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Encyclopedia > Once Upon a Mattress
Once Upon a Mattress
Original Cast Recording
Music Mary Rodgers
Lyrics Marshall Barer
Book Jay Thompson
Marshall Barer
Dean Fuller
Based upon Fairy tale The Princess and the Pea
Productions 1959 Broadway
1960 US Tour
1960 West End
1964 U.S. Television
1972 U.S. Television
1996 Broadway revival
2005 U.S. Television

Once Upon a Mattress is a musical comedy that opened off-Broadway on May 11, 1959, and then moved to Broadway. The play was written as an adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Princess and the Pea. The show's music was written by Mary Rodgers with lyrics by Marshall Barer and book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshall Barer. Image File history File links OnceUponAMattress. ... Mary Rodgers (born January 11, 1931) is a composer of musicals, an author of childrens books, and daughter of Richard Rodgers. ... A fairy tale is a story, either told to children or as if told to children, concerning the adventures of mythical characters such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, giants, and others. ... Image by Edmund Dulac from Stories from Hans Andersen Cover of a modern Danish edition of The Princess and the Pea (Prindsessen paa Ærten is Prinsessen på ærten in modern ortograhpy) The Princess and the Pea is a Danish fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, first published in 1835 and... Year 1959 (MCMLIX) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses of Broadway, see Broadway. ... Year 1960 (MCMLX) was a leap year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1960 (MCMLX) was a leap year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... West End theatre is a popular term for mainstream professional theatre in London, England, or sometimes more specifically for shows staged in the large theatres of Londons Theatreland. Along with New Yorks Broadway theatre, West End theatre is usually considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre... Also Nintendo emulator: 1964 (emulator). ... Year 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full 1996 Gregorian calendar). ... For other uses of Broadway, see Broadway. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Musical theater (or theatre) is a form of theatre combining music, songs, dance, and spoken dialogue. ... A comedy is a dramatic performance of a light and amusing character, usually with a happy conclusion to its plot. ... Off-Broadway plays or musicals are performed in New York City in smaller theatres than Broadway, but larger than Off-Off-Broadway, productions. ... is the 131st day of the year (132nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1959 (MCMLIX) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses of Broadway, see Broadway. ... For other uses, see Hans Christian Andersen (disambiguation). ... A fairy tale is a story, either told to children or as if told to children, concerning the adventures of mythical characters such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, giants, and others. ... Image by Edmund Dulac from Stories from Hans Andersen Cover of a modern Danish edition of The Princess and the Pea (Prindsessen paa Ærten is Prinsessen på ærten in modern ortograhpy) The Princess and the Pea is a Danish fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, first published in 1835 and... Mary Rodgers (born January 11, 1931) is a composer of musicals, an author of childrens books, and daughter of Richard Rodgers. ...


"Once Upon a Mattress" was first written as a shorter play at the Tamiment adult summer camp resort, at which Jack Sydow was present.[1] The play was later expanded for the Broadway stage, Initial reviews of the play were mixed, but critics and actors alike were surprised by the show's enduring popularity.


Once Upon a Mattress is a popular choice for high school drama programs and community theatre groups. This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...

Contents

Productions

The original production opened in May 1959 at the off-Broadway Phoenix Theatre (now closed, located on the lower East Side), transferred later in the year to Broadway at the Alvin Theatre (now named the Neil Simon Theatre) and then to several other Broadway theaters, finally playing at the St. James Theatre, for a total run of 460 performances. The musical was directed by George Abbott and choreographed by Joe Layton. Once Upon A Mattress marked the Broadway debut of later stage and TV legend Carol Burnett, who originated the role of Princess Winnifred. Also featured were Joseph Bova, Allen Case, Jack Gilford, Anne Jones, Matt Mattox, and Harry Snow. Jane White played the role of Queen Aggravain, becoming the first African-American actress to portray a white character on the Broadway stage. Jack Sydow played King Sextimus The Silent. The play was nominated for the Tony Awards for Best Musical, and Best Leading Actress (Carol Burnett). Off-Broadway plays or musicals are performed in New York City in smaller theatres than Broadway, but larger than Off-Off-Broadway, productions. ... For other uses of Broadway, see Broadway. ... The Neil Simon Theatre is a Broadway theatre located at 250 West 52nd Street in midtown-Manhattan. ... The St. ... George Abbott (June 25, 1887 - January 31, 1995) was a theatre producer and director, playwright, screenwriter, and film director and producer whose career spanned more than seven decades. ... Joe Layton (May 3, 1931 - May 5, 1994) was a Tony Award-winning American director and choreographer known primarily for his work on Broadway. ... Carol Creighton Burnett (born April 26, 1933 in San Antonio, Texas) is an Emmy Award-winning actress, comedian, singer, dancer, and writer. ... This article, image, template or category should belong in one or more categories. ... Jack Gilford Jack Gilford (July 25, 1908 – June 2, 1990) was an American actor with a long and successful career on the Broadway stage, films and television. ... Matt Mattox is a jazz and ballet dancer who appeared as the third oldest brother, Caleb Pontipee, in the movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. ... What is popularly called the Tony Award (formally, the Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre) is an annual award celebrating achievements in live American theater, including musical theater, primarily honoring productions on Broadway in New York. ... // 1940s 1949 Kiss Me, Kate - Music and lyrics by Cole Porter, book by Bella and Samuel Spewack. ... The Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical is awarded to the actress who was voted as the best actress in a musical, whether a new production or a revival. ...


In August 1960, soon after the closing of the Broadway run, rehearsals were called for a seven-month US tour which would move from city to city by train, truck and bus. Jack Sydow stepped from his role as King into the position of Director. Dody Goodman played Winnifred at first, then Imogene Coca picked up the role. Carol Arthur understudied them both, and played the Nightingale of Samarkand.[2] Fritzi Burr played the Queen and Buster Keaton played the King. Keaton's wife Eleanor was placed in the chorus. Keaton warmed up to the cast of younger actors, dispensing grandfatherly advice and chocolates freely.[3] Dolores Goodman (born October 28, 1915, in Columbus, Ohio) is an American television actress. ... Imogene Coca (November 18, 1908 - June 2, 2001) was an American comic actress. ... Joseph Francis Kieran Keaton (October 4, 1895 – February 1, 1966) was an Academy Award-winning American silent film comic actor and filmmaker. ...


A London production of Once Upon a Mattress opened in September 1960 at the Adelphi Theatre and ran for one month.[4] This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... The Adam brothers Adelphi Buildings in an 18th-century print; the terrace stood upon riverfront warehousing. ...


A Broadway revival starred Sarah Jessica Parker, Lewis Cleale, and Jane Krakowski. It opened on December 19, 1996 at the Broadhurst Theatre and ran for 188 performances. The production was nominated for the 1997 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. Sarah Jessica Parker (born March 25, 1965) is an American actress and producer, with a portfolio of television, movie, and theater performances. ... Lewis Cleale is an American theatre actor and singer. ... Jane Krakowski (née Krajkowski, born October 11, 1968 in Parsippany, New Jersey) is a Tony Award-winning American actress and singer. ... is the 353rd day of the year (354th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full 1996 Gregorian calendar). ... The Broadhurst Theatre, 2006. ... The Tony Award for Best Revival (Musical) has been awarded since 1994. ...


Television adaptations

The first television adaptation was aired on June 3, 1964 on CBS. The film was shot in black and white and featured most of the original Broadway cast. This article is about the broadcast network. ...


The second television adaptation was broadcast on December 12, 1972 on CBS. The television movie, filmed in color, included many members of the original cast (including Burnett and White) and also featured Bernadette Peters as Lady Larken, Jack Gilford as King Sextimus, and Ken Berry as Prince Dauntless. In the movie, several songs were eliminated and characters were cut or altered (including a prologue sequence with Burnett playing a storyteller). This article is about the broadcast network. ... Bernadette Peters (born February 28, 1948) is an American actress and singer. ... Jack Gilford Jack Gilford (July 25, 1908 – June 2, 1990) was an American actor with a long and successful career on the Broadway stage, films and television. ... Kenneth Ronald Ken Berry (born November 3, 1933, in Moline, Illinois) is an American dancer, and comedic actor. ...


The third television version, which aired on December 18, 2005 on ABC in the US and was released on DVD two days later, starred Carol Burnett as Queen Aggravain, Denis O'Hare as Prince Dauntless, Tom Smothers as King Sextimus, Tracey Ullman as Princess Winnifred, Zooey Deschanel as Lady Larken, and Matthew Morrison as Sir Harry. The Minstrel was cut from this version, negating and also cutting most of the songs featuring the Minstrel except Normandy, which was changed to describe Larken's and Sir Harry's honeymoon. There were also additional plot changes. The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) is an American television network. ... Carol Creighton Burnett (born April 26, 1933 in San Antonio, Texas) is an Emmy Award-winning actress, comedian, singer, dancer, and writer. ... Denis OHare (born January 17, 1962 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA) is a Tony Award-winning actor. ... Tom Smothers (born February 2, 1937) is an American comedian, composer and musician from New York, New York. ... Tracey Ullman (born December 30, 1959) is a English comedian, actress, singer, dancer, screenwriter, and author, who is most famous for being the host of her eponymous variety television show. ... Zooey Claire Deschanel (born January 17, 1980) is an American actress and singer. ... Matthew James Morrison (b. ...


Plot synopsis

Once Upon a Mattress takes place in a fictional medieval kingdom ruled by the devious Queen Aggravaine and the mute King Sextimus the Silent. King Sextimus suffers from a curse that can only be reversed "when the mouse devours the hawk." As the show opens,(Many Moons Ago) the populace of the castle complains about an unjust law levied by Queen Aggravaine. She is testing Princess #12; to the queen's delight, the princess misses the last question ("What was the middle name of the daughter-in-law of the best friend of the blacksmith who forged the sword that killed the beast [the dragon killed by St. George]?") and is given a dead bird. The law states that no one may wed until the Prince, Dauntless the Drab, first marries ("throughout the land no one may wed, 'till Dauntless down the alter led") . However, every petitioning princess is sent away after failing an unfair test devised by the Queen. It seems that no one is good enough to marry Prince Dauntless. (Opening for A Princess)


The crisis escalates when the leading knight of the realm, Sir Harry, discovers that his girlfriend, Lady Larken, is pregnant. Facing great embarrassment and loss of his station, Sir Harry embarks on a quest to find the last princess in the realm. (In A Little While) He soon returns with Princess Winnifred the Woebegone, a brash, unrefined, and muscular princess from the marshlands. She immediately charms Dauntless and most of the townspeople. (Shy) However, she also succeeds in offending the Queen, who vows to find a way to stop her.


The Queen, assisted by her Wizard sidekick, quickly designs Winnifred's secret "test." They will place a tiny pea beneath twenty thick downy mattresses. If Winnifred is unable to sleep due to the pea, then she will be sensitive enough to marry Dauntless. (Sensitivity) Later, the king pantomimes to the Minstrel and the Jester that Larkin is pregnant, he tells them to not say a word, but they both are more worried about the king saying something, because even though he's mute, he can still communicate. (The Minstrel, the Jester, and I).


Meanwhile, Winnifred tells Dauntless and the ladies in waiting about her home in the swamp (Swamps of Home). Then, after spilling a flower vase, Winnifred is caught cleaning the mess by Lady Larken who mistakes her for a chambermaid. Soon Harry gets mad at Larken for her mistake and they get in a fight. Larken vows that she'll run far far away where she'll never see him again.


Then The king, the Minstrel and the Jester catch Larkin trying to run away, and they all try to stop her (Normandy). Later that night, the queen throws a ball so Winnifred can dance the (Spanish Panic.)The wicked Queen hopes that Winnifred will tire herself to sleep, but the plan fails. Winnifred is the last one standing as everyone collapses with exhast at the song's climax. Dauntless admits that he loves Winnifred, who mentions that her nickname is Fred (Song of Love.)


During the late night, the Queen leads the knights and ladies to carry the twenty mattress to Fred's room (Quiet), while Fred and Dauntless study for the test, and Fred convinces Larken to fix things with Harry. Larken leaves to find Harry, Dauntless bids Fred goodnight, and now she is left alone. While studying a fairytale, she complains about how other fairy tale princess' had it easy and how she want's to live (Happily Ever After.) Later, Dauntless and King Sextimus have a (Man to Man Talk) about the birds and the bees, while the Jester and Minstrel trick the Wizard into telling them of the test (The Potion) and the Jester reminisces about his father's dancing days (Very Soft Shoes).


Sir Harry and Lady Larken run into each other and they confess that their love is stronger than ever (Yesterday I Loved You.) When Fred finally takes the test, the queen brings in the Nightengale of Samarkand to sing her to sleep (Nightengale Lullabye) but Winnifred cannot fall asleep. It seems that there is some "lump" under the mattresses that is keeping her from relaxing.


She drowsily confronts the Queen the next morning, but Aggravaine insists that the test was rigged. Dauntless tells Aggravaine to "shut up," and the curse on King Sextimus is lifted (the "mouse," or Dauntless, thus devours the "hawk," or Aggravaine). Aggravaine discovers that she cannot talk, and Dauntless and Winnifred are free to be married. The Wizard falls for the King's charm and wit, and leaves the poor Queen hopelessly hopping and skipping on stage. (Finale)


In the final seconds of the play, the real reason why Winnifred passed the test is revealed. After learning about the test, the King, Minstrel, and Jester stuffed the mattresses full of weapons, jousting equipment, and other sharp items. All the items are removed by the Jester in the Finale. After the items are removed Winnifred still has trouble sleeping until Dauntless takes the pea out from under the mattress, when she then falls asleep almost immediately. Everyone, in classic fairy-tale tradition, lives happily ever after.


Musical numbers

Act I
  • Overture - Orchestra
  • Many Moons Ago - Minstrel
  • An Opening For a Princess - Dauntless, Larken, Ensemble
  • In a Little While - Harry, Larken
  • In a Little While (reprise) - Harry, Larken
  • Shy - Winnifred, Dauntless, Queen, Knights, Ensemble
  • Sensitivity - Queen, Wizard
  • The Minstrel, the Jester, and I - Minstrel, Jester, King
  • The Swamps of Home - Winnifred, Dauntless, Three Ladies-in-Waiting
  • Normandy - Minstrel, Jester, Larken, King
  • Spanish Panic - Queen, Wizard, Ensemble
  • Song of Love - Dauntless, Winnifred, Ensemble
Act II
  • Quiet - Queen, Wizard, Ensemble
  • Happily Ever After - Winnifred
  • Man to Man Talk - Dauntless, King
  • The Potion - Wizard
  • Very Soft Shoes - Jester
  • Yesterday I Loved You - Harry, Larken
  • Nightingale Lullaby - Winnifred, Nightingale
  • Finale - Ensemble

Principal characters and original Broadway cast

  • Princess Winnifred - Carol Burnett
  • Prince Dauntless - Joe Bova
  • Queen Aggravain – Jane White
  • King Sextimus – Will Lee
  • Lady Larken - Anne Jones
  • Sir Harry – Dan Resin
  • Minstrel – Harry Snow
  • Jester – Jerry Newby
  • Wizard – Robert Weil
  • Nightingale of Samarkand - Gina Viglione
  • Lord Howard - Eugene Kelton
  • Sir Studley - Tom Mixon

Notes

  1. ^ Film Reference. Jack Sydow Biography (1921-)
  2. ^ DomDeluise.com Carol Arthur
  3. ^ Meade, Marion (1997). Buster Keaton: Cut to the Chase. Da Capo, 284. ISBN 0306808021. 
  4. ^ Information about the London production

External links

Internet Broadway Database The Internet Broadway Database (IBDb) is an online database of Broadway theatre productions and their personnel. ... The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is an online database of information about movies, actors, television shows, production crew personnel, and video games. ... The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is an online database of information about movies, actors, television shows, production crew personnel, and video games. ... The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is an online database of information about movies, actors, television shows, production crew personnel, and video games. ...

 
 

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