I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Books to Music: Once Upon A Mattress

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
And you may be sure way down deep I'm demure,
though some people I know might deny it at bottom 
I'm quiet and pure!
I'm aware that it's wrong to be meek as I am; 
my chances may pass me by.
I pretend to be strong, but as weak as I am, all I can do is try.

Oh this musical, what a delight!  It's based on Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tale "The Princess and the Pea" and changes up several things about the story.  The Queen doesn't want her son to marry a princess, but stay with her always, so the Queen is turned into a great campy villain in this film production from 2005.  Carol Burnett (who played Princess Winifred in the original off-broadway/broadway production) is over the top, but perfect for this bright, colorful, exuberant production.  And of course her vocals are spot on!  They even wrote a new song for this version, sung by Carol's Queen called "That Baby of Mine" which lets Carol really vamp it up and play up the comedy.  I'm a huge fan of Carol Burnett so I'm probably a little biased about how great this show is!

They do have a stellar cast here though.  Matthew Morrison (Broadway actor and now actor on Glee) has a gorgeous voice, and is really perfectly matched with Zooey Deschanel as Lady Larkin.  Their songs are so playful and romantic and are a great foil for the quirky romance between Tracey Ullman's "shy" Princess Winifred, and Prince Dauntless played by Denis O'Hare. (OMG True Blood fans! Russell Edgington can sing!)  The music is mostly the old-style Broadway sound - very glossy and buoyant - and of course catchy and upbeat.  The big dance number song (Spanish Panic) is really fun and shows just what this musical is about - it's entertaining, funny and over the top, and brings a great new spin to the original fairy tale.

Song Spotlight: Shy
This song showcases the Princess's personality, which is very endearing even if she doesn't seem all that shy. Her words belie her very forward and strident voice. Yet even though it seems unlikely that people find her shy when they meet her, it's interesting that you can believe she really is a bit timid on the inside because she has such a unique personality that might not be acceptable to everyone (the Queen for instance.)  There is a little song within this that serves as the prelude and is a part of the dance break in the middle that I also really adore.  It has a lovely, fluttering melody and I wish I could hear it developed into it's own song!

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  1. I hadn't heard of this before!! It looks wonderful!!!!


    1. Oh I'm glad to introduce you as it were. :) I hope you will enjoy it if you every pick up a copy!

  2. Disney made this! WOAH. I didn't know that. And Zooey plays in it! Maybe I'm biased about her. ;D I love how you wrapped up the whole entire movie (explaining the cast and all as well!) in just a few mere paragraphs! I feel so jealous. Say do you ramble even though your reviews are so simple and sweet?

    1. Disney does make a lot of awesome stuff! :D I was so surprised to see Zooey, and it's weird how much she reminds me of Tangled's Rapunzel with the blonde hair! And thank you, I really think I can be too succinct sometimes, and my reviews would be better if I delved deeper, but sometimes I feel like that's all I want to say! I guess I don't ramble too much. But rambling would probably give it more personality so I want to ramble a little!

  3. I am intrigued based on Zooey D.! I like her, she is quirky and fun!

    1. She was really good! And I didn't even recognize her at first with the blonde hair. :D