Wednesday, Feb 27 2013 10:12 AM

Students ready to take a bow

By The Bakersfield Californian

BHS: "Once Upon a Mattress"

7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and March 8 and 9; Bakersfield High School, Harvey Auditorium, 1241 G St.; $10 general admission/students; $5 children under 12; 324-9841

The Bakersfield High Theatre Department is going for a fairy-tale feel this year for the spring musical, "Once Upon a Mattress," the musical version of the children's tale "The Princess and the Pea."

Prince Dauntless is looking for a real princess to marry, and his mother, Queen Aggravain, will go to any lengths to help her son. When Princess Winnifred walks into his life, the queen devises a test to determine whether she truly is a princess: Winnifred must sleep on a stack of mattresses to see if she can feel a hidden pea.

"It's the story that you know and love as a fairytale," said Jacquie Thompson-Mercer, BHS director of theater. "It's full of songs and dances ... and fun."

Featured players : Steven Garner as Prince Dauntless; Cassidy Fraley as Princess Winnifred; and Alice Verderber as Queen Aggravain.

-- Rebecca Nelson, BHS student

Liberty: "The Diviners"

7:30 p.m. tonight, Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Saturday (with the understudy cast); Liberty High School Performing Arts Center, 925 Jewetta Ave.; $6.

The Liberty High School Theatre Department will present Jim Leonard's gothic prairie tragedy "The Diviners."

Set in the mythical town of Zion in the 1930s, "The Diviners" tells the story of charismatic CC Showers, a disillusioned preacher who drifts into town looking for work. While telling all who care to listen that he has "given up on preachin'," he meets 14-year-old Buddy Layman, whose tragic near-drowning has left him brain-damaged. Buddy is a gentle but misunderstood boy who has developed the gift of divining, or water-witching. The two outcasts find a common bond and help each other divine for truth, faith and hope.

Assistant director Sarah Armitage sees "The Diviners" as a "really powerful piece; a play that makes people question their own mortality."

Featured players : David Dellica as Buddy Layman; Chance Johnsen as CC Showers; Bria Jensen as Buddy's sister Jennie Mae; Zach Woolpert as Buddy's father, Ferris Layman; Kristopher Porter as Basil; Caitlin Wolfenstein as Luella; Hannah Schill as Goldie Short; and Caylista Hillan, Jessica Jellie, Evan Amason and Cameron Manning portray the colorful characters who inhabit Zion.

-- Hannah Schill, Liberty student

Stockdale: "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night"

7 p.m. tonight, Friday, Saturday and March 7, 8, 9; Stockdale High School Theatre, 2800 Buena Vista Road; $10; $8 students

"It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" is a two-act spoof of the murder mystery plays written in the 1920s. The production takes all the cliches of a good mystery and displays them for the audience's enjoyment.

The play is about a family called the Saltmarshes who own an old inn and tavern called the Olde Wayside Inn in Gloucester, Mass. The inn has very few visitors because of the family's bizarre behavior. The madness begins when Ebenezer Saltmarsh decides to seek revenge on Effie, the woman who left him at the altar, by running an ad in the local newspaper requesting a nurse to attend to an "unusual patient."

Director and theater teacher CJ Pope said the show is a can't-miss farce.

"I am so proud of the cast, crew and people that came together to create this funny story about a whole lot of crazy people -- please don't miss this show. It is special."

Featured players : Zach Noriega as Uncle Silas; Mark Adame as Ebenezer; Avery Bookout as Hepzibah; and Kaylee Rundle as Arabella.

-- Kaylee Rundle, Liberty student

East: "Legally Blonde: The Musical"

7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and March 8 and 9; East Bakersfield High School Auditorium, 2200 Quincy St.; $8; 871-7221

"Legally Blonde: The Musical" will premiere Friday at East Bakersfield High School, but unlike other musicals in town this show features two dogs from the Mount Vernon Animal Shelter.

"Legally Blonde: The Musical" focuses on the life of Elle Woods as she follows the love of her life to Harvard Law School. Elle is the owner of a little Chihuahua, Bruiser, played in the EBHS production by a loving Chihuahua whose name also is Bruiser.

Bruiser has been at the animal shelter since September until he was fostered for the play by my mom and me. The other dog, Paisley, will be playing Rufus, who is owned by the character Paulette in the show. Both dogs have no theater experience, so this is new for them, but they are learning quickly what it takes to be a part of our theater family! At the end of every show, the dogs will be brought out and it will be announced that both are up for adoption.

Part of the money made from the show will go back to the shelter to support all of the animals that need homes.

Featured players: Alex Burdick as Elle Woods; Vicente Arias as Emmett Forrest; Paul Robinson as Warner Huntington III; Kyle Gaines as Professor Callahan; April Toelle as Vivienne Kensington; Julie Verrell as Paulette Buonofuonte; and Cassidy Nelson as Brooke Wyndam.

-- April Toelle, East student

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