In this hilarious tweaking of the fairy tale, “The Princess and the Pea”, Queen Aggravain has ruled that none may marry until her son, Prince Dauntless marries. However, she has managed to sabotage every princess that come along. When Sir Harry and Lady Larken learn that they are going to be parents, wed or not, he goes off to the swamps and brings back Princess Winnifred (“Fred” to her friends). The queen is horrified and immediately begins to scheme, but Winnifred, with some help from Sir Harry, the King, and the Jester, isn’t going to be quite so easy to get rid of
The musical played 216 performances Off-Broadway at the Phoenix Theatre, followed by 244 performances on Broadway at the Alvin, Winter Garden, Cort and St. James Theatres.
Once Upon a Mattress; music by Mary Rodgers lyrics by Marshall Barer, and book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshall Barer.
Once Upon a Mattress was first written as a shorter play at the Tamiment adult summer camp resort, at which Jack Sydow was present. 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 theater groups.