“Once Upon a Mattress” is a musical comedy with music by Mary Rodgers, lyrics by Marshall Barer and book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller and Marshall Barer. It opened off-Broadway in May 1959, and then moved to Broadway. The play was written as an adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea.”
A fictional medieval kingdom is ruled by the devious Queen Aggravain and the mute King Sextimus the Silent. King Sextimus suffers from a curse that can only be reversed “when the mouse devours the hawk.” The Minstrel sings of the Princess and the Pea (“Many Moons Ago”), though he knows the true tale, because he was there when it happened. The princess in the story wasn’t the first girl tested to see if she was worthy of marrying Prince Dauntless the Drab — she was one of 13 girls. The day the Minstrel arrives, the Queen is testing Princess #12 with an unfair quiz. To the Queen’s delight, the princess misses the last question: “What was the middle name of the daughter-in-law of the best friend of the blacksmith who forged the sword that killed the Beast?” and is given a rubber chicken by Sir Studley. The populace of the castle complains about an unjust law levied by Queen Aggravain: “Throughout the land no one may wed, ‘till Dauntless shares his wedding bed.” However, every petitioning princess is sent away after failing an unfair test devised by the Queen. It seems that no one is good enough to marry Prince Dauntless (“An Opening for A Princess”).
Everyone is invited to purchase a ticket to come and see how the fairy-tale ends.
Performances will be held Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 28-30, at 7:30 each evening and on Sunday, May 1, at 3 p.m. in the Gertrude R. Jones Fine Arts Auditorium. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for students and children under 12 years old. Patrons may call the CBC theater box office at 354-2545 or come by the box office in the Fine Arts Building Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tickets can also be purchased online by going to www.coastalbend.edu.