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Once Upon a Mattress TV Musical, with Ullman, Burnett and O'Hare, Airs Dec. 18

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The air date of the television adaptation of the fractured musical fairy tale "Once Upon a Mattress" has now been set; it will be presented on ABC on Sunday, December 18th.

Presented by "The Wonderful World of Disney," "Once Upon a Mattress" is an antic musical inspired by The Princess and the Pea. It will star British comedian Tracey Ullman as the not-so-shy Princess Winnifred, who must prove her sensitivity to a pea under 20 mattresses before she can wed the sheltered Prince Dauntless. Denis O'Hare will play Dauntless, with Matthew Morrison and Zooey Deschanel as lovers Prince Harry and Lady Larken, Tommy Smothers as King Sextimus, Michael Boatman as The Jester, and as the overprotective Queen Aggravain, Carol Burnett. Burnett originated the role of Princess "Fred" in the original 1959 Broadway production (and also reprised it in 1964 and 1972 TV versions).

"Once Upon a Mattress," which will be produced by Burnett, Marc E. Platt, and Marty Tudor, will mark the screen debut of Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Kathleen Marshall (The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Wondeful Town). Bob Mackie will design the medieval-inspired costumes of the musical, which will feature a teleplay by Janet Brownell (adapted from the original libretto by Jay Thompson, Marshall Barer and Dean Fuller). Mary Rodgers wrote the music for the show, while the lyrics were penned by Barer.

Once Upon a Mattress was a launching pad for Burnett's later career; it established her as a physical comedian with a brassy belt voice. The show, which opened on November 25th, 1959 at the Alvin Theatre, earned Tony Award nominations for both Burnett and the musical itself. Once Upon a Mattress ran for 460 performances, and its cast also included Jack Gilford, Jane White, Joe Bova and Anne Jones. A 1996 revival starred Sarah Jessica Parker as Princess Winnifred; Jane Krakowski played Lady Larken in that production.


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