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Princess Dauntless seeks a suitable wife in 'The Princess and the Pea'

Press Photos by Linda Sailer Prince Dauntless (Kevin Schwab) gazes upon Winnifred (Katelyn Dockter) in a rehearsal scene of "Once Upon a Mattress" on Wednesday at Trinity High School.1 / 2
Sir Harry (Colton Steiner) announces the arrival of the princess in a rehearsal scene for "Once Upon a Mattress" at Trinity High School.2 / 2

Prince Dauntless wishes to marry a suitable wife -- one who is a real princess, but something is wrong with everyone he meets.

Then one stormy night, a young woman arrives at in the castle. She claims to be a princess, so the queen decides to test the guest by placing a pea in the bed, covered by 20 downy mattresses.

Will the guest sleep soundly or feel the pea through the bedding -- something only a true princess could do? The answer is revealed in Trinity High School's musical version of the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale of "The Princess and the Pea.

"Nobody in the kingdom is allowed to wed until the prince marries," Director Janel Schiff said. "So far, everyone fails the tests created by the queen, so everyone in the kingdom is anxious for the prince to marry."

Katelyn Dockter plays the role of Winnifred, who is a princess unlike anyone the prince (Kevin Schwab) has ever met.

"Winnifred wants to live happily ever after because Cinderella and Snow White all their happily ever afters," Dockter said. "I have no one to help me, I have to do it by myself."

Describing the prince, Schwab said, "His mother controls him, but he's completely clueless."

The prince's efforts to marry have been thwarted by the domineering Queen Aggravain played by Molly Schweitzer.

"The queen thinks the world revolves around her -- she loves her little boy but holds him back in life, especially when it comes to the person he's going to marry someday," Schweitzer said.

The queen is joined on stage by her silent, but lovable husband, King Sextimus, played by Austin Oltmanns.

Several Trinity alumni are returning to help with the performance.

Mitch Kuntz, a 1972 THS graduate, played the role the jester in "Once Upon a Mattress." He returns, not as the jester, but as the musical director.

Schiff also welcomes former THS actress Molly Stoltz, who serves as choreographer. She has worked in the dance and theater world since graduating from the University of Minnesota with a degree in choreography.

"It is tremendously exciting and gratifying to work with Molly and have her be a part of this production," Schiff said. "Once again, our students are blessed by the willingness of those within our school community as we collaborate in so many ways to present a musical production."

Audience members may recall the first actress to play Winnifred in 1969. Carol Burnett starred in the Tony award-winning musical, then revived the role in a television production and appeared again the most recent Disney production, this time starring as Queen Aggravain.

"I chose it because it's a fun musical -- I chose it because of the characters and the music," Schiff said. "It's been a lot of fun to welcome back veterans and some newcomers-- they realize how much fun a musical can be."

The students also are enthusiastic about presenting the musical.

"I highly encourage people to attend because we have such fun, energetic people putting on this play and those who have lots of experience on this stage," Schweitzer said. "It's really a good story that will be fun for all ages."

Dockter added, "When you come, definitely be prepared to laugh -- it's crazy, it's fun. The characters have unique personalities and it shows. Mrs. Schiff has done a great job of casting the roles."

The leads also include: Colton Steiner, Prince Harry; Lisa Fisher, Lady Larken; Sarah Weiler, minstrel; Emily Jilek, Jester; Ryan Fahy, Wizard.

Performance times are 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The Sunday, Dec. 2, matinee is at 2 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults; $6 for students.

A new addition to the fall musical is the opening night meal to be catered by Lady J's and served in the cafeteria. The ticket will include the meal and the performance. Limited tickets are available. Contact THS for further information. The musical is presented through arrangements with Rodgers and Hammerstein.