Drove out to Thousands Oaks today to see Once Upon a Mattress performed at the Civic Arts Center, presented by Cabrillo Music Theatre.
I find the farther north I go on the 101 between LA and Ventura, the more bizarre people become. Thousands Oaks is a half-oasis. The P.F. Chang’s looks like a fortress, a mini Caesar’s Palace. The Civic Arts center? Impressive. Another concrete fortress. Look at all the philanthropists’ money at work! There was even a reflecting pool with automated fountain jets. We arrived to an opening act in the plaza in front of the theater. The Children’s troupe was performing selections from the 2012-2013 season, including 1776, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, and Grease, belting their little hearts out in the heat.
The theater seats 1,800, and on a Saturday matinee of Once Upon a Mattress, was chiefly populated by young girls dressed in a whole range of princess outfits & tiaras, and the 60+ white-haired subscribers.
I pretty much loathe musicals. There’s something about dancing around speaking your thoughts and speaking exposition that is inexplicably, utterly ridiculous. But, my junior year of high school I played Winnifred in the musical, and I found that the scenes and songs are still burned in my memory. It’s the story of the Princess and the Pea, with a little sex and jazz mixed in. I modeled my vocal inflections and character quirks after Carol Burnett in the original Broadway production in 1959. Cabrillo’s production seemed to be meatier, a couple longer dance numbers, new verses in songs, and some scenes I didn’t recognize. Perhaps from the Sarah Jessica Parker revival from 1996. Beautiful costumes. So this is what a budget looks like, huh?
Then I realized it had been 10 years since I sang these songs, standing in a cerulean blue satin dress, with bleach blonde hair in pigtail braids. High school theater flashbacks. Hunched shoulders. People wearing black capes for fun. I definitely did not get all of the sex jokes way back when. Live and learn.