Musical theater makes its return to the mainstage

Grove City College’s Theatre Program presents its first main stage musical in two years, “Once Upon a Mattress” at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 to 6 in Ketler Auditorium of the Pew Fine Arts Center on campus.

The hit Broadway musical “Once Upon a Mattress” is a comedic retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s 1835 fairy tale, “The Princess and the Pea.” The show – with lyrics by Marshall Barer and music by Mary Rodgers – features classic, well-loved numbers such as “Shy” and “Man to Man Talk.”

The show is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Reserve tickets online at or by emailing

The show is directed by Betsy J. Craig ’77, professor of English and Theatre at the College.

“When we were deciding on our musical for this fall, it was difficult because we didn’t know exactly where we would be in terms of Covid. But I knew that if we were going to be able to do a musical, I wanted to produce a ‘big’ show,” said Craig. “It was important to do a show that was ensemble-based and had a strong element of dance and movement. I also wanted to do a show that had feature roles for a number of people and wasn’t dependent on only one or two. Finally, I wanted a show that was fun to perform! My high hope is that if we do it right, we can give our audience a crazy good time!” 

“Once Upon a Mattress” is Grove City’s first main stage musical since the coronavirus pandemic closed campus in March 2020. For many students in the cast, this marks a long-awaited return to the stage.

“I feel incredibly grateful to be performing again,” said freshman Mary Margaret Bargery ’25 of Alexandria, Va., who portrays the lead role of Winnifred the Woebegone. “After nearly two years without theater, it is a singular blessing to be back on stage. I think many of us return with a new appreciation for doing what we love. ‘Once Upon a Mattress,’ in particular, has been a blast to perform. It’s upbeat songs and lighthearted humor have created a lively environment for the cast, and I believe that’s what will make this show such a joy to watch!”

Musical theater makes its return to the mainstage

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