Here’s a musical fairy tale with a difference

The Wizard of Oz. Oliver! CATS.

For 22 years Rainbow Youth Theatre has been entertaining Valley audiences with memorable productions of some of Broadway’s most famous hit shows. But Rainbow also has a history of introducing contemporary audiences to lesser-known gems such as The Boyfriend, Into the Woods, and Godspell.

Rainbow Youth Theatre presents Once Upon a Mattress on July 25

Rainbow Youth Theatre presents Once Upon a Mattress on July 25

The Wizard of Oz. Oliver! CATS.

For 22 years Rainbow Youth Theatre has been entertaining Valley audiences with memorable productions of some of Broadway’s most famous hit shows. But Rainbow also has a history of introducing contemporary audiences to lesser-known gems such as The Boyfriend, Into the Woods, and Godspell.

This summer, Rainbow is continuing the tradition by mounting a production of the 1959 hit Once Upon a Mattress.

Although largely unknown to modern audiences, Once Upon a Mattress is such an enduring favourite that it has been recorded on film three times.

The first movie was made for television in 1964, and was a black and white production filmed in front of a live audience. Carol Burnett, having starred in the original Broadway production, reprised her role as Princess Winnifred the Woebegone, and would do so again for the second film, a colour version made in 1972.

In an ironic twist of fate, the 2005 version saw Burnett switch from playing Winnifred to her nemesis Queen Aggravaine. The latest version also starred Matthew Morrison (now recognizable to fans as Mr. Schuester in FOX’s hit television show Glee), and comedy legend Tracey Ullman. The show has also been revived on Broadway, most recently in 1997, starring Sarah Jessica Parker in the lead role.

What accounts for the show’s continued success? For one thing, it is fabulously unique.

It is based on the fairytale The Princess and the Pea, but is unlike any fairytale you’ve seen before. No demure, ladylike princesses here! Winnifred the Woebegone is as spunky and delightful as they come.

Opposing her in her quest for happiness is the all-controlling Queen Aggravaine, who runs the kingdom in place of her mute husband, and is constantly scheming to keep her grown son, Prince Dauntless, from marrying and taking over the kingdom.

Complicating matters is a longstanding law that is making life difficult for all the courtiers of the land: no one may wed until the Prince has found a bride. As princess after princess fails Aggravaine’s wickedly unfair tests, the court begins to get more and more frustrated.

Also contributing to the show’s popularity is the score. The quirky and comical songs are composed by Mary Rodgers, daughter of popular Broadway composer Richard Rodgers (of Rodgers and Hammerstein fame), with lyrics by Marshall Barer; the tunes are pitch perfect for this unconventional fairytale.

Bringing this wonderful comedy to the stage is a talented cast of 30 teenagers, who will delight with songs and dances fit for a princess! They have spent the past three weeks under the direction of noted local director Brian Kruse, rising star Allyson Leet, and popular musical theatre teacher Joey Clarkson, all three of whom have also been contributing their skills to Rainbow’s other summer show, Willy Wonka Junior.

Once Upon a Mattress has performances on July 25, 26 and 28 to  31, all at 7 p.m. at Mark R. Isfeld Secondary School. Tickets are $15, and are available at Isfeld, and at Videos n’ More in Comox.

— Rainbow Youth Theatre

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

12-year-old Ella Smiley captured some video of orcas on a sea lion hunt on Nov. 28 at Kitty Coleman Park, just north of Courtenay. Photo by Ella Smiley
VIDEO: Orcas hunt sea lion near Kitty Coleman Park

Twelve-year-old Ella Smiley, of Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings, caught up with a… Continue reading

The School District 71 DPAC hosted an online forum for candidates hoping to fill a vacant board of education position. Screenshot, SD71 DPAC Facebook page
Six make their pitch to fill empty school board seat in Comox Valley

District’s parents advisory council hosted the online forum for Area C candidates

Many of the static aircraft displays are decorated in thousands of lights for almost the entire month of December at the airpark on Military Row in Comox. Photo by Erin Haluschak
VIDEO: Christmas lights on display at 19 Wing airpark

Per COVID-19 rules, viewing of the display is strongly encouraged by vehicle and not exiting the car

GP Vanier grad Samantha Rebitt has earned the 2020 Governor General’s Academic Medal, with an academic average of 99.8 per cent. Photo supplied
GP Vanier announces its 2020 Governor General’s Academic Medal winner

Samantha Rebitt had a near-perfect 99.8 per cent academic average

The suspect in a Nov. 22 attempted robbery at the Ryan Road 7-Eleven has been arrested. Photo supplied
Courtenay man arrested in connection with attempted robbery at 7-Eleven

A 19-year old Courtenay man has been arrested following an attempted robbery… Continue reading

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Letter to the editor.
LETTER – Horgan’s election promise of COVID relief cash is money foolishly spent

Dear editor, Would you dip into your child’s registered education fund to… Continue reading

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

JumpCamp CEO Patrick Kitto shows off his technique. Photo by Brett Kroeker
Comox Valley snowboard organization holding annual snowboard drive

Christmas is coming so it’s time again for JumpCamp’s annual Santa Snowboard… Continue reading

Dave Wallace coached the Parksville Royals for 23 years. (PQB News file photo)
B.C. baseball community mourns death of legendary Vancouver Island coach Dave Wallace

‘All who knew Dave and his passion for the game will miss him greatly’

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

Most Read