Today in 1959, Once Upon a Mattress opened at the Phoenix Theatre, where it ran for 244 performances. Once Upon a Mattress is a musical comedy with music by Mary Rodgers, lyrics by Marshall Barer and book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshall Barer. The play was written as an adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Princess and the Pea. Once Upon A Mattress marked the Broadway debut of later stage and TV legend Carol Burnett, who originated the role of Princess Winnifred. Also featured were Joseph Bova, Allen Case, Jack Gilford and Matt Mattox. Jane White played the role of Queen Aggravain, becoming the first African-American actress to portray a white character on the Broadway stage.