The School of Music, Alpha Psi Omega and the rest of the student body and community came together to produce “Once Upon a Mattress” — a fairy tale musical turned onto its head.

It follows the story of the young Prince Dauntless looking for his princess, but his mother keeps getting in the way. Until Princess Winifred comes along.

“Winifred shatters everything that is expected. There is an idea of being proper and being in a prestigious world but Winifred destroys it all,” said Tori Sizemore, a music education and vocal performance major as well as the actress behind the character.

The cast and crew have been able to overcome the challenges created by the loss of the theatre program following repeated budget cuts. 

“It has been a challenge how to put on a production with such a small staff, but we’ve made it happen,” said Sizemore. 

The cast and crew have had to take on multiple roles throughout the course of the production.

Director Matthew Johnson mentioned having to work on set design in addition to his role as director, which is unusual for him.

“Everyone in the production team is wearing five hats,” said Johnson.

“Once Upon a Mattress” is also a collaborative work beyond the immediate cast members. The EKU School of Music has worked with outside organizations for various aspects of the production but also employed the assistance of Alpha Psi Omega, the coed theatre fraternity on campus.

“There is no theatre program anymore, so we are pretty much the entire tech crew. We get our members and people who are interested to help with light board op and sound board op,” said David Brewer, president of Alpha Psi Omega and Knight 2 in the production. 

This is one of the first productions since the budget cuts that resulted in the loss of the theatre program but complete support has not been lost.

“We have the support of people like Dean [Sara] Zeigler and the community as a whole,” said Sarah Jo Jacobs, assistant director of the production.

This included backing from the student body within the audience. “Once Upon a Mattress” opened on Nov. 13, but student Stephen Smith, an animal studies major from Lexington was in attendance on the second night.

“I’m not a fan of musicals usually but the songs were comedic and relevant to the story,” said Smith. 

Smith also said that he has been a big fan of theatre for years, particularly since elementary school. 

“I’m just excited to see what happens next,” said Smith.

Jacobs is also looking to the future of theatre at EKU.

 “There is so much opportunity for growth at EKU but there’s a lot of work to be done.  We have the talent and people want to see theatre and find value in that,” said Jacobs.

“Theatre will never die because we won’t let it,” said Johnson. 

“Once Upon a Mattress” has showings at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 15 and 16. There will be a 2 p.m. matinee on Nov. 17. All performances will be in the Gifford Theater in the Campbell Building. Tickets can be purchased at the door and are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and veterans and $5 for students.

 Individuals interested in being in the spring production of “Batboy” can audition on Nov. 22 at 6 p.m. in room 137 of the Campbell Building.

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