Gallery Players announces auditions for the upcoming AEA showcase (approval pending) production of Once Upon a Mattress; Music by Mary Rodgers; Book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshall Barer; Lyrics by Marshall Barer.
This will be a feminist, queer interpretation of the musical wherein we are entirely loyal to the text while creating a fairytale fantasia where love is love, the gender binary is deconstructed, and the world is as diverse as our own.
Director Barrie Gelles; Producer Justine McLaughlin / Gallery Players; Music Director Sobina (Yi-Hsuan) Chi; Choreographer Barrie Gelles
Rehearsals begin Friday, January 18, evenings and weekends (possibly some weekdays depending on actor availability). Performances February 22 through March 17: Fridays at 7:30pm, Saturdays at 2pm & 7:30pm, and Sundays at 3pm. All auditions, rehearsals, and performances at the Gallery Players, 199 14th Street, Brooklyn.
Open call auditions for all characters will be on Sunday, January 6 from 12-4pm and Monday, January 7 from 7-10pm. Sign-in will open half an hour before each audition and sign-in will close thirty minutes before the end of each audition. AEA priority. No submissions necessary for open calls, just show up. Callbacks will be on Saturday, January 12 from 4-9pm.
Actors should bring 16 bars of a musical theatre song. Bring sheet music in the correct key, no lead sheets. Dance auditions will take place at callbacks.
Seeking 18-20 Cast Members. All roles are open to all actors. We are looking to audition Arab, Asian, Black, Latino/a/x, Multi-Racial, Native, Pacific Islander, and White; Female-Identifying, Male-Identifying, and Gender-Non-Conforming performers of all abilities, for all roles.
Character Breakdown for Once Upon a Mattress:
Minstrel – character can be any gender.
A storyteller and musician who makes their way as an entertainer in the royal court. Their talent is to observe the ongoings of the kingdom and turn typical events into rich stories worthy of fairytale lore. They are a charming but also trustworthy narrator. This Minstrel is more crooner or follies headliner, than a renaissance singer. They have more in common with the town minstrel of Stars Hallow than the minstrels of the “days of yore.”
- Queen Aggravain – character is female.
She is quite fabulous in her own way but her narcissistic tendencies are her downfall. Her inflexibility and insensitivity has hampered her ability to be a leader, a matriarch, and a spouse. But she wasn’t always like that. Desperate to control everything within her realm, she cannot see past her own predetermined set of values and vision for the future of her only son. She has a flair for the dramatic and is quite comfortable as an incidental villain because she believes that she is always right.
- Wizard – character can be any gender.
Decades ago, the Wizard left the world of entertainment for a more secure job at the royal palace. They are very good at their job but have been relegated to an underling position, completing tasks for the Queen at her command. Their loyalty to the Queen has made them a bit of an outcast from the rest of the kingdom. One wonders if The Wizard is starting to question the career choices they made.
- King Sextimus – character is male.
The King is a loving father and a kind man, beloved by his subjects, and friendly with his employees (the Jester and the Minstrel). Because of his goodhearted nature, it seems clear that, at one time, he was in a very happy marriage with the Queen before things changed; as a romantic, he would not have married her otherwise. Due to a magical curse, the King is unable to speak. In this production, his non-verbal status will not make him unintelligible or ridiculous. Instead, much of his comedy comes from his clever use of sign language and his assistive communication device.
- Jester – character can be any gender; actor must be able to tap.
Coming from a long line of performers, the Jester has effortless talent, grace, and comic timing. They have become a natural duo with the Minstrel, making life in the royal court enjoyable. It is a telling character trait that the Jester is the King’s most trusted companion and fully fluent in the King’s different versions of communication.
- Prince Dauntless – character is male.
Prince Dauntless is sensitive, kind, and gentle, much to his mother’s dismay. He is a romantic and hopes for true love, probably having imagined it since he was a little boy. As his name suggests, he is intrinsically brave and determined, but he can’t quite get out from under his mother’s overbearing assumptions of what his life should be. He is in no way a man-child or nebbish, he just hasn’t found a way to stand in his power yet.
- Princess Winnifred – character is female.
Winnifred breaks the princess mold. She grew up in a kingdom that didn’t privilege the normative and therefore is fully comfortable and confident being exactly who she is, regardless of whether or not she “fits in.” Her strength, bravery, and generosity makes her a natural leader. But Fred is also vulnerable because what she wants more than anything is to find a romantic partner who shares her belief in love and her outlook on life.
- Sir Harry – character is male.
Harry is one of the most accomplished knights in the kingdom. He is dependable, industrious, and determined. And he is head over heels in love with Lady Larken. He is the kind of fella who can sweep you off your feet with a big romantic gesture and can be counted on to follow it up with stability and fulfilled promises.
- Lady Larken – character is female.
Larken is clever, self-sufficient, and plucky. This is the gal you want as a best friend because she is unwavering in her love but also will call you out on your nonsense. She doesn’t need a significant other to fulfill her or to make her life complete, so you know that her devotion to Harry is because she is truly, deeply in love with him.
- Ensemble – 10 additional performers to portray additional characters, perform in all group numbers, and serve as swings/understudies for the above roles. Ensemble members will be assigned to the following roles during the first week of rehearsal: Princess #12, Sir Studley, Sir Luce, Lady Rowena, Lady Merrill, Lady Lucille, Emily, Lady Mabelle, and all other characters with individual lines. Please note, there will be Knights of all genders and “Ladies”-in-Waiting of all genders; there will be romantic couples of all kinds represented.