Gray, Jackson, Prymus, Warren Read Princess and the Black-Eyed Pea in NYC

News   Gray, Jackson, Prymus, Warren Read Princess and the Black-Eyed Pea in NYC
The Princess and the Black-Eyed Pea, a new African-set version of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Princess and the Pea," gets a private workshop presentation in Manhattan July 20. "American Idol" star Tamyra Gray is the title royal.
Tamyra Gray joins the cast of Rent.
Tamyra Gray joins the cast of Rent.

The new 29-hour reading is put together by New York Theatre Workshop in association with Chris Bensinger, Allan S. Gordon, Élan V. McAllister and Adam S. Gordon.

Stafford Arima — who staged the December 2008 San Diego Repertory Theatre world-premiere production of the musical by Kirsten Childs (book and lyrics), Andrew M. Chukerman (music and lyrics) and Karole Foreman (conception and lyrics) — again directs. The busy Arima directed The Tin Pan Alley Rag, currently playing Off-Broadway. He also staged London's Ragtime and Off-Broadway's Altar Boyz, and is developing the novel "A Separate Peace" as a musical, with writer Warren Leight and songwriter Todd Almond.

The Princess reading cast includes Randy Aaron (Smythely), Derrick Cobey (King Nat), Rheaume Crenshaw (Labelle), Rogelio Douglas, Jr. (Rolin) Tamyra Gray (Princess Quelie), Christopher Jackson (Prince Gallant), Miles Johnson (Prince Irwin), Ramona Keller (Latisha), Kenita Miller (Imani), Ken Prymus (King Kemo), Corbin Reid (Village Girl), Jerold Solomon (Prince Boris), Jennifer Leigh Warren (Hena) and NaTasha Yvette Williams (Queen Zauba).

Music direction and arrangements are by Lynne Shankel (Vanities, Summer of '42).

Here's how the producers characterize the show: "Plucky African Princess Quelie escapes her privileged world, seeking adventure on her own terms. When she literally bumps into nerdy Prince Gallant, it's love at first sight. But Gallant's mother Queen Zauba has a trick up her sleeve to make the course of true love a bit bumpy. A soulful retelling of the classic story, 'The Princess And The Pea' with style, humor and an exhilarating score that's not to be missed." The Princess and the Black-Eyed Pea earned the Richard Rodgers Award for Most Promising New Musical and a 2008 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.

The July 20 presentation is at New York Theatre Workshop's mainstage in the East Village. An industry audience is invited to the private reading.

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