“Once Upon a Mattress,” a musical comedy presented by the Steamboat Springs High School drama department is at 7 p.m. Thursday, and Nov. 20 and 21, 2 p.m. Nov. 21.

Photo by Matt Stensland

“Once Upon a Mattress,” a musical comedy presented by the Steamboat Springs High School drama department is at 7 p.m. Thursday, and Nov. 20 and 21, 2 p.m. Nov. 21.

SSHS takes on ‘Once Upon a Mattress’ in fall musical

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To learn more about Steamboat Springs High School’s production of “Once Upon a Mattress,” watch an interview with drama director Amy Pottinger on the “Steamboat Today” morning show at 7:45 a.m. Wednesday on Steamboat TV18.

If you go

What: “Once Upon a Mattress,” a musical comedy presented by the Steamboat Springs High School drama department

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, 7 p.m. Nov. 20, and 2 and 7 p.m. Nov. 21

Where: Steamboat Springs High School auditorium

Cost: $10 for the general public, $5 for students with valid ID

Call: 879-1562

— In the two months since the 25 student-actors involved in an upcoming production of “Once Upon a Mattress” got their scripts, they’ve almost turned the musical upside down.

That’s how cast members Owen McIntosh, a sophomore, and Olivia Lange-Moore, a junior, describe the process of throwing suggestions for modifying the already silly scripting at Steamboat Springs High School Drama Director Amy Pottinger.

“Once Upon a Mattress” opens at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Steamboat Springs High School auditorium, and continues at 7 p.m. Nov. 20 and 21, with a 2 p.m. matinee Nov. 21. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $5 for students.

“It’s not one of those plays you come to, to be serious,” said McIntosh, who plays Sir Harry in his first stage appearance. “It’s one of those plays that you come to kind of like a football game; you come to socialize with all your friends.”

Mary Rodgers and Marshall Barer’s “Once Upon a Mattress” is a humorous stage adaptation of “The Princess and the Pea.” A then-unknown Carol Burnett brought the show’s lead role to life in its Broadway debut, and Sarah Jessica Parker anchored a revival in the mid-’90s.

Pottinger said she chose the nontraditional fairy tale to offer something different to her student cast, giving them roles in a show that’s funny but not fluffy.

“We wanted something that would be fun and that would attract a bunch of high school kids but would also appeal to a wide range of people,” Pottinger said. The show has humor for young children, high school students and adults, Pottinger and cast members said.

“Once Upon a Mattress” features a king cursed to silence, a queen who has taken control, a prince she won’t let marry and a kingdom that can’t marry until the prince does.

“The main princess is kind of a tomboy, and she comes in, and she doesn’t have the most graceful entrance. She’s very strong, and the prince is the exact opposite,” Pottinger said. The resulting jokes strike notes high school students can connect to, Lange-Moore said.

The tone of the play fits in with Pottinger’s goals for her 25 actors, 12 orchestra members and six crew runners. At the beginning of the rehearsal process, Pottinger told her cast and crew they’d be like a family by the time “Once Upon a Mattress” hit the stage. Lange-Moore, who’s playing a lady in waiting, said that might sound cheesy, but it’s been proven true as she’s made new friends.

“They’re having a good time,” Pottinger said. “They’re building their résumés, and they’re having fun, and they’re making friends, and I think that is the whole point of this."

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