Once Upon a Mattress

July 20, 2018

Local high school students bring the hilarious “Once Upon a Mattress” to the MSP stage

by Hannah Erickson

CARBONDALE, Ill. — If you thought you knew the true story of “The Princess and the Pea,” then you’re in for a hilarious treat! Don’t miss “Once Upon a Mattress,” the final show of the McLeod Summer Playhouse 2018 Season of Female Empowerment.

The production, which runs July 26-29 in the McLeod Theater at Southern Illinois University Carbondale features local high school students as part of the All Southern High School Theatre Project (ASHSTP).

Carried on a wave of wonderful songs, this rollicking spin on the familiar classic of royal courtship and comeuppance provides for some side-splitting shenanigans. Chances are you'll never look at fairytales quite the same way again. With laughter, music and fun, this show is perfect for the whole family.

With music by Mary Rodgers, lyrics by Marshall Barer and book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller and Marshall Barer, “Once Upon a Mattress” opened on Broadway in 1959, starring Carol Burnett in her Broadway debut. Both the show and Burnett were Tony nominees. 

A Delightful Collaboration

Now in its 22nd year, The All Southern High School Theatre Project (ASHSTP) is a collaboration between Carbondale Community Arts and McLeod Summer Playhouse (MSP). The program provides intensive musical theater training and education to high school students in the Southern Illinois region.

The culmination of the ASHTSP program each summer is a fully-staged musical theater production that caps the MSP season. With professionally-designed costumes, scenery, lighting and sound, audiences will be astounded by the talented youth in our region.

Directed by MSP Associate Artistic Director Danae DeShazer, with Musical Direction by Kevin Smith, and Choreography by Darryl Kent Clark, the ASHSTP production of “Once Upon a Mattress” features Carterville High School students Lily Jones as Princess Winnifred and Garrett James as Prince Dauntless the Drab. 

“This program is a unique opportunity to work with students from other schools who I wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity meet,” said James. “The ASHSTP program is a unique experience — the directors challenge us as actors, because they know we can handle it. At the same time, they understand that we are human. It is a great experience.” 

Jonathan Gao (Ensemble), a Carbondale Community High School Sophomore new to the program, has experienced personal growth through the program but his favorite part has been “growing into a close-knit community of actors through this experience.” 

Amina Wilson (Ensemble), also a Carbondale Community High School Sophomore, has returned for a second year with the ASHSTP program. Amina’s favorite part of the program is “being onstage, in the spotlight.”

As for the show, she sums it up perfectly: “You’ll just have to come and see it!” 

High school students from across the region featured

The cast includes students from: Marion High School, Massac County High School, Carterville High School, Carbondale Community High School, Anna-Jonesboro Community High School, Murphysboro High School, Elverado High School, Agape Christian High School and Caledonia Christian Academy. 

The complete cast list is available online. 

Get your tickets now

Tickets are selling fast for several performances at SIU’s McLeod Theater.

Performances will occur at:

  • 7:30 p.m. on July 26, 27, 28.
  • 2:00 p.m. on July 29.

General admission tickets: $20 adults, $10 students and $8 children.

Tickets are available by phone, online, in person or by mail:

  • Online at events.siu.edu
  • By phone at 877-SALUKIS (877-725-8547).
  • In person at SIU Arena (8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) or McLeod Theater box office (noon-4:30 p.m.) Monday through Friday when the university is in session.
  • By mail: SIU Ticket Office, Lingle Hall – Mail Code 6620, 1490 Douglas Drive, Carbondale, IL, 62901.

Some fees apply.