Morrison joins a cast that includes Tracey Ullman as Princess Winnifred and Denis O'Hare as Prince Dauntless. 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. ABC will present the television special, although no air date has been announced.
In a letter on his official website, Morrison writes, "I just booked the new TV movie of 'Once Upon A Mattress.' It's starring Carol Burnett, [Tracey Ullman], Dennis O'Hare, Zooey Deschanel, and ME. I'm so excited about this project and I'm itching to get up to Vancouver (where it shoots). Sadly, it also means that I will have to leave Hairspray early. My last show will be this Tues. Aug. 17th."
Morrison was scheduled to appear opposite former Hairspray castmast Kerry Butler in the upcoming musical staging of The Opposite of Sex at San Francisco's Magic Theatre, Sept. 25-Oct. 24. A replacement for his role is currently being sought, according to a Magic representative.
A spokesperson for the upcoming film could only confirm the casting of Burnett and Ullman as of press time.
As previously 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.