Carol Burnett was appearing on The Garry Moore Show on television at the same time as she was starring in Once Upon a Mattress. This caused some crazy antics. According to Burnett, the double duty meant she got less than an hour of sleep some nights. During one Broadway performance as Winnifred, who cannot sleep on the mattresses with a pea underneath (spoiler!), Burnett actually fell asleep onstage! She came to when she heard the stage manager yelling: “Carol! WAKE UP!”
“He said ‘a recording,’ ” Burnett recalled, laughing. “I’m thinking we’re gonna be in a booth, and I’m gonna have a microphone and the lyrics in front of me. I flew back to New York, and I’m having lunch with my darling Beverly Sills. And she said, ‘Well, we’re going to see you when you do “Follies.” ’ I said, ‘Oh, you’re going to be in the booth?’
“When I was in college at UCLA, I took a playwriting course. I was all set to be a writer. But I had to take this acting class as a theater arts major. I had to do this scene in a one-act comedy. I just said this line, and then… this laugh happened. I thought, ‘Whoa. This is a really good feeling. What have I been missing?'”
On May 16, 2022, Virginia’s Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre will honor Carol Burnett with the company’s eleventh Stephen Sondheim Award. The Stephen Sondheim Award will be presented at a black-tie Gala Benefit and will benefit Signature Theatre’s artistic, education, and community programs.
“She is the final honoree to be chosen personally by Mr. Sondheim before his passing,” noted Signature’s Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner, “and he greatly admired how she has brought the arts to millions of people through her comedy and artistry. We look forward to celebrating her extraordinary career this spring.” Read more.
Written by by Chloe Rabinowitz Jan. 19, 2022 for Broadway World.