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A step out of the real world; Little-known ‘princess and the pea’ story to be performed at the Roswell Community Little Theatre


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The Roswell Community Little Theatre presents the musical comedy “Once Upon A Mattress” under guidance of RCLT’s director Lynetta Zuber, who is in charge of lighting and also plays the role of Lady Larken.

Music of the 1959 musical is by Mary Rodgers, lyrics by Marshall Barer and book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshall Barer.
The kingdom is an unhappy one. King Sextimus has been struck dumb by a witch’s curse and is condemned not to speak again until “the mouse devours the hawk!” Queen Agravia has assumed power and she talks enough for the whole royal household. She has decreed that no one in the kingdom may wed until her son Prince Dauntless is married to a true princess of royal blood. So far, the queen has tested the eligibility of 11 applicants and each has failed the almost impossible tests the queen has devised.
The knights and ladies of the court are most distressed by the situation, but the most concerned are Lady Larken and her handsome lover, Sir Harry. Lady Larken has informed Sir Harry that he is to be a father, so the situation is quite desperate. Sir Harry, determined to find a true princess, sets off for unexplored parts and returns with Princess Winnifred. Prince Dauntless is very impressed by the new princess and is soon obviously in love with her — to the consternation of the angry queen, who decides to give her an impossible test.
Will Dauntless finally find a bride who is a true princess, or will the entire kingdom be doomed to live out their lives as singles? Join the RCLT cast for a hilarious ‘Princess and the Pea’ story, “Once Upon A Mattress.”
The RCLT’s team includes Don James as assistant director, Kathy Cook as music director, costume designer and in the role of Queen Aggravain, Jennifer Wolfe and Denise Koerber are in charge of choreography, Koerber also plays a knight. Producer of the musical is Alethea Hartwell, Nate Banks is stage manager, Tony Simoes is part of the set crew and plays the king’s jester. Ty Whatley is part of the set crew and plays King Sextimus. Berkeley Dittman is cast as Prince Dauntless the drab; the royal wizard will be performed by Randy Nolen, Rena Fierro is Princess Winnifred, Derek Palacios is the minstrel and William Atkinson is Sir Harry.

The chorus includes Donna Paul, Candience Runquist, Jeorganna Simoes, Zelia Santos, Deona Santos, Bruce Herren, Jimmy Fuller and Ivory Brown.
“I picked the musical because I absolutely love the story,” Zuber said. “It is a different kind of ‘Princess And The Pea’ you would normally think of. That was basically why I chose it. I fell in love with the story even before I heard the music for it.
“I really love the cast that I have,” Zuber said. “The challenge has really been the stage that we have. It’s not the best stage in town and it was really tough trying to get creative with the space that we have. I am working with levels. I am trying different things that we haven’t had before. I love the idea of making magic happen. Magic is what I like to do,” she said.
“Come and step out of the real world for a couple of hours and enjoy a show and people making fools out of themselves on stage,” Zuber said.
Paul has a background role in the musical. “I didn’t want to perform because I can’t sing, but Kathy Cook had me singing soprano after 45 minutes,” Paul said. Her biggest challenge is to sing and follow the choreography at the same time. This performance is her third at RCLT.
Koerber is a dancer at Studio+ and helped with the choreography. “I used to love being in the theater, but with dancing it conflicts, unfortunately.”
Koerber’s future plans are bright, “Me and my friend are hoping to open a dance studio one day,” she said. “I am a part of the Department of Labor enrollment program at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell. I have been in college since I was 15 years old.”
Quite a sight to see is Berkeley Dittmann in the role of the lovesick Prince Dauntless the drab.
“I’ve been on stage since I was in the womb,” he said. “As far as me actually acting myself, that started when I was 8 years old.”
Dittmann enjoys the comedic aspects of this musical.
“There is not a single moment in the musical that you don’t want to at least chuckle,” he said. “It’s so fun.”
The audience can see the musical the next two weekends with evening performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and matinees on Sundays at 2 p.m.
RCLT is located at 1717 S. Union Ave. For more information and ticket reservations, visit roswelltheatre.com or call 575-622-1982.
Christina Stock may be contacted at 622-7710, ext. 309, or at vision@rdrnews.com.

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