The musical "Once Upon a Mattress" began as a one-act play in 1958. The show gained a second act and its current title before opening at the Phoenix Theatre in May of 1959. The book was written by Jay Thompson, Marshall Barer and Dean Fuller.
While the show opened off-Broadway, it eventually ran for 460 Broadway performances at a number of venues in 1959 and 1960. It was directed by George Abbott, choreographed by Joe Layton and starred Carol Burnett as Princess Winnifred. "Once Upon a Mattress" has enjoyed continuous popularity since its Broadway days as one of the most licensed shows from Rodgers and Hammerstein Theatricals.