) is working hard to open its next production, Once Upon a Mattress, with music by Mary Rodgers (yes, the daughter of that Rodgers), lyrics by Marshall Barer, and book by Jay Thompson, Deal Fuller, and Marshall Barer. This little theatre staple has been around since 1959. The show, running 7 March – 4 April 2020 in Saratoga, brings Hans Christian Anderson’s tale of “The Princess and the Pea” to the stage with a lively score, vivid staging, and lots of wit and humor. The story follows a hapless prince and an unconventional princess (originally played by Carol Burnett) trying to overcome an evil queen’s cunning and hilarious attempts to keep them apart. There’s a second love story in the mix as that couple deals with an urgent (and emergent) situation. Through it all, audiences will enjoy the many colorful characters in the kingdom. This is a happy, fairy-tale show guaranteed to have audiences smiling and fighting the urge to hum along with the many familiar songs such as In a Little While, Happily Ever After, Sensitivity, and Normandy.

The full song list from the show includes:

  • Many Moons Ago
  • An Opening for a Princess
  • In a Little While
  • Shy
  • The Minstrel, The Jester, and I
  • Sensitivity
  • The Swamps of Home
  • Normandy
  • Song of Love
  • Quiet! Quiet!
  • Happily Ever After
  • Man to Man Talk
  • Very Soft Shoes
  • Yesterday I loved You
  • Nightingale Lullaby

Add to that some exciting dances numbers, a wonderful Overture and Entr’acte to feature the orchestra, a grand finale, and you have a show full of musical magic that will enchant you.

The artistic staff includes:

  • Director: Bill Starr
  • Music Director: Ron Bowman
  • Vocal Director: Kevin Brownstein
  • Choreographer: Devin Adler

The cast includes:

  • Jen Wheatonfox as Winnifred the Woebegone
  • Julie Moylan as Queen Aggravain
  • Tyler Savin as Prince Dauntless
  • Steve Anthony as King Sextimus
  • Mary Foster as Lady Larken
  • Geoffrey Silk as Sir Harry
  • Devin Adler as Jester
  • Joel Butler as Wizard
  • Peter Woolhouse as Minstrel
  • Ensemble:
    • Rachel Rosenberg as Lady Merrill/Beatrice
    • Molly Meyers as Lady Lucille
    • Alycia Olivar as Lady H./Lady Mabelle
    • Katelin Foley as Lady Katherine
    • Jennifer Willis as Lady Elizabeth
    • Dawn Johnson as Lady Rowena
    • Makena Murray as Princess #19
    • Becky Owens as Nightingale of Samarkand
    • AJ Duprey as Sir Studley
    • Timothy Ford as Sir Luce
    • Anthony Villanueva as Sir Russell
    • Alex Barbieri as 2nd Knight
    • Luke Jacobs as Sir Humphrey
    • Anatole Babaeff as Sir William
    • Joanne Rettberg as Mathilda
    • Rebecca Brownson as Ester

The 12-piece orchestra will be tucked upstage behind a scrim. While audiences won’t be able to see the players during the show, they will hear them in all their glory as they watch the story unfold on stage.

Orchestra members include:

  • Flute/Piccolo (1 per performance): Doreen Oroshnik, Kaya Eagan;
  • Oboe (1 per performance): Benjamin Yoder, Elizabeth Jensen Young;
  • Clarinet (1 per performance): Jordan Selburn, Ande Jacobson;
  • Bass Clarinet: Sarah Moulder;
  • Trumpets: Susan Schadeck, Alec Hattan;
  • Horn: Kenton Kuwada;
  • Trombone: Kellen Neff;
  • Keyboards: Sean Green, Don Bosco;
  • Bass: Gabriel Perez;
  • Drums: Christine Lovejoy

Performances will be at the Saratoga Civic Theater located at 13777 Fruitvale Ave., Saratoga, CA 95070. Tickets are available online through the West Valley Light Opera website, or by phone at 408-268-3777. If you call for tickets, leave a message, and one of the friendly box office staff will call you back to help you choose your seats, or pick them yourself online.

Please join WVLO for this production running 7 March – 4 April 2020. You will be glad you did.

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