As previously reported, the TV film will star Tracey Ullman as Princess Winnifred, Matthew Morrison as Sir Harry, Denis O'Hare as Prince Dauntless and Zooey Deschanel as Lady Larkin. Carol Burnett, who starred in Mattress on Broadway in 1959 and on television in 1964 (in black and white) and in 1972 (in color), will play the conniving Queen Aggravain.
Liz Smith reports that Tommy Smothers has joined the company as King Sextimus and Edward Hibbert, who had been in negotiations, will indeed play the role of the Wizard. ABC will present the television special, although no air date has been announced.
Wicked's Marc Platt has joined the "Mattress" production as an executive producer. Burnett and Marty Tudor are also executive producers of "Mattress," which will begin filming Sept. 7 in Vancouver under the direction of Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall.
About the genesis of the project, Burnett told Daily Variety, "It all fell together when I said, 'We've got to get Tracey.' A lot of times the networks were thinking about a teenager for the role, but that's not really what the story is about. . . . [Since much of the plot concerns the Queen's refusal to let anyone under her rule marry], it makes sense that the [characters] are more adult." Burnett also said that there is a chance a new tune may be added for her character, the evil Queen.
Once Upon a Mattress, which is essentially the fable of "The Princess and the Pea" set to music, marked Burnett's Broadway debut, and her role as the comical Winnifred became one of Burnett's signature parts. Featuring a score by Mary Rodgers (music) and Marshall Barer (lyrics) and a book by Barer, Jay Thompson and Dean Fuller, the original Broadway company also included Jack Gilford, Joe Bova and Jane White. The 1996 Broadway revival featured "Sex and the City" star Sarah Jessica Parker in the role created by Burnett with co-stars David Aaron Baker, Jane Krakowski and Mary Lou Rosato.