Once Upon a Mattress Musical Script : number 1 Perfect Story

Once Upon a Mattress Musical Script: A Guide to the Beloved Broadway Show

Once Upon a Mattress” is a fun version of the old story “The Princess and the Pea.” Mary Rogers wrote the music and Marshall Barra wrote the lyrics. The musical first appeared on Broadway in 1959. Since then, it has been a favorite story adaptation for local community and school plays.

Once Upon a Mattress
Once Upon a Mattress

Once Upon a Mattress is a playful adaptation of the classic tale The Princess and the Pea. The music was composed by Mary Rogers and the lyrics were penned by Marshall Barra. Originally debuted on Broadway in 1959, this musical has since become a beloved choice for community and school productions.

The story is about Prince Dauntless, the Drab, who wants to find a wife. But his mom, Queen Aggravain, makes it hard by giving strict tests to all the princesses who come. No one seems good enough for her. Then Princess Winnifred shows up. She’s different and bold and could pass the Queen’s tricky tests and make Prince Dauntless fall for her.

The musical has fun songs and intelligent lines, making “Once Upon a Mattress” a fun and joyful watch. It’s been loved for a long time because of its funny characters and silly moments. People of every age find something to enjoy in this musical.

Script Overview

Once Upon a Mattress/Script Overview
Once Upon a Mattress

Once Upon a Mattress” turns the fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea” into a comedy. Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshall Barer crafted the script. Mary Rodgers composed the music, with Marshall Barer also penning the lyrics. Its Broadway debut was in 1959. Ever since, it’s been a top pick for high school and local theater productions.


The musical features a range of quirky characters, including:

  1. Princess Winnifred the Woebegone: A bold and unconventional princess who arrives at Prince Dauntless’s castle to compete for his hand in marriage.
  2. Prince Dauntless the Drab: A gentle and naive prince desperate to find a bride.
  3. Queen Aggravain: An overbearing and manipulative mother who will stop at nothing to keep her son unmarried.
  4. King Sextimus the Silent: A mute ruler who communicates through gestures and facial expressions.
  5. Sir Harry: The court jester who serves as the narrator and guide for the audience.


The play is set in an old-time kingdom, mainly happening in Prince Dauntless’s enormous castle. The scenes usually show a giant staircase, a king’s chair, and a huge bed, which is very important to the story. The outfits are bright and over-the-top, like Princess Winnifred’s green dress and fancy braided hair. The music has fun, lively, slower, romantic songs that make the story more interesting.
Once Upon a Mattress” is a fun, light musical that makes an old fairy tale new and exciting. It’s filled with fun characters and songs that stick in your head, making it a hit with people no matter how old they are.

Musical Numbers

Once Upon a Mattress /Musical Numbers
Once Upon a Mattress

There are actually thirteen musical pieces in the “Once Upon a Mattress” screenplay, and each has a distinct tone and style. The musical selections in this production, which range from uplifting and energetic songs to poignant ballads, are likely to keep viewers interested and delighted.

“Many Moons Ago,” a delightful and whimsical song that opens the plot, is one of the show’s most memorable musical pieces. Winnifred sings a heartfelt ballad called “Shy,” which highlights her inner strength and fragility. The concert ends with a thrilling exuberant and joyous settling number called Happily Ever After.

“Spanish Panic,” a vibrant dance number with the full ensemble, and “Sensitivity,” a humorous duet between Harry and Lady Larken, are two more noteworthy musical pieces in the performance.

Overall, “Once Upon a Mattress“‘s musical moments are masterfully written and executed, giving the characters and plot more nuance and depth. This concert will thrill you whether you’re a fan of vintage musical theatre or just want to have an exciting and memorable night out.

Plot Summary

Once Upon a Mattress
Once Upon a Mattress

“Once Upon a Mattress” is a funny musical that gives a new twist to the story of “The Princess and the Pea.” In this version, the story is set in a kingdom under the rule of Queen Aggravain. She wants her son, Prince Dauntless, to stay single forever, so she devises really hard tests that any princess who wants to marry him must pass, making sure none of them can.

At the same time, the kingdom is running out of princesses to try. Sir Harry and Lady Larken want to get married and start a family. But there’s a catch: Lady Larken is expecting a baby, and they can’t get married until Prince Dauntless does. To solve this, Sir Harry finds a princess who can meet the queen’s tough challenges. He finds Princess Winnifred the Woebegone, who is not your typical princess. She’s brave and doesn’t follow the usual princess rules.

Production History

Once Upon a Mattress
Once Upon a Mattress

Broadway held the world debut of the musical comedy Once Upon a Mattress in 1959. It was written by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, Marshall Barer, and Mary Rodgers, and it was adapted from the fairytale “The Princess and the Pea.” Marshall Barer wrote the show’s lyrics and Mary Rodgers provided the music.

Joe Layton choreographed and George Abbott directed the original Broadway performance. Carol Burnett played Princess Winnifred in the the programme, while Ken Berry played Prince Dauntless. The play played for 244 performances and garnered favourable reviews.

Once Upon a Mattress has been presented several times at community theatres, high schools, and regional theatres since its Broadway premiere. The programme has also been made into a movie and television series.
A made-for-TV film with Matthew Morrison as Prince Dauntless and Tracey Ullman as Princess Winnifred was created in 1996.

Carol Burnett also made a brief guest in the TV film. Once Upon a Mattress was revived on Broadway in 2005, with Sarah Jessica Parker playing Princess Winnifred and Matthew Morrison as Prince Dauntless once more.

Critics gave the 188 performances of the revival varying ratings.
Overall, Because of its charming lyrics and gentle humour, Once Upon a Mattress gained popularity for community and school theatre performances.

Critical Reception

Once Upon a Mattress
Once Upon a Mattress

When the musical script Once Upon a Mattress was first released, critics gave it varying reviews. Some appreciated the show’s whimsical and lighthearted quality, while others criticized its lack of character development and depth.

While praising the show’s “delightful score” and “charming performances,” the New York Times pointed out that the characters were “one-dimensional” and the narrative was “thin.” Variety voiced the same critique, describing the program as “fun and frothy” but ultimately “forgettable.”

Despite these complaints, “Once Upon a Mattress” is still a popular choice for community and high school plays. Audiences of all ages are always delighted by its memorable tunes and humorous situations. Although it might not be the most innovative or interesting musical, the play is a joyful antics that will make the audience happy.

Freequently asked question about Once Upon a Mattress Musical Script

Once Upon a Mattress

Where can I find the Once Upon a Mattress script for a school production?

The Once Upon a Mattress script can be purchased from authorized publishers and licensed theatrical agencies. Some online retailers may also carry the script, but it is essential to ensure the source is legitimate and authorized.

What are the main differences between the original and the youth edition scripts of Once Upon a Mattress?

The “Once Upon a Mattress” youth edition script has been changed to better suit young actors and viewers. This version might use easier words, be shorter, and have fewer people in it. The first script had stuff for older people, like grown-up themes and words.

How can I legally obtain a copy of the Once Upon a Mattress musical script?

To obtain a legal copy of the Once Upon a Mattress script, one must purchase it from an authorized publisher or licensed theatrical agency. Unauthorized copying or distribution of the script is illegal and can result in legal consequences.

What themes are explored in the Once Upon a Mattress musical?

Once Upon a Mattress explores gender roles, love, and societal expectations. The musical also touches on breaking free from traditional norms and expectations.

Which character did Carol Burnett portray in the original Once Upon a Mattress production?

Carol Burnett portrayed the lead role of Princess Winnifred in the original production of Once Upon a Mattress.

Is the content of Once Upon a Mattress suitable for middle school audiences?

The story in “Once Upon a Mattress” includes some grown-up themes and words. These might only be okay for some middle school kids. Teachers and parents should read the play first. Then, they can decide if it’s right for their school or community.

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