Tony Winner White, Prymus and Sloan Will Bring R&B Groove to Princess Musical in San Diego

News   Tony Winner White, Prymus and Sloan Will Bring R&B Groove to Princess Musical in San Diego
Tony Award winner Lillias White, Broadway's Ken Prymus Jr. and "American Idol" veteran Sabrina Sloan are among cast members in the world premiere of San Diego REPertory Theatre's The Princess and the Black-Eyed Pea, a soulful take on the Hans Christian Andersen tale.

With a book by Kirsten Childs and music and lyrics by Andrew Chukerman, the new musical — presented by special arrangement with producer Chris Bensinger — will play the Lyceum Theatre in San Diego, CA, Nov. 23-Dec. 21. Stafford Arima (Altar Boyz, Bowfire, Old Globe's Ace) directs the musical tale, "set in the heart of two exotic African kingdoms." In the show, "a young princess and her search for true love combines gospel, funky rhythm and blues, tropical African world beat and soaring pop ballads."

The Princess and the Black-Eyed Pea won the Richard Rodgers Award and a 2008 Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award.

In addition to White (Broadway's The Life) as Queen Zauba, Sloan (Broadway's Hairspray) as Princes Quelie and Prymus (Broadway's Cats, Ain't Misbehavin') as King Kemo, the cast features gospel star Tonex as Rolin, Josh Tower (Simba in The Lion King) as Prince Gallant, Jennifer Leigh Warren as Hena, Angela Teek, Perry L. Brown, Harrison White, Sylvia Mac Calla, Angela Wildflower Polk, Warren G. Nolan Jr., Loren Lott, Kalif and Brooke Aston.

The creative team includes choreographer Todd L. Underwood, set designer Beowulf Boritt and musical director Jim Vukovich.

Opening night will be Dec. 3. The show is billed as the largest production San Diego REPertory Theatre has ever presented at the Lyceum Theatre. According to production notes, expect "a plucky princess, a scientifically minded prince, bossy parents, jealous cousins, wacky bridal contestants and a dastardly heir. These and other lively characters inhabit the colorful African kingdoms of Kheba and Torel in a delightful remake of the classic fairy tale, 'The Princess And The Pea.' Beautiful young Princess Quelie of Kheba is determined to define her own sense of 'Princesshood,' and sneaks away from her domineering father King Nat to enter a forbidden dance competition in the kingdom of Torel. Meanwhile, much to the dismay of his overbearing mother Queen Zauba, science-obsessed Prince Gallant of Torel would rather solve the mystery of an unnatural, gloomy light hovering above his kingdom than concern himself with the wedding test that will determine his future bride. When Quelie literally bumps into Gallant upon arriving in Torel, it's love at first sight for the two young people. But can their love survive jealousy, misunderstanding, sabotage, control-freak parents and a sacred and legendary Black-Eyed Pea test?"

Writer Childs was showered with awards for her musical The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (Obie Award, Edward Kleban Award, the Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Musical Theatre Award, the Richard Rogers Award). She is also the author of Miracle Brothers, Wasted, Sundiata, Lion King of Mali and the stage adaptation of 19th century poem, The Highwayman, for the McCarter Theater. Her latest show Funked Up Fairy Tales will be workshopped at the Manhattan Theatre Club this fall.

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Tickets can be purchased at the REP's box office, 79 Horton Plaza in San Diego, by calling (619) 544-1000 or online at


San Diego REPertory Theatre "produces intimate, exotic, provocative theatre. We promote a more inclusive community through vivid works that nourish progressive political and social values and celebrate the multiple voices of our region. San Diego Repertory Theatre feeds the curious soul."

Sam Woodhouse (REP artistic director and producer) co-founded San Diego Repertory Theatre with D.W. Jacobs in 1976, and has since served as its producing and artistic director. He has worked as a director, producer and actor on more than 125 REP productions, including It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues, the hit musical revue which played on Broadway for nine months in 1999 and was nominated for four Tony Awards.

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