‘Once Upon a Mattress’ at Mount Vernon Community Children’s Theatre

Everyone thinks that they know the story of the princess and the pea; a prince is looking for a princess and the queen forces her to take a test to see if she is a true princess by having her sleep on dozens of mattress with a single pea underneath. What the story doesn’t say is that the princess’s name was Fred who swam the moat to reach her prince, Dauntless. It doesn’t say that Dauntless’ perfectly rude mother (the very convincing Katie King) was a loud, unreasonable queen named Aggravain who is married to a cursed, mute prince named meek Sextimus (the animated Adam Ashley). The story normally doesn’t explain why Sir Harry (the enthusiastic Greg Kenney) and his beloved, Lady Larkin (the sweet and sincere Ellie Milewski) need to rush to the altar. What does answer all of these? None other than Mount Vernon Community Children’s Theatre’s fun production of Once Upon a Mattress.

From left Maggie McClelland, Adam Ashley, Katie King and Aiden White. Photo by Laura Marshall.
From left Maggie McClelland, Adam Ashley, Katie King and Aiden White. Photo by Laura Marshall.

MVCCT’s Once Upon a Mattress, with music by Mary Rodgers, lyrics by Marshall Barer, and book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshall Barer, directed by Becky Patton, took the talents of 47 students ranging from ages 8-18 and helped them portray a well-know fairytale with a comedic, musical spin. Patton divided the actors into many different ensembles like Knights, Ladies in Waiting, and Spanish Panic Dancers. Suanne Parrish’s visually appealing set design  created a royal setting using platforms, as well as creating a spinning set that allowed for scene changes between the hall and princess chamber.

Opening the show was Minstrel, played by Emily Roddy, who in her crisp, cheerful voice began with an energetic prologue called “Many Moons Ago.” It was performed by dancers’ pantomiming the future events of the show: Pantomime Prince (Jordan Clark), Pantomime Queen (Savannah Mason),  and Pantomime Princess (Willa Denton), choreographed by Gennifer Difilippo. Along with Roddy’s outstanding voice, her onstage presence was endearing and very charming. Roddy’s partner, Jester, portrayed by MacKenzie Rivera also gave an enjoyable performance, especially in her solo “Very Soft Shoes,” choreographed by Philip Lee Clark. Lady Larkin (Ellie Milewski) shined brightly with her high soprano voice which helped provide many harmonies, with Sir Harry (Greg Kenney), in their beautiful duets “In a Little While,” “Song of Love,” and “Yesterday I Loved You.” Laura Marshall’s costumes were royally colorful.

The full cast of 'Once Upon a Mattress' in rehearsal. Photo by Laura Marshall.
The full cast of ‘Once Upon a Mattress’ in rehearsal. Photo by Laura Marshall.

Leading the performance was the comedic Aidan White as Prince Dauntless, whose over-the-top reactions, his booming voice, impeccable comedic timing, and astonishing stage presence. White’s performance was a refreshing take on the character. Alongside White was leading lady Adrianna DeLorenzo as Princess Winnifred. DeLorenzo’s bold entrance of “Shy” really helped to establish how bold her character was going to be. It was enjoyable watching White and DeLorenzo play off each other, as they gave a refreshing take on young love. And kudos to the ensemble for providing some lovely harmonies during “Shy” and ‘The Swamps of Home.”

Mount Vernon Community Children’s Theatre’s colorful production of Once Upon a Mattress will keep kids, teens, and parents extremely entertained.

Run Time: Two hours and 15 minutes, with a 15-minute intermission.


Once Upon a Mattress plays on March 28 & 29th at 7:30pm and March 30th at 3:00pm at Mount Vernon Community Children’s Theatre performing at Bryant Alternative School  – 2709 Popkins Lane, in Alexandria, VA. For tickets, purchase them at the door or online.

MVCCT presents ‘Once Upon A Mattress’ 3/21-30.


  1. I attended opening night! I was delightfully surprised at how very professional and talented the cast was. I honestly was thinking ‘grade school” prior to the start of the show. By inteterm mission….I wanted to take the whole cast home with me to tell me the story over and over. The costumes, set and technical aspects even though run by adults were perfect. I would not change a thing. Everyone should come catch these future stars while they can still get in on a low ticket price!


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