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Once Upon a Mattress Auditions


April 2nd & 3rd – 6:00 pm - 8 p.m.

April 7th - 5:30-9:00 pm

Hays Community Theatre - 121 E 8th Street - Hays, Kansas

Hays Community Theatre announces auditions for the upcoming summer musical,

Once Upon a Mattress.

Music by Mary Rodgers; Book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller,
and Marshall Barer; Lyrics by Marshall Barer.

Director Paul English; Music Director Nathan Leiker.

Performance Dates

July 25, 26, 27, 2024

Beach Schmidt Performing Arts Center


Open call auditions for all characters will be on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 2nd and 3rd from 6-8 pm and Sunday, April 7th from 5:30-9pm.  Remote auditions via Zoom can be scheduled by contacting the Director at Those interested will be asked to fill out an online audition form found here.  They should also submit a headshot of their choice to accompany this form (emailed to Those unable to fill out this form in advance, can fill it out at the audition as well and a headshot taken there. Callbacks will be on Tuesday, April 9th after 6:00; those actors being asked back will be contacted and arrangements made to appear at this callback date.

All roles are open to all actors; casting considered for ages 10 and older.


Rehearsals begin Sunday, June 2nd. Regular rehearsals will be on Sunday thru Thursday evenings (depending on actor availability).  

Performances are from July 25th through July 27th. Auditions and rehearsals (until the last week before performance) will be held at Hays Community Theatre, 121 E. 8th St., Hays, KS.  Dress rehearsals and performances will be held in Beach Schmidt Performing Arts Center, Sheridan Hall on the campus of Fort. Hays State University.


For the audition, you are required to sing a selection of a song that is around 16-32 measures long. If it runs too long, the directors may cut you off before you finish. The selection may be from any song. The directors have provided four selections (linked below) for you that you may choose from if you would like. Regardless of your choice, the piece must be sung without accompaniment (a cappella). 

(Click the links for the sheet music and audition scripts)

  • For “The Simple Joys of Maidenhood,” please sing the entire provided selection, suggested for a soprano voice. 

  • For “The Beast in You,” please start at the black line with, “the scene is darkest…” and take the repeat. This is suggested for an alto voice. 

  • For “There but For You Go I,” please start at the black line with, “I saw a man…” and stop at the end of the second line on the second page marked with another black line. This is suggested for a tenor voice.

  • For “Real Live Girl,” please start at the first words, “pardon me miss…” and end at the black line after “real live girl.” This is suggested for a Baritone voice.


Character Breakdown for Once Upon a Mattress:

  • Minstrel – character is male, but can be played by any gender.  A storyteller and musician who makes their way as an entertainer in the royal court. Their talent is to observe the ongoings of the kingdom and turn typical events into rich stories worthy of fairytale lore. They are a charming but also trustworthy narrator. This Minstrel is more crooner or follies headliner, than a renaissance singer. 

  • Queen Aggravain – character is female.  She is quite fabulous in her own way but her narcissistic tendencies are her downfall. Her inflexibility and insensitivity has hampered her ability to be a leader, a matriarch, and a spouse. But she wasn’t always like that. Desperate to control everything within her realm, she cannot see past her own predetermined set of values and vision for the future of her only son. She has a flair for the dramatic and is quite comfortable as an incidental villain because she believes that she is always right.

  • Wizard – character is male, but can be played by any gender. Decades ago, the Wizard left the world of entertainment for a more secure job at the royal palace. They are very good at their job but have been relegated to an underling position, completing tasks for the Queen at her command. Their loyalty to the Queen has made them a bit of an outcast from the rest of the kingdom. One wonders if The Wizard is starting to question the career choices they made.

  • King Sextimus – character is male. The King is a loving father and a kind man, beloved by his subjects, and friendly with his employees (the Jester and the Minstrel). Because of his goodhearted nature, it seems clear that, at one time, he was in a very happy marriage with the Queen before things changed; as a romantic, he would not have married her otherwise. Due to a magical curse, the King is unable to speak. In this production, his non-verbal status will not make him unintelligible or ridiculous. Instead, much of his comedy comes from his clever use of sign language and his assistive communication device.

  • Jester – character is male, but can be played by any gender; actor should be able to tap. Coming from a long line of performers, the Jester has effortless talent, grace, and comic timing. They have become a natural duo with the Minstrel, making life in the royal court enjoyable. It is a telling character trait that the Jester is the King’s most trusted companion and fully fluent in the King’s different versions of communication.

  • Prince Dauntless – character is male. Prince Dauntless is sensitive, kind, and gentle, much to his mother’s dismay. He is a romantic and hopes for true love, probably having imagined it since he was a little boy. As his name suggests, he is intrinsically brave and determined, but he can’t quite get out from under his mother’s overbearing assumptions of what his life should be. He is in no way a man-child or nebbish, he just hasn’t found a way to stand in his power yet.

  • Princess Winnifred – character is female. Winnifred breaks the princess mold. She grew up in a kingdom that didn’t privilege the normative and therefore is fully comfortable and confident being exactly who she is, regardless of whether or not she “fits in.” Her strength, bravery, and generosity makes her a natural leader. But Fred is also vulnerable because what she wants more than anything is to find a romantic partner who shares her belief in love and her outlook on life.

  • Sir Harry – character is male. Harry is one of the most accomplished knights in the kingdom. He is dependable, industrious, and determined. And he is head over heels in love with Lady Larken. He is the kind of fella who can sweep you off your feet with a big romantic gesture and can be counted on to follow it up with stability and fulfilled promises.

  • Lady Larken – character is female. Larken is clever, self-sufficient, and plucky. This is the gal you want as a best friend because she is unwavering in her love but also will call you out on your nonsense. She doesn’t need a significant other to fulfill her or to make her life complete, so you know that her devotion to Harry is because she is truly, deeply in love with him.

  • Ensemble – additional performers to portray additional characters, perform in all group numbers. Ensemble members include (but are not limited to) the following roles: Princess #12, Sir Studley, Sir Luce, Lady Rowena, Lady Merrill, Lady Lucille, Emily, Lady Mabelle, and all other characters with individual lines. 

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