Classic TV & Movie Hits

Home | Show Pages | People Pages | Network Pages | DVD Reviews & Contests | Shop    


[ Back ] [ Home ]


Burnett Hands Over 'Mattress' Crown

(Posted December 23, 2005 by Leah Yoakum)

The new production of "Once Upon a Mattress," premiering Sunday, Dec. 18, on ABC, realizes a long-held dream for Carol Burnett.

Now a six-time Emmy winner, the actress was a virtual unknown in 1959 when she opened in what was supposed to be a short off-Broadway run of this witty adaptation of "The Princess and the Pea." As gawky yet endearing Winnifred the Woebegone, Burnett became an overnight star, moving with the show to a long Broadway run and subsequently, two well-received TV adaptations of "Mattress" in 1964 and '72.

It's not surprising that Burnett, now a very lively 73, wanted to get what she calls a "definitive" rendering of this show on film. This time, taking the role of domineering Queen Aggravain while handing off the plum role of Winnifred to Tracey Ullman, who holds an Emmy six-pack of her own.

"The casting process was a little bizarre, because we knew we had to find the right Winnifred or there was no point in doing it," Burnett says. "The network wanted someone very young, around 19, but I said, 'Where are you going to find someone that young with the chops to handle both the songs and the physical comedy?' Then Tracey's name came up, and everything fell into place."

"Once Upon a Mattress" takes place long ago in a small kingdom, where a marriage ban is in effect until Prince Dauntless (Denis O'Hare) finds a bride. Alas, his mother, Queen Aggravain (Burnett), dismisses any royal applicant who can't prove herself "a true princess" -- which means passing one of the queen's diabolical trials.

"What an honor to be asked to do this role by Carol," Ullman says. "I liked the script, and the score is of its time but still holds up beautifully. I love getting thrown into the air by those dancers, and you get the smell of all those men; it's really rather nice, and you feel very graceful and light. A chance to be lifted and held by all these brawny, sweaty Canadians? I'm there!"

Source: Zap2it

[ Back ] [ Cast Home ] [ News Home ] [ Home ]




Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Contact Us | Copyright -  All Rights Reserved.