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Examiner
  • "Once Upon a Mattress" is silly, whimsical fun

  • Sophia Flowers is more proud of her role in “Once Upon a Mattress” than any other theatrical production in which she’s participated.

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  • By Adrianne DeWeese
    Sophia Flowers is more proud of her role in “Once Upon a Mattress” than any other theatrical production in which she’s participated.
    While she’s acted in Children’s Performing Theatre, performed in the street cast at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival and worked backstage on makeup and costuming at William Chrisman High School, Sophia is making her City Theatre of Independence debut as “Princess Number 12” in the musical production that marked the Broadway debut of Carol Burnett 50 years ago.
    “It’s kind of like when your best friend asks you what you like about them best,” Sophia says of her love for the production, which runs the next two weekends. “I just kind of enjoy the whole experience, knowing that everybody pitches in and everybody comes to set build. Some people aren’t always at every rehearsal, but they always put in their best effort. We really come together as a family.”
    “Once Upon a Mattress” is a musical comedy based on the fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea.” Director Shari Wassergord, who previously spent nine years directing off-off Broadway shows in New York City, says she wanted to direct the “Once Upon a Mattress” since she last directed a musical in college.
    “I just enjoy shows that aren’t real-world, where you create a world that doesn’t exist,” Wassergord says. “I enjoy that much more than the kitchen-sink drama where it’s everyday people, sitting in a living room, discussing their lives. This is more imaginative work.”
    Michael Murphy of Kansas City, who portrays “Sir Harold,” says he knew little-to-nothing about “Once Upon a Mattress” prior to auditioning. He described his first impressions of the musical as “a silly piece of fluff,” but that didn’t deter him from wanting a role.
    “It didn’t take itself too seriously,” he says. “It wasn’t trying to be something that it wasn’t. It was just a silly little piece of fluff. I just hope (audience members) will have a good time – that’s about all they’ll take from it.”
    This marks just the second time City Theatre has put on “Once Upon a Mattress,” the last time occurring during the 1982-83 season. Many cast members who appeared in the 2011 musical “Cinderella” are returning for this season’s musical, including the former Cinderella, Erin Coleman, who plays Lady Larken.
    Although she’s the youngest cast member, Sophia Flowers says she knows “Once Upon a Mattress” will offer something new from the traditional theater experience.
    “I just hope they have fun. I really do,” Sophia says. “I hope they get engaged early and they stay engaged and they leave laughing.”
     
     

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