A Show with a Big Heart in Herndon

‘Once Upon a Mattress’ at NextStop: A musical comedy for the entire family.

A light-hearted retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen classic fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea” is in store for the entire family at NextStop Theatre. The show is called “Once Upon a Mattress” and it has unexpected twists that refresh the class tale, including music and dancing.

“Our ‘by kids, for kids’ productions have become a really amazing holiday tradition and great successes,” said Evan Hoffmann, NextStop’s producing artistic director. “We decided that we wanted to expand that program into the spring.” “Once Upon a Mattress” is the spring production.

“‘Once Upon a Mattress’ is a classic show with many wonderful opportunities to feature our young performers,” added Hoffmann. “The story will appeal to kids, parents, and even grandparents.” This production has a cast of two dozen young performers working alongside artists from the professional NextStop company.

Kevin Place directs “Once Upon a Mattress.” Place said, “The play begins with a kingdom on hold: the queen, dominating the mute king, refuses to let her son marry unless the inquiring princess passes a series of impossible tests. So that he can marry his lady love, young knight Sir Harry brings a different kind of princess; this one nicknamed Fred (from Winifred), who scandalizes and excites the young people of the court.”

Surprising developments then transform the original “The Princess and the Pea” for contemporary audiences. “’Once Upon a Mattress’ feels incredibly relevant and relatable in the way that it challenges stereotypes of how young people should behave based on their gender and social status,” said Place.

Professional actor Jen Bevan plays Queen Agravain. “I didn't hesitate at all to say ‘yes’ when asked to be part of the production. I always want to imagine, so I can't think of a better cast to keep my dreams alive, while helping kids along the same path I trod years ago.”

Faith Hargadon, portraying Winifred (nicknamed Fred) said, “’Once Upon a Mattress’ is enjoyable for people of all ages. It has parts that both children and adults will appreciate. It is also a super hilarious, fun and exciting show, with fantastic music and an incredible story.”

Logan Wagner, who plays Sir Harry, said “the choreography is amazing, the vocals are spectacular, and the acting is outstanding. If you want to come see a show that is full of comedy, adventure, and maybe even some drama, then ‘Once Upon a Mattress’ is for you.”

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