Three cast members of the Wagon Wheel Jr. production of “Princess Whatsername” pose for a photo Monday in the Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts lobby after an interview. Pictured (L to R) are Adria Jordan, Tanner Miller and Jordyn Leininger. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
Three cast members of the Wagon Wheel Jr. production of “Princess Whatsername” pose for a photo Monday in the Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts lobby after an interview. Pictured (L to R) are Adria Jordan, Tanner Miller and Jordyn Leininger. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
After 15 Wagon Wheel shows, this weekend’s Wagon Wheel Jr. production of “Princess Whatsername” is the last for 18-year-old Jordyn Leininger.

“I’m going out with a bang,” she said in an interview Monday. “I’ll be going on to college soon. Hopefully, I’ll be able to continue at my college doing theater and maybe even some professional shows. I’d love to do that. But this is going to be my last Wagon Wheel Jr. show, so there is sort of that sentimentality to it. I started doing Wagon Wheel shows when I was in fifth grade, so I’ve been doing this for a while.”

Leininger plays Princess in the musical comedy and is the oldest in the cast. The youngest in the cast is 10.

Show times are 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased through the website at; by phone at 574-267-8041 or 866-823-2618; or at the box office, 2515 E. Center St., Warsaw. .

Providing a synopsis of the show, Tanner Miller, 14, who plays Prince Revielle, and is appearing in his 16th or 17th Wagon Wheel show, said, “Princess Whatsername wakes up one day in the forest and she can’t remember anything, not even her name. And, it’s a fun musical where you follow Princess Whatsername, where she finds clues and she has flashbacks to her past, and towards the end she finally figures out what her name is and where she’s from. And she finds her parents and she finds her prince.”

Leininger said it’s a fractured fairy tale so the audience gets to meet “all these great characters, but in a different light and with a new twist. For example, I don’t think Hansel and Gretel ever met my character in their original story, but there’s new spins on it, there’s great new songs. It’s really fun to get to see your favorite characters in a new light.”

The young cast has only been practicing the musical for a week as of Monday. “We started rehearsals Jan. 19. It was Thursday, we just showed up and we don’t even know what part we’re playing when we show up. We show up, read the script for the first time, read some lines, sing a couple songs, the next day we find out who we are playing, learn all of our music that weekend. We have a week with our scripts and our characters and we’re expected to have it entirely memorized and putting it up this weekend,” Leininger said.

Miller said he grew up with Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts so it was his first theater experience. “But, as I start to branch out, I see that I memorize extremely quickly so Wagon Wheel is a perfect fit. I don’t need like a month or two as some high schools or other public theaters will do it,” he said.

“It’s one of the things that makes us a pre-professional program,” Leininger said. “We are very fast about putting shows on and on very well. It’s what we are teaching our young performers, that if they want to go on to Broadway they will have the skills to memorize quickly to be able to do a show.”

Adria Jordan, 15, plays Gretel. This weekend’s show is her 11th at the Wagon Wheel.

Though Jordan, Leininger and Miller aren’t new to the Wagon Wheel, Leininger said they do have several kids in this weekend’s production who are performing in their first-ever Wagon Wheel Jr. show or Wagon Wheel show at all.

“It’s really great to see how they’re expanding their skills as a performer and really just coming into their own. It’s great to see,” Leininger stated.

As for the music in the show, she said there’s a little bit of everything. “We have a rap number for Rumpelstiltskin. We have a very classical ballad that I get to sing. There’s a salsa/tango-inspired number called ‘Love at First Bite’ for Hansel and Gretel. There is a very fun hardcore country-style song called ‘Cut from the Same Cloth’ that I think has some of the best choreography in the show. And, of course, there is a really, really fun ominous piece that is very stagnant and it’s called ‘Flashing Back Again’ when we get to see some of the memories come back. And, of course, we sum it all up together with the epilogue ‘Princess Whatsername,’” Leininger said.

Jordan said her favorite song in the show is “Whose Prince Are You Anyway?” because the choreography is “just basically comedy and it’s really fun to watch.”

Leininger agreed, saying there’s a prince in the show who can’t help but keep saving people. Miller said that’s his character.

“This is my first male lead. It’s just been very fun to learn how to play a male lead and learn how to be princely because I’ve never had to do that,” he said. “You definitely need to be physically and mentally strong. You have to show that no matter what comes your way, you can get past it and just have to overcome every high and low.”

Leininger said “Princess Whatsername” is a fun show for the whole family.

“There definitely are jokes that will go over kids’ heads, I’d say, but there are several things the kids will enjoy, the parents will enjoy. There’s jokes for the kids. There’s a lot of physical humor, a lot of slapstick comedy that I think is great. It’s very lighthearted,” Leininger said.