Our story begins in a faraway medieval kingdom, very long ago. The kingdom is ruled by Queen Aggravain and her mute husband, King Sextimus the Silent. Sextimus was struck dumb by a witch’s curse when his son was a baby. The curse states that Sextimus will remain silent until “the mouse devours the hawk.”
The court’s Minstrel sings the classic tale of The Princess and the Pea, although he informs the audience that this version is not the truth-- which he ought to know, since he was there (“Many Moons Ago”). In the actual story, the entire court was very upset about an unjust law proclaimed by Queen Aggravain: “Throughout the land no one may wed, ‘til Dauntless shares his wedding bed.” However, every single princess that has applied to marry Dauntless has tried and failed to pass a series of impossible tests put forth by Aggravain and her assistant the Wizard. The knights and ladies of the court are distressed because they all want to marry one another! (“An Opening for a Princess”).
Meanwhile, the Lady Larken reveals to her lover Sir Harry that she is pregnant (“In a Little While”). This is bad news because as long as the two aren’t married, Larken will have to be sent away from court and Harry may face the loss of his station. In order to prevent this, Harry decides to journey out on his own find a princess for