Theatre Fairfield launches 2011-2012 season with Once Upon A Mattress



October 26-30, 2011
Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts

Image: Theatre FairfieldTheatre Fairfield, Fairfield University's resident production company, opens its 2011-2012 season October 26 through 30, 2011, with the classic musical comedy, Once Upon a Mattress, with music by Mary Rodgers, lyrics by Marshall Barer, and book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller and Marshall Barer. The musical, which has been a staple of colleges, high schools, and community theatres for five decades, is based on the literary fairy tale "The Princess and the Pea" by Hans Christian Andersen.

The original Once Upon a Mattress Broadway cast featured Carol Burnett, who began her career starring as Princess Winnifred in a role that earned her the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical in 1960. Sarah Jessica Parker played the same role in the 1997 Broadway revival of the musical, and also was nominated for a Tony Award that year.

"In Mattress, the nontraditional female lead is funny, daring, bold, and forthright and still gets the guy and lives happily ever after," said Theatre Fairfield's producer Dr. Marti LoMonaco. "The delightfully feminist character, Winnifred, known as 'Fred,' is her own person. Theatre Fairfield found Mattress a particularly good choice since it has such a powerful female lead."

The role of Winnifred is played by Casey Grambo, Queen Aggaravain, the overbearing queen, is played by Ashley Ruggiero, the mute King Sextinus is Joseph Plouffe, and the timid Prince Dauntless is Michael Maio. The cast also includes a court full of knights and ladies: Nancy Laskowski, Luke Paulino, Josh Matteo, Lauren Sippin, Owen Corey, Maria Mazzaro, Kate Hoffman, Margaret Greene, Austin Begin, Kelan McDonnell, Tom Martorano, Kathryn Dennen, Katie Premus, and Brendan Freeman.

The Mattress production team is headed by two distinguished Fairfield University graduates Ryan McKinney, '97, who is director/choreographer, and Gregory Horton, '68, who is musical director. The design team includes costume designer Julie Leavitt, lighting designer Lynne Chase, and scenic designer Evan Hill. The show is stage managed by Grace Janiszewski and assisted by Katie Gillette.

"If you look at the history of musical theatre, whenever the country is having a hard time, whether it be economically or politically, classic musical comedies are always the first shows to be revived," said Ryan McKinney. "I think that we always love the message of happily ever after."

The performances for Once Upon A Mattress will be in the Wien Experimental Theatre at the Quick Center for the Arts. Performances take place: Wednesday through Saturday, October 26-29, 2011, at 8 p.m., with matinee performances at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, October 29 and 30, 2011. Tickets are $12 for general admission, $6 for University faculty and staff, and $5 for students. To purchase tickets visit the Quick Center Box Office or call 1-203-254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396.

Theatre Fairfield's season continues with performances throughout the year by the residential improvisational troupe, On The Spot, directed by Yvonne Conybeare. In conjunction with the Fairfield Museum and History Center's exhibition, Bravo! A Century of Theatre in Fairfield County, curated by Dr. LoMonaco, Theatre Fairfield is producing Theatre in the Raw: The Lucille Lortel Festival of New Plays. Connecticut-based playwrights have been commissioned to write three plays for Fairfield student actors and professional directors. The plays will be workshopped for an invited audience in December and then fully produced in March 2012. The season concludes in April 2012 with Tennessee William's The Glass Menagerie, directed by Dr. Marti LoMonaco.

The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts is located on the campus of Fairfield University at 1073 North Benson Road in Fairfield, Connecticut. Entrance to the Quick Center is through the Barlow Road gate at 200 Barlow Road. Free, secure parking is available. Access for people with disabilities is available throughout the Quick Center for audience members and performers. Hearing amplification devices are available upon request at the Box Office. Fairfield University is located off exit 22 of Interstate-95. For further information and directions, call (203) 254-4010 or 1-877-278-7396, or visit fairfield.edu/quick.

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Media Contact: Mike Horyczun, (203) 254-4000 ext. 2647, mhoryczun@fairfield.edu

Posted on October 14, 2011

Vol. 44, No. 80