Grace Ozello as Winnifred and Joe Goltl as Dauntless rehearse a scene from “G2K: Once Upon a Mattress.”

Theater season starts Sept. 13 in the Council Bluffs-Omaha area. There are three shows — all musicals — that open that day: “Annie” at Omaha Community Playhouse, “Catch Me if You Can” at Bellevue Little Theatre and — perhaps most importantly — “G2K Once Upon a Mattress,” the Children’s Theatre Production at Chanticleer Community Theater, 830 Franklin Ave.

The Chanticleer Children’s Theater production is a shortened version of the 1959 Broadway hit “Once Upon a Mattress.” It’s perfect for a young audience to get hooked on musical theater. Directing the show is Denise Putman, who has directed the Children’s Theater Productions for many years. The musical director for the show is Jerry Gray. He has also done this show for many years. Jason Delong is the choreographer and Beth Rutz is stage manager for the production. Bob Putman is technical director and set designer. Rob Meyers is the sound designer; Joey Lorincz is the lighting designer; Julie Twohig is the properties designer; and Carrie Pope and Tracy Ozzello are in charge of costume design.

The story of “Once Upon a Mattress” is based on a story by Hans Christian Anderson called “The Princess and the Pea.” It is a fairytale about a prince who is seeking a princess to marry. He is having difficulty in finding the right mate. He wants someone who is attractive and is very sensitive. One way to find her is to put a pea under her mattresses. Surely, if she can feel the pea under all of those mattresses, she is extremely sensitive (mind you, Anderson wrote this in 1835).

Gray has more than 20 songs to teach his youth actors. Those songs include: “Many Moons Ago,” “Shy,” “ Sensitivity,” “The Swamps of Home,” “Happily Ever After,” “ Song of Love,” “Spanish Panic,” “Quiet” and “Six O’Clock in the Morning.”

Forty-one youth actors are performing in this musical for all ages: Grace Ozzello is Winnifred; Joe Goltl is Prince Dauntless; Gracie Clark is the Queen; and Dean Pope is the King. Also in the cast are: Brooke Attebury is Lady Larken; Atticus Walker is Sir Harry; Riley Pope is the Jester; Natalie Simons is as the Minstrel; and Guy Shipley as the Wizard. Others in the large cast include: Aaron Adkins, Rileigh Benson, Isabella Bohnert, Caroline Bowerman, Walter Cady, Steven Dickerson, Grace Garrigan, Sophia Gochenour, Heidi Goodrich, Gavin Helm, Kyrstin Holmes, Alexa Johnson, Claire Lewis, Abagail Lewis, Evie Mae Loeffelholz, Chloe Perfect, Annabelle Peterson, Chloe Pryor, Nicholas Pudys, Xander Redden, Kaylee Simons, Ben Smith, Timmy Studer, Lydia Swartz, Piper Trescott, Lilli Towhig, Brodie Urwin, Presley Urwin, Riley Walter, Zane Walter and Macy Wilson.

The really nice thing about Children’s Theater at Chanticleer is the participation of families. The green room in the basement of the theater has many family volunteers working the show.

“G2K Once Upon a Mattress” opens Sept. 13 and runs weekends through Sept. 29. Curtain times are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 2 p.m. Sundays.

Ticket prices are $25 for adults; $20 for seniors; and $15 for students and children. Call the box office at 712-323-9955 or email

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