Longtime Sun-Times theater critic Hedy Weiss got herself in a mess of hot water with the Dramatists Guild of America recently when she reviewed some musical-theater workshops that were still considered works-in-progress. If you have always envied critics being able to have their say, here is a chance to have yours when they can’t, or at least, when they aren’t supposed to: a musical-theater workshop of “The Princess and the Black-Eyed Pea,” a new musical by Karole Foreman and Chicago native Andrew Chukerman. A soulful, African-American adaptation of the famous Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, “Princess” won a grant bestowed by the Richard Rodgers Awards Committee of the American Academy of Arts & Letters that is chaired by Stephen Sondheim and which includes Mary Rodgers, Richard’s daughter and the composer of “Once Upon a Mattress,” an earlier musical adaptation of the same fairy tale. The show also won the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Award, set up by the family of the late composer of “Rent” with royalties from that show to help young talent. The workshop, which will be directed by Brendan Fox, features the Ravinia debut of Lillias White, who won the Tony, Drama Desk, Peoples Choice and Outer Critics awards for her Broadway role in 1997’s “The Life,” along with participants from Ravinia’s Steans Institute for Young Artists. Tickets are free but reservations are required and the show will also be broadcast to the lawn. Oh yes, and whatever you do, don’t spill the beans—or peas—to Hedy. (Dennis Polkow)
“The Princess and the Black-Eyed Pea” plays September 15-16 at 8pm at Ravinia Festival’s Bennett ·Gordon Hall, Lake-Cook and Green Bay Roads, Highland Park, (847)266-5100.