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Once Upon a Mattress is a musical comedy reinterpretation of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Princess and the Pea with music by Mary Rodgers, lyrics by Marshall Barer, and book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshall Barer. If you thought you knew the story of The Princess and the Pea, you may be in for a walloping surprise! Carried on a wave of wonderful songs, by turns hilarious and raucous, romantic and melodic, this rollicking spin on the familiar classic of royal courtship and comeuppance provides for some side-splitting shenanigans. Chances are you’ll never look at fairy tales quite the same way again!
Once Upon a Mattress started out as an extended skit as a Jewish summer camp for adults. In the early to mid part of the 20th century, there were many summer recreational resorts where adults might do things like write and appear in a musical together. Many theatre professionals, from Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock (Fiddler on the Roof) to Moss Hart (You Can’t Take it With You), got their start at these camps. The play was later expanded for the Broadway stage, winning the Best Actress in a Musical Tony Award for young Carol Burnett in 1960 and the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical in 1997 with the Broadway revamp starring Sarah Jessica Parker!
A poignant drama about love and reconciliation adapted by one of Israel’s most beloved authors from her own short story, this hit Israeli play follows the young Sephardic Rivka, a religious teenager, who falls for Dooby, a secular kibbutznik, at a dance class in Jerusalem. She arranges to follow him back to his kibbutz in the Negev Desert, but not before Rivka’s orthodox parents bar her from leaving, forcibly at first, only to chase after Rivka as she flees. A timeless and timely confrontation between tradition and modernity becomes a moving reckoning, as the sweetest of meals is offered and two generations learn to make peace.
By Sayvon Liebrecht. Translation by Shir Freibach. Directed by Debra Clinton.