African-Set Musical Princess and the Black-Eyed Pea Will Premiere in CA | Playbill

News African-Set Musical Princess and the Black-Eyed Pea Will Premiere in CA
San Diego REPertory Theatre's artistic director Sam Woodhouse announced three of the five productions scheduled for the 2008-09 season, to include the world premiere musical The Princess and the Black-Eyed Pea.

The REP will stage The Threepenny Opera, the Pulitzer Prize winner Doubt: A Parable and "an exotic twist" on a classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, The Princess and the Black-Eyed Pea. The remainder of San Diego REPertory Theatre's new season, as well as production dates, will be announced in the coming weeks.

Woodhouse will direct Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera, the groundbreaking musical that features "a cunning and glorious story of love, greed, deception and capitalism run wild."

John Patrick Shanley's award-winning Doubt, the drama about certainty set in a Catholic boys school, will be directed by REP associate artistic director Todd Salovey.

Hans Christian Andersen's "The Princess and the Pea" will be transformed into "a soulful musical comedy set in two exotic African kingdoms," The Princess and the Black-Eyed Pea, produced by special arrangement with Chris Bensinger. The musical won the Richard Rodgers Award for Most Promising New Musical.

The show by Karole Foreman and Andrew Chukerman had workshop and concert presentations around the country, and at the Musical of the Year International Musical Competition in Europe. "With a charming sense of fun and play, [the authors] spin a compelling tug of war between destiny and the destiny-changing power of the individual spirit," according to REP notes. "Rousing gospel, funky rhythm and blues, tropical African world beat and soaring pop ballads, this musical poses the question, 'Does fate or free will lead us to true love?'" In it, "Colorful characters rule the African kingdoms of Kheba and Torel — one is the tyrannical Queen Mother Zauba, the other, a befuddled King Nat whose teenage daughter, Princess Quelie, has never been outside the sheltering palace walls. When the most feared warrior in the land, Vinzulu, vows he will force her to be his queen, the defiant Princess climbs the walls, braves a wild storm and heads into the dangerous forest to seek her freedom. Meanwhile, back in Torel, the sad Prince Gallant has not yet found the princess of his dreams. To assist, the Queen Mother plans an elaborate ball, during which her son accidentally stumbles upon a ragged and starving Quelie. Its love at first sight, but will fate let these love birds stay together? There's only one way to find out — the sacred and legendary test of The Black-Eyed Pea!"

"The Princess and the Pea" also inspired the Broadway musical Once Upon a Mattress.

San Diego REP presents at the Lyceum Theatre in Horton Plaza in San Diego, CA. For more information visit

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