FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM DECEMBER 26, 2019 • BUZZ • THE QUEENS COURIER 47
Photo courtesy of the Queens Theatre
Deaf and hard of hearing actors perform
‘Once Upon a Mattress’ at the Queens Theatre
BY JENNA BAGCAL
Dozens of students put on a special performance
of ‘Once Upon a Mattress’ at the
Queens Th eatre, which combined the talents
of deaf and hard of hearing actors.
Th e Dec. 11 and 12 productions included
more than 40 actors from Lexington
School for the Deaf and the Repertory
Company High School for Th eatre Arts.
Students doubled up on roles to present
the musical in both American Sign
Language and spoken and sung English.
“Th is is not two high schools onstage,
this is one company,” Director Jared R.
Lopatin wrote in the show’s playbill. “You
are not seeing deaf students act and hearing
students interpret for them. You are
seeing one cast performing for you.”
Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s
“Th e Princess and the Pea,” “Once Upon
a Mattress” tells the comedic story of a
far off kingdom where a prince longs to
marry. His mother, the queen, refuses him
to marry anyone who is not a “true princess”
and prohibits anyone in the kingdom
from marrying until he does.
Every princess who comes to marry the
prince has failed the queen’s royal tests.
Until one day, a special princess comes
along and the queen tries to thwart her
chances to marry her son.
Lopatin is a digital media teacher at
Lexington and has been directing the
school’s drama club shows for several
years. Under his direction, actors have
performed in Shakespeare, farce and even
a production of “You’re a Good Man
But he has wanted to put together a collaboration
between deaf and hard of hearing
students for some time.
“It’s been a dream of mine to see Deaf
and hearing actors working together to
create something magical,” Lopatin said.
“We do not live in a vacuum. Th eatre,
especially, cannot happen alone. So, we
share our cultures, our languages, our
viewpoints, all while working toward a
Th is collaboration and message of inclusion
was also important to the Queens
Th eatre, which launched Th eatre to All in
2017. Th e program’s purpose is to advance
disability inclusion in the performing arts.
“We are thrilled we got to work with
this amazing cast on this show,” Queens
Theatre Executive Director Taryn
Sacramone said. “It was an amazing show.
And we are looking forward to working
with the Lexington School for the Deaf on
Th e theater, located in the heart of
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, is fully
wheelchair accessible, including entryways,
theater spaces, and restrooms.
Each year, 60,000 New York City residents
and visitors participate in the
Queens Th eatre’s programming. Th e theater
off ers more than 300 performances
and theater, dance and musical programs
and has also supported the development
of more than 150 plays by emerging,
40 deaf and hearing students acted in ‘Once Upon a Mattress’ on Dec. 11 and 12
Courtesy of Lexington School for the Deaf