APRIL 2019
Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

‘Once Upon a Mattress’ Kept Audiences in Stitches

Demarest, NJ: Three rollicking performances of “Once Upon a Mattress” kept audiences at the Academy of the Holy Angels laughing and singing along with the gifted cast.

Princess Winnifred (Gabrielle Layne) instantly connected with the crowd when she appeared atop the castle wall, indecorously expelling moat water from her mouth. Winnifred, “Fred” for short, continued to entertain with her down-to-earth comments, notable weight lifting ability, and willingness to study minutia to win her Prince Dauntless (Robert Buhrmeister of Pearl River High).

For most of the play, Dauntless remains under the thumb of his overbearing mother, Queen Aggravain (Valentina Zazzali), who devises ridiculously difficult tests for prospective princesses. As he plans for his own royal wedding, Dauntless stands up to the queen, thereby releasing his father, King Sextimus (Justin Del Valle of Leonia Humanities Academy), from the spell that had kept the monarch silent for years.

Lady Larken (Rianna LeHane) and Sir Harry (Luke Berninger of Saint Joseph Regional High School) made a delightful couple. Their on-stage romance included charming renditions of “In a Little While” and “Yesterday I Loved You.”

Minstrel (Nick Gallucci of Paramus High) brought everyone up to date by singing expository pieces like “Many Moons Ago.” Jester (Marissa Dellapi) was a standout in her song and dance routines, particularly “Very Soft Shoes.”

Members of the cast included Patsy Coleman, Emily McKiernan, Emily Stanzione, Jenna Cooperman, Lola Samiian, Emma Coughlin, and Saint Joseph High School students Jack Piccirillo and Ross Foothorap. The ensemble included Liana Akos, Will Anderson (Bergen Catholic), Olivia Lopez, Deanna Frassa, Valeria Gonzalez, Shirley Made, Madison Picca, Emilie Thomas, and Matt Webb (SJR).

Award-winning Director Katie McSherry-Collins brought the crowd-pleasing show to the stage with the able assistance of Student Director Joanna Scorese. AHA’s production was presented through a special arrangement with the Rodgers and Hammerstein Theatre Library.

Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious high school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds. Over time, thousands of women have passed through AHA’s portals. Many go on to study at some of the nation’s best universities, earning high-ranking positions in medicine, government, law, education, public service, business, arts, and athletics. The Academy’s current leaders continue to further the SSND mission to provide each student with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially, and physically, by offering a first-rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity, and service to others.


Academy of the Holy Angels

315 Hillside Avenue Contact Us & Driving Directions

Demarest, NJ 07627

Phone: 201.768.7822

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