Southeast music department gears up to put on timeless musical

Hope Nurnberg, Co-Editor

When junior Dorothy Ann Sparacino takes the stage as Lady Larken in the Nov. 14 and 16 musical “Once Upon a Mattress,” her family may be singing along with her. Sparacino’s sister Christina played the lead role, Winnifred, when SES staged the show in 2006.

“Once Upon a Mattress” is based on the story of “The Princess and the Pea.” The story is set in a kingdom and the prince of the kingdom wants to find a princess but his mother (the queen) sends off every contender that comes the prince’s way.

Cade Cooper and Taylor McQuillan practice their dancing for Once Upon a Mattress. (photo by Breanna Standley)

Sparacino said that her sisters’ involvement in musicals when they were in high school influenced her desire to participate in musicals too.

“My sisters (Christina and AnnMarie) were involved in musicals and they loved them,” Sparacino said. 

“(Lady Larken) is one of the bigger roles I have done,” Sparacino said.

 She was also involved in the musical “Funky Winkerbean two years ago and played the part of a cheerleader. 

Sparacino enjoys being in the musicals for many reasons. Her favorite parts about participating are the funny things that happen at musical practice. There are also a few things she dislikes about participating.

“My least favorite part is memorizing lines and preparing for solos,” she said.

Sparacino isn’t the only one who may have family or patrons singing along. Madeline Blake’s parents, Keith and Lori, were also in the show in 1992. Blake plays Winnifred, the princess. 

“I’m pretty sure my mom was one of the queen’s ladies, and my dad was the set designer,” Blake said. 

“I am very excited about (having a lead) because I love the solos my character has. They are exaggerated and over the top, so they’re fun to sing. I am a little nervous, though, just because I’ve never done a part this big before,” she said.

In the past, she has played the news reporter in “Funky Winkerbean” and in the chorus of “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Cast List

“My favorite part (of the show) is the humor it has. The characters, lines, and (the) songs are all so ridiculous, they will have everyone laughing throughout the entire show,” she said. “Memorizing the songs is fun, but memorizing lines is not fun, so that’s my least favorite part.”

Ben Monday, a sophomore, will also have plenty of lines to memorize as he takes on the lead role of Prince Dauntless.

“I tried out for Dauntless, but I really wanted the Minstrel or the Jester,” he said. “I am nervous about having a bigger role, but I know that with more practice time this year, I will do fine.” 

Prince Dauntless also will be a favorite of Gary and Melony McClure, whose son Mark played that role in 2006, and school board member Dwight Conley will recall memories of playing Dauntless when he was in the musical at Southeast.

Before this year, Monday has participated in musicals but has just been a part of the chorus. He is excited to have a larger role in this year’s musical.

“It is a fun show with a lot of humorous parts,” he said.

The show will be on Thursday, Nov. 14 and Saturday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m.