Once Upon a Mattress Summary
Once Upon a Mattress is a humorous musical retelling of the classic fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea, by Hans Christian Andersen. The story follows a princess who must pass an unusual test in order to marry her beloved prince, as well as other characters who are affected by her success or failure in doing so. This article will provide a summary of Once Upon a Mattress, discuss its characters and themes, and analyze its significance in popular culture today.
2 . Background
Once Upon a Mattress was written by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, Marshall Barer, with music by Mary Rodgers and lyrics by Marshall Barer in 1959 for Broadway production at New York’s Phoenix Theatre in May 1959 starring Carol Burnett as Princess Winnifred the Woebegone (the “princess”). It was directed by George Abbott and choreographed by Joe Layton with costumes designed by Alvin Colt. The show ran for 460 performances before closing on January 16th 1960 after which it went on tour around the United States until 1961 when it returned to Broadway for another run at the Winter Garden Theatre from May 1962 to October 1963 before touring again until 1966 when it closed permanently due to financial difficulties caused by changes in ownership of theaters during this time period..
3 . Plot Summary
The story begins with King Sextimus (the Silent) being cursed into silence due to his wife Queen Aggravain’s scheming ways; she then decides that no one can marry her son Prince Dauntless unless they can pass her impossible test – which is never revealed but assumed to be impossible for any woman to pass – thus keeping him single forever so she can remain Queen Regent. Enter Princess Winnifred the Woebegone (the “princess”), who comes from afar determined to marry Prince Dauntless. Despite Queen Aggravain’s attempts to prevent it, Winnifred passes the test – although not without some complications – and she and Prince Dauntless are married.
The main characters of Once Upon a Mattress are Princess Winnifred the Woebegone (the “princess”), Prince Dauntless, King Sextimus (the Silent), Queen Aggravain, Lady Larken, Sir Harry, Minstrel, Jester, Wizard and various courtiers. Each character has their own unique traits and contributes their own particular elements to the story. Princess Winnifred is an unconventional princess who is determined to win Prince Dauntless’ heart despite Queen Aggravain’s attempts to prevent it; Prince Dauntless is an obedient son who loves Winnifred but is too afraid of his mother’s wrath to defy her; King Sextimus is a kind-hearted man who is cursed into silence due to his wife’s scheming ways; Queen Aggravain is an evil queen who will stop at nothing to ensure that no one marries her son; Lady Larken is an old friend of Winnifred’s who helps her along her journey; Sir Harry is Lady Larken’s husband and also helps Winnifred; Minstrel is an old friend of King Sextimus’ who helps him find his voice again; Jester is an eccentric court jester who provides comic relief throughout the story; Wizard is an old wizard who helps everyone along their journey.
5. Analysis of the Story
Once Upon a Mattress tells a timeless story about finding true love despite all odds and overcoming obstacles through determination and courage. It also speaks to themes such as loyalty, friendship, family dynamics, feminism and standing up for what you believe in. The story also shows how one person can make a difference in the lives of others even if they don’t realize it at first. It also shows how love can conquer all obstacles if you are brave enough to pursue it.
6. Themes & Motifs
The main themes present in Once Upon a Mattress are courage and determination, loyalty and friendship, family dynamics and feminism. These themes are explored through various motifs such as love conquering all obstacles, standing up for what you believe in even if it means going against authority figures such as parents or rulers and using wit rather than strength or power to achieve one’s goals.
7. Significance of the Title
The title of Once Upon A Mattress refers to the famous fairy tale “The Princess And The Pea” which serves as inspiration for this musical comedy’s plotline – where a princess must prove her royal heritage by being able to feel discomfort from sleeping on top of many mattresses stacked atop each other while trying to get some rest – thus proving that she truly is a princess despite all odds against her succeeding in this task . This title also reflects how despite all odds stacked against them , true love between two people can still prevail if they have enough courage , determination , wit , loyalty and friendship .
8. Adaptations & Revivals
Once Upon A Mattress has been adapted into two films – one released in 1964 starring Carol Burnett reprising her role as Princess Winnifred , one released in 2005 starring Tracey Ullman – as well as various stage productions including revivals on Broadway in 1996–97 , Off-Broadway revival in 2004–05 , UK tour revival in 2013–14 , US Tour revival 2015–16 , UK Tour revival 2017–18 . It has also been adapted into various children’s books , video games , comic books and even theme park attractions .
9. Critical Reception
Once Upon A Mattress received generally positive reviews upon its release with critics praising its witty dialogue , catchy songs , memorable characters , clever wordplay and overall fun atmosphere . It was nominated for seven Tony Awards including Best Musical but only won one award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Jack Gilford). It was also nominated for four Drama Desk Awards including Outstanding Musical but only won one award for Outstanding Costume Design (Alvin Colt).
10 . Cultural Impact
Once Upon A Mattress has had a lasting impact on popular culture today with its catchy songs such as “Shy” , “In A Little While” , “Very Soft Shoes” being performed regularly by theatre companies around the world . Its witty dialogue has been referenced numerous times throughout popular culture including TV shows such as The Simpsons (episode “Homer vs Dignity”) , South Park (episode “Chef Goes Nanners”) and Family Guy (episode “Peterotica”) . Its memorable characters have been parodied numerous times throughout popular culture as well including TV shows such as Saturday Night Live (various sketches) and movies such as Shrek 2 (Princess Fiona).
11 . Conclusion
Once Upon A Mattress is a timeless story about finding true love despite all odds that speaks to themes such as courage & determination , loyalty & friendship , family dynamics & feminism . Its catchy songs & witty dialogue have made it an enduring classic that continues to be enjoyed today through various adaptations & revivals on stage & screen . Its cultural impact has been felt throughout popular culture with references & parodies appearing throughout TV shows & movies over the years making it an enduring classic that will continue to be enjoyed for generations to come .