Based on the fairy tale of The Princess and the Pea, Once
Upon a Mattress was originally written by Mary Rodgers (daughter
of Richard Rodgers) and Marshall Barer as part of an adult summer
camp. The original one-act version was so well-received that
they decided to expand it into a full-length musical.
The story centers around Prince Dauntless the Drab whose mother,
Queen Agravain, seeking to keep the boy to herself, has declared
that he will wed only a true princess of royal blood. When Princess
Winnifred arrives dripping wet (having swam the moat!) and declares
herself a contender for the Prince's hand, the Queen devises
a clever test to determine whether this self-proclaimed princess
is worthy of her son.
Once Upon a Mattress opened at the Phoenix Theater
on May 11, 1959 with Carol Burnett playing the part of Princess
Winnifred, Joseph Bova as Prince Dauntless, and Jane White as
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