HOPKINTON — “Once Upon a Mattress,” which last brought laughs to town in 2011, makes another comic visit to Hopkinton Middle High School this weekend.
A musical take on “The Princess and the Pea” fable, “Once Upon a Mattress” is set in a kingdom where no one can get married until the prince finds a bride. Enter the unrefined and effervescent Princess Winnifred. The only thing standing between her and a happy ending is the scheming queen and a bed piled with 20 mattresses.
The over-the-top characters are very much like caricatures, said director Paula Demers in a press release.
For junior Brianna Sink, who portrays the lead role of Princess Winnifred, it means trying to channel comedy icon Carol Burnett, who originated the role on Broadway in 1959, and stage favorite Sarah Jessica Parker, who led the show’s revival in 1996.
“I try to make the character my own,” Sink said. “She’s goofy. She thinks she’s shy, but she doesn’t realize how different she is from the others because of where she comes from.”
The play’s narrator is the Minstrel, played by senior Bryton Hanchett.
“I love that he breaks the fourth wall, talking to the audience, being a storyteller, then stepping back into the show with the characters,” Hanchett said in the press release.
The play, which for decades has been a staple of school and community theater, features music composed by Mary Rodgers, daughter of Broadway legend Richard Rodgers.
But sophomore Patrick Quinn plays the mute King Sextimus the Silent and must pantomime his lines for much of the musical.
“It’s more of a challenge to do that,” said Quinn. “It’s like choreographing a dance for two hours.”
While none in this cast took part in the 2011 production, many parents are returning for the promise of hum-worthy tunes and belly laughs.
“My parents are really looking forward to seeing the show again,” says Erin Donahue, who portrays a lady-in-waiting. “My sister (Emma, who appeared in the 2011 production) is coming too. She’s excited to relive the show again.”
“Once Upon a Mattress” show times are 7 p.m. Friday and 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday at Hopkinton Middle High School, 297 Park Ave. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors.