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Colorado Quarterly Magazine 

"Rewriting the Myths, Redefining the Realities"


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The Physically Handicapped Amateur Musical Actors League (PHAMALy) Presents the Hilarious Musical Fairy Tale, ONCE UPON A MATTRESS

The Physically Handicapped Amateur Musical Actors League (PHAMALy) presents a wacky musical spin on a classic fairy tale with ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, playing July 19-Aug. 4 in the Space Theatre at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

This once-upon-a-time farce was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA. Carried on a wave of wonderful songs, which turn from hilarious and raucous to romantic and melodic, this rollicking spin on the familiar classic tale of royal courtship and comeuppance provides for some sidesplitting shenanigans with a cast full of crazy, wacky, fun characters.

Director Steve Wilson plans to reinvent the notion of fairy tales with PHAMALy’s production of ONCE UPON A MATTRESS. 

“I hope we’ll be able to get audiences to rethink their long-time notions of fairy tales,” Wilson said. “Who’s to say that Cinderella wasn’t in a wheel chair? Or that Prince Charming didn’t have spina bifida?”

One of the unique and exciting technical components of PHAMALy’s production is the use of wheelchairs. The king, queen and knight are all played by actors in wheelchairs. Their sets and props will be incorporated into these devices. The king and queen’s thrones are built on their wheelchairs and will travel with them as they traverse the stage. The knight’s horse will be part of her chair, making for a knight like no audience has ever seen before.

PHAMALy’s mission is to enable physically-challenged performers to showcase their talents and abilities and to make the performing arts more accessible. As a not-for-profit, membership organization, PHAMALy is dedicated to producing traditional theater in nontraditional ways. Since its origination in 1989, PHAMALy has gained national recognition and received numerous awards including the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and Westword’s Best Musical for the regional premiere of SIDE SHOW.

PHAMALy’s production of ONCE UPON A MATTRESS runs in the Space Theatre (located in the Denver Performing Arts Complex at 14th and Curtis Streets in downtown Denver) July19-Aug. 4 with performances Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 with discounts for seniors, students, groups and PHAMALy members. An audio-described performance (with services for visually impaired audience members) is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 4, and the show will be sign-language-interpreted for deaf audience members on Sunday, July 28. 

Tickets can be purchased by calling 303-893-4100, by going online to or by visiting the Denver Center ticket counter Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Groups purchasing ten or more tickets should call 303-863-0468. 

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