Upon a Mattress is a whimsical musical comedy based on the Hans Christian
Andersen fairy tale The Princess and the Pea. The story is set in a
15th century magical kingdom where Queen Aggravain, a mean-spirited
ruler and over-protective mother devises impossible tests for potential brides
for her drab son Prince Dauntless. Furthermore, no one in the
kingdom may marry until Prince Dauntless does. Thanks to a resourceful knight
Sir Harry, princess Winnifred the Woebegone emerges and catches everyone’s
hearts – except that of Queen Aggravain, who comes up with an
impossibly difficult sensitivity test.
The Broadway show, which opened in May 1959,
launched the career of stage and TV legend Carol Burnett when she played
Princess Winnifred – nicknamed Fred. It was nominated for three Tony Awards
including Best Musical.