Prince Wellington is seeking a bride, but could you pass the test? The Marriott Theater for Young Audience’s newest production, The Princess and the Pea, will see who can and determine who shall be his bride. This one hour musical adaption of the classic fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen will be running from now until May 3rd for all the princesses and princes in Lake County.
Audience members will watch in suspense as the game show style princess test occurs in this musical production. The Marriott’s production of The Princess and the Pea was written and choreographed by Rick Boynton, music by Marc Robin with additional lyrics from Curt Dale Clark. I was amazed to find out that the music playing in the play wasn’t from a cd. All the music is LIVE and in a room next to the theater that they will show at the end. The small cast that puts on this production is Alex Goodrich as Prince Wellington, Dara Cameron as Ruth, Susan Moniz as Queen Evermean, Don Forston as Papa/Biff, Derrick Trumbly as Chester, and Samantha Pauly as Buffy/Cumula. Together they will all find out if common girl Ruth can beat Buffy the favored contestant in the princess test making it impossible not to cheer along and root for true love.
Because the play is put on by the Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences it is more interactive and less scary for even the youngest children. The cast members enter and leave the stage, which is centered in the middle of the audience, through the aisles. If you are lucky enough to sit in a seat near an aisle they may interact with you. Such as at the beginning of the play I saw cast members giving high fives to all of the children in one aisle. However, if you are unable to get an aisle seat – no worries! Every seat is a good seat in this intimate theatre in the round. I sat towards the back of the theater and I felt like I was extremely close to the stage and my toddler could see everything perfectly. Unlike regular plays where you have to be quiet, the audience was encouraged to clap to all of the songs and even “BOO!” for Buffy as she tries to win the Princess test and Prince Wellington’s heart. I think that perhaps the best part about the children’s productions is the question and answer session after the show where you can ask the cast anything, find out how the play worked and even find out if there really was a real pea underneath all of those mattresses (spoiler alert: It is just an imaginary pea. shh!)
Don’t let the fact that this play is a princess story stop you from bringing your sons. The play really feels like you are inside a game show complete with tv screens around the theater that display special news updates and photos during the show. They also had some characters using Ipads to store all the princess contestant data. I saw several boys ranging in age throughout the theater and none of them looked bored. I took my two-year old son who knew nothing about the fairy tale and is very into boy things. He sat through the entire play and is still talking about it (and the “big tv”) days later. Also don’t let the fact that it is for Young Audiences stop you from bringing your grandma, your cousin, or even your friend. They had jokes throughout the play that were for the adults such as “She is a couple burgers shy of a Happy Meal”. I heard both my mother and boyfriend laugh a few times during the play. I would definitely recommend this play for any believer of game shows, lumpy mattresses, and true love.
If you stick around until after the question and answer session, you may run into some of the cast in the hallway. When looking for the bathroom after the play I saw a line to meet both Ruth and Buffy. The characters played by Dara Cameron and Samantha Pauly were more than happy to give hugs, answer questions, and take photos. The girl in front of me in line whispered to the princesses that she thought she was really a princess because she was able to feel the pea when she tried the test at home. My son was able to get a picture with the princess in the yellow dress that he was pointing at the whole play (“Mommy she have yellow dress!”). Although he clammed up and got shy as soon as he got to meet his idol, it is a picture I will cherish for years.
The Princess and the Pea plays most Thursdays through Sundays until May 3rd at 10 a.m. with some performances at 12:30 p.m. Most of the performances have been selling out so buy tickets quickly. Visit Marriott Theatre or call 847.634.0200 for exact schedule, as show times and dates may vary and to buy tickets. Single ticket prices are $17.23 per person (includes fees and taxes). Groups of 20 or more receive a discount by calling 847.634.5909. Free parking is available at all shows. Although get there early, we had to walk quite far as we got there exactly at the showtime.
Disclosure: I received tickets to the press opening of The Princess and the Pea to facilitate in my review. No other compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are my own.