Marc Buckhout/The Foothills Focus
Once Upon a Mattress debuted Friday in Anthem. The show’s run continues through April 29 To view more photos from Once Upon a Mattress go to

Starlight’s run of Once Upon a Mattress continues

STAFF REPORT ~ 4/4/2012

Everyone in Starlight Theater’s rendition of Once Upon a Mattress is losing sleep over the lack of a love life for the Prince.
Queen Aggravain, a protective mother, doesn’t seem to be playing fair in the search for a qualified wife for her son, which not only frustrates the Prince, but also the rest of the kingdom, none of which are allowed to marry before a suitable bride is found for the Prince.
The story of the quest to find a worthy queen unfolds during the comedic musical which continues its run with 7 p.m. shows April 27 - 28 along with 3 p.m. performances on April 28 - 29 at 3655 W. Anthem Way, Suite B-119..
“It’s definitely a show where the audience will have some good laughs,” said Kimberly Woods, who plays Queen Aggravain. “All of the main characters are big, almost cartoonish in how over the top they are.”
Woods plays the domineering ruler of the kingdom to henpecked King Sextimus.
In the search for a bride for Prince Dauntless, the Queen, with the help of Madame Wizard, played by Janne Maitem, come up with a series of bizarre quiz questions that one after another stump potential brides.
Maitem, a Starlight veteran, said working with director Barbara Surloff almost assures a winner of a show. Surloff has directed more than 100 shows during a theater career which spans 38 years.
“Barb is a genius,” Maitem said. “She knows how to make people fit together to make a cast. I hadn’t thought about playing this role, but she talked to me about it and now I’m really glad she did. Barb gives people opportunities to grow. The kids in the cast are very talented and they really have worked on their characters.”
The show is a family affair
for Maitem, whose husband, daughter and son all are a part
of the cast as well.
No one in the kingdom is more anxious for the prince to be wed than Lady Larken, played by Janette Wyatt of New River.
Larken, involved in a romance, tells a flabbergasted Sir Harry that she is pregnant with his child.
“It’s a fun character to play,” Wyatt said. “She finds herself in a situation that I would never be in, but that’s the fun of playing a character.
You have to figure out what their emotions would be and try and bring those forward as though they were your own.”
In order to marry before her pregnancy becomes evident Sir Harry decides he must search out a worthy bride for the Prince.
Sir Harry is played by Mark Clemente, who recently directed In the Devil’s Frying Pan for Desert Foothills Theater.
“Acting is probably more fun than directing,” Clemente admitted. “I enjoy both, but this is less work. This character is very different. He’s very suave and sophisticated. All the characters are quirky which is what you expect from a fairy tale.”
Despite having a cast ranging in age from 10 to 55 Maitem said the chemistry is readily evident.
“We really play off of each other well,” she said.
Tickets for the show cost $15 for adults and $12 for
children. They can be purchased at or email
Starlight is asking those attending any of the shows to bring change as MidFirst Bank has offered to match up to $1,000 of donations made to Starlight Community Theater.