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THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA waves fairy tale magic

Once again, the classic fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen comes to life in a new production with a twist at the Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences now through April 19.

Having seen many of these musicals, I can say that this was one of the best with an all-start cast of Chicago favorites who bring their big voices to the stage.

This new spin on the classic tale features music by Marc Robin, book and lyrics by Rick Boynton, and additional lyrics by Curt Dale Clark and Marc Robin. THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA is directed and choreographed by Artistic Director Aaron Thielen, with musical direction by Patti Garwood.

Queen Evermean decides it's time for her son, Prince Wellington, to get married. She creates a reality game show called the "Princess Test" to find the Prince the "perfect" bride. But the Prince doesn't want to marry someone picked for him, he wants to marry for love. He escapes to the royal forest where he comes face to face with the girl he knows is the right one. But can she pass the Princess Test? Will a tiny pea and a stack of mattresses stand between her and true love?

The lesson to the audience of both kids and adults is "that you have to write your own story." THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA runs for one hour, followed by a question & answer session with the cast, which is just perfect for the kids.

Starring in THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA are Marielle Nada Issa as "Ruth," Trevor Vanderzee as "Prince Wellington," Jenna Coker-Jones as "Queen Evermean," Mark David Kaplan as "Papa and Biff," Allison Sill as "Buffy and Cumula," and Ian Paul Custer as "Chester."

Issa is excellent as Ruth and a perfect match for Prince Wellington. As Queen Evermean, veteran Chicago actress Jones steals the show whenever she's on stage. Custer as Jester is hysterical. The costumes, especially Buffy's, are absolutely exquisite. Bring the kids for this wonderful production and a perfect introduction to musical theatre.