How to follow “Fiddler”?
Nanuet High School has gone from the downtrodden Anatevka to the over-the-top “Once Upon a Mattress,” a musical about an unconventional princess and a kingdom in dire need of a wedding.
<object id=”flashObj” width=”486″ height=”412″ classid=”clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000″ codebase=”http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,47,0″><param name=”movie” value=”http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9/48345545001?isVid=1&publisherID=37861007001″ /><param name=”bgcolor” value=”#FFFFFF” /><param name=”flashVars” value=”omnitureAccountID=gpaper183,gntbcstglobal&pageContentCategory=ENTERTAINMENT&pageContentSubcategory=ENTERTAINMENT&marketName=Westchester, Rockland, Putnam:LoHud&revSciSeg=J06575_10021|J06575_10304|J06575_10338|J06575_10395|D08734_70115|J06575_10541|D08734_70623|J06575_50021|J06575_50526&revSciZip=7675&revSciAge=1963&revSciGender=male&division=newspaper&SSTSCode=lifestyle/index.htm&videoId=67393572001&playerID=48345545001&domain=embed&” /><param name=”base” value=”http://admin.brightcove.com” /><param name=”seamlesstabbing” value=”false” /><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true” /><param name=”swLiveConnect” value=”true” /><param name=”allowScriptAccess” value=”always” /><embed src=”http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9/48345545001?isVid=1&publisherID=37861007001″ bgcolor=”#FFFFFF” flashVars=”omnitureAccountID=gpaper183,gntbcstglobal&pageContentCategory=ENTERTAINMENT&pageContentSubcategory=ENTERTAINMENT&marketName=Westchester, Rockland, Putnam:LoHud&revSciSeg=J06575_10021|J06575_10304|J06575_10338|J06575_10395|D08734_70115|J06575_10541|D08734_70623|J06575_50021|J06575_50526&revSciZip=7675&revSciAge=1963&revSciGender=male&division=newspaper&SSTSCode=lifestyle/index.htm&videoId=67393572001&playerID=48345545001&domain=embed&” base=”http://admin.brightcove.com” name=”flashObj” width=”486″ height=”412″ seamlesstabbing=”false” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowFullScreen=”true” swLiveConnect=”true” allowScriptAccess=”always” pluginspage=”http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/index.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash”></embed></object>“Once Upon a Mattress” is an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Princess and the Pea.” The role of Princess Winnifred made Carol Burnett an overnight sensation in May 1959.
With music by Mary Rodgers and lyrics by Marshall Barer, the score includes the songs “Shy,” “Sensitivity,” “Swamps of Home” and “Spanish Panic.”
“Mattress” features strong, vocal women and meek men.
There’s the evil Queen Aggravain (Valissa Hicks) and her silent, hexed King Sextimus (Dan Frey).
Their son, the mousey Prince Dauntless the Drab, falls in love with that aforementioned Princess Winnifred the Woebegone (Bridget Cafaro).
Princess Fred, as she’s called, wants what other princesses want and, despite the lyrics in the song “Shy,” she doesn’t mind going after it.
This is a princess who will swim moats to get her man.
“All she really wants is to be happy, and she’s worried that because she’s not Cinderella, Snow White and Rapunzel, she’s not going to get her happy ending,” says Cafaro, a junior. “And that scares her.”
What scares Cafaro is the height of her perch, mattresses stacked about 10 feet high in one of Aggravain’s tests.
“It doesn’t look that high, but it’s really, really high,” she says with a giggle.
Hicks, as Aggravain, says playing pure evil is fun, particularly opposite a lovable, happy character like Fred. She says she channels all Disney’s evil queens to summon Aggravain’s sinister nature.
Still, director Jack Gremli has cautioned the actresses not to go too far over the top.
“He tells me to be honest, don’t go too overboard,” Cafaro says. “If you go too over-the-top, it’s too two-dimensional and superficial.”
All junior Dan Frey has to work with, as the silent King Sextimus, is his body.
There was this curse, you see.
“It’s more fun not being able to say anything because of what it lets me do,” Frey says. “Instead of saying, ‘Oh, I’m worried,’ I can over-react with my body. I enjoy it more than talking.”
Chris Siriban, 17, a senior, says his mouse-like Prince Dauntless the Drab is “a 40-year-old mama’s boy who cannot speak for himself.”
“Eventually, though, I grow a little spine,” he says.
Dauntless is not far from the role Siriban played in “Fiddler on the Roof” last year. Motel the Tailor was another weak fellow who finds backbone in the name of true love.
There’s one subtle difference.
“Dauntless knows what to do but can’t do it; Motel learns what he can do,” Siriban says.
If you go
What: “Once Upon a Mattress”
Where: Nanuet High School, 103 Church St., Nanuet
When: 8 p.m. March 5, 6.
With: Robert Ahle, Jessica Angeles, Katherine Aguiar, Katherine Bartell, Bryanna Boland, Katie Bonner, Samantha Brennen, Julia Brooks, Josh Burger, Bridget Cafaro, April Camacho, Grace Cao, Avery Chang, Samantha Colarelli, Michael Dale, Lauren Dammacco, Brendan Dang, Brian Dolan, Kerry Dolan, Dan Donnelly, Sam Fein, Jackie Ferro, Sarah Fitzgerald, Dylan Flynn, Tara Flynn, Christina Fox, Danielle Fraher, Dan Frey, Jessie Garcia, Shezia George, Demi Giannico, Vasia Giannakakos, Eden Gilet, Claire Gilroy, Shira Goldman, Geena Gregory, Lyndsay Gregory, Ana Gremli, Bethany Grushkin, Alison Harrington, Valissa Hicks, Allison Hoisl, Mairead Holt, Chris Hoppe, Amy Hu, Orlando Hurtado, Diana Innocent, Dara Jackson, Stacey Jacob, Alexa Kelly, Jessica Kroner, Maggie Leung, Amanda Lowney, Nicole Lynch, Katie Lynn, Jesse Knapp, Matt Mancuso, Morgan Mason, Colleen McLaughlin, Connor McLaughlin, Charlie Miller, Claudia Miller, Niki Miller, Danielle Moldow, Kaitlyn Morr, Rebecca Mosner, Stephanie Mungroo, Jennifer Nghe, Brianna Nicosia, Kyle Nonnan, Niamh O’Donohue, Annabella Panaro, Chae Park, Stephanie Pedro, Nicole Picariello, Ileah Pratt, Louis Pratt, Anthony Prestipino, Brian Purvis, Kevin Quill, Kristen Quill, Luke Reilly, Eric Roemish, J.D. Roth, Kristin Rusiecki, Eve Saiz, Sal Schiavone, Joey Schragenheim, Johanna Simonsen, Jimmy Simon, Kristopher Siriban, Mark Siriban, Tori Slater, Sarah Small, Eric Sorkow, Danielle Steel, John Sweet, Alexa Texel, Allen Thi, Anh Trinh, Kevin Tsao, Victoria Vardilli, Christina Verwoert, Elio Vezza, Danielle Vitale, Alexis Vitiello, Olivia Walsh, Andrew Weiss, Ryan Wilhelm, Ben Wu, Stefanie Wu
Watch Dan Frey, Bridget Cafaro, Valissa Hicks and Chris Siriban talk about how they get into character at www.LoHud.com/highschoolmusicals. Scroll down to the LoHud TV viewer on the right side of the page.
Irvington High School also presents “Once Upon a Mattress,” 7:30 p.m. March 5, 6, 12, 13; 2 p.m. March 7; $15/$8; 914-591-6645.