For the first time in years, the Richland Players will give theater lovers a musical guaranteed to please any age.
Once Upon A Mattress continues Aug. 22-23 at The Players Theatre in Richland. Curtain time is 8 p.m. There also will be a 2 p.m. matinee Aug. 24.
Barbara Wilson and Karen Walley are sharing directing duties -- Wilson for the acting and Walley for the music.
"This is a musical comedy adapted from the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale Princess and the Pea," Walley said. "In this version, the devious Queen Aggravain forbids anyone in the kingdom to marry until her son Prince Dauntless the Drab weds."
But there are many versions of this story, said Michael Wutzke, the show's producer.
"In this tale, a small kingdom is ruled by a talkative queen and a mute king," he said.
But even after 12 princesses are paraded in front of the prince, he can't seem to settle on a suitable bride. That is until the moat-swimming and outrageous Winnifred enters the scene.
That's when waves of songs, sometimes hilarious and raucous and always romantic, begin and the royal courtship unfolds.
"Although the Richland Players is not well known for staging musicals, Once Upon A Mattress fits perfectly within its past 70 seasons of productions," Wutzke said.
Wilson, who is the drama director at Southridge High, said she hasn't directed community theater in a while, and she missed it.
"I wanted to direct again and work with Players," she said. "We have a wide range of ages, from 11 to 50 plus. All very talented and enthusiastic. Everyone is having fun."
The musical also is a throwback to the Richland Players' mission of providing theater for young people, Wutzke added.
"This is a young and lively cast, and we never expected the number of young actors who came to audition," he said.
The cast includes Kelley Margaret Smith as Winnifred; Diane Floyd as Queen Aggravain; Cameron Bleiler as Prince Dauntless; and Gary Cook as King Sextimus the Silent.
Laurel Jane Wutzke is Princess No. 12; R.J. Debvec is the wizard; and Jillian Roller as the jester.
Other roles are filled by Amy Aillo, William Talbot, Hunter Dodson, Mackenzie Ferry, JoAnne Rieger, Albania Davis, Trent Remington, Maria McDonald McNamar and Bailey LePage.
Tickets to the show cost $15 for adults, $12 for students, seniors and veterans.
Tickets are available at www.richlandplayers.org or call the box office at 943-1991.
-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @dorioneal