Archive for Thursday, November 16, 2006

Fairy tale with a twist

LHS to present spoof on popular children’s fable

November 16, 2006

Perhaps a Renaissance-era setting is appropriate for Lansing High School's annual musical.

After a brief one-year hiatus, the tradition was reborn in April with a spring musical. This school year, the musical has moved up to the fall with the production of "Once Upon a Mattress."

Wizard (Russell Buchanan), left, and Minstrel (Brandon Mills) rehearse a scene from "Once Upon a Mattress." Lansing High School will present the play at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 17 and 18, in the Lansing Intermediate School auditorium. The musical was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Princess and the Pea."

Wizard (Russell Buchanan), left, and Minstrel (Brandon Mills) rehearse a scene from "Once Upon a Mattress." Lansing High School will present the play at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 17 and 18, in the Lansing Intermediate School auditorium. The musical was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Princess and the Pea."

And the musical comedy, an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Princess and the Pea," is unlike any other LHS musical production in recent memory, said senior Mary Lyon.

Lyon plays Lady Lucille, a lady in waiting who helps primp Princess Winnifred (Elizabeth Cristiano) for her beau, Prince Dauntless (Robert Hanson).

"This is probably one of the most different musicals we've ever done. We usually do musicals that are more geared toward the 1920s-era, so it's really different to have castles, princesses and princes," Lyon said.

LHS Music Theatre Club members will perform "Once Upon a Mattress" at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 17 and 18, at the Lansing Intermediate School auditorium.

Choral director and club sponsor Jonnie Brice said audience members of all ages would enjoy this fairy tale with a twist.

"I think kids would enjoy it just because of all the shenanigans that go on throughout the show, all the way through to adults," said Brice, who also performed the show in high school. "The original (Broadway) production was done with Carol Burnett as the princess. It was done to entertain adults, but it was also toned down so kids could watch it as well and begin to enjoy musical theater."

"Once Upon a Mattress" introduces the audience to a kingdom ruled by the scheming Queen Aggravain (Monica Tate) and King Sextimus the Silent (Matt Peterson). The queen's law prohibits subjects to marry until Prince Dauntless finds a bride.

And just like the character in the Danish fairy tale of the 1800s, the queen is picky when it comes to finding a suitable mate for her son.

Brice said the musical was moved to the fall to avoid the busy springtime schedules, which include college preparation, numerous spring sports and musical competitions.

Practices began for the production in early October with the cast and crew meeting as often as four times a week from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Brice said the cast and crew's after-dinner meeting times allowed a more diverse group of students to participate.

"There are several soccer players, and several football players, and a tennis girl and a volleyball girl," she said. "I don't want to segregate, and say, 'No, you do sports. You can't do the musical.' It's fun having those kids in there."

Brice said the last week of rehearsals would be filled with final preparations and tune-ups.

"There are still things that need fixed, and they know that. It's nice to have a cast that really cares. They want to do a good job. I've learned from years of experience, don't panic with high school students, because for some reason, they always pull it off," Brice said.

This will be the final musical for LHS seniors, including Abby Hauver, who plays Lady Larken, and Cristiano.

"They do everything under the sun," Brice said. "It's nice to get a chance to feature those two. They will be dearly missed next year, as well as several other seniors."

Next year's musical will be the last LHS musical in the LIS auditorium. Brice said she couldn't wait for the opportunity to plan productions in a new 900-seat auditorium at LHS, scheduled for completion in January 2008.

Tickets can be purchased at the door. Prices are $6 for students and senior citizens and $8 for adults. Profits will benefit future LHS musical productions.

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