Guthrie's "Roman Holiday" a Swinging Delight!

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Do you love classic romantic cinema – of the Audrey Hepburn or Katherine Hepburn type?

Do you love the music of Cole Porter – author of such classics as “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “Let’s Misbehave”?

If you said yes to either of these questions – then you’re going to love Guthrie Theater’s big new show – Roman Holiday!

If the show title sounds familiar, that may be because the show is based on the Academy-Award winning classic 1953 film of the same name, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.

In the original, black-and-white film, Audrey Hepburn plays a royal princess who longs for a normal life, and who runs away while on a royal visit in Rome. Gregory Peck plays a quick-thinking reporter, who befriends the princess, pretending not to know her identity, in the hope for the story of a lifetime. Queue a romantic adventure in picture-perfect Rome.

Now the Guthrie team have taken that classic story, and layered it with Cole Porter‘s unforgettable songs, creating a lovely confection of a romantic jukebox musical.

The music is beautiful, the songs are gorgeous, the dancing – spectacular. Cole Porter’s music is absolutely fabulous here, featuring spectacular hits like “Experiment” and “You Do Something To Me.”  The cast has some big, beautiful, rich voices, and the live orchestra and ensemble of dancers are superb – especially in the terrific group swing numbers. The detailed period costumes and great set decorations – including a replica model of the Fountain de Trevi and black-and-white projections on the backdrop evoking the original film – invoke a storybook Rome of the 1950’s – all bustling cafes, flirtatious Italians, busy markets, adorable rooftop apartments, and romance in the air.

NYU student Stephanie Rothenberg plays Princess Anne – or more precisely, plays Audrey Hepburn playing Princess Anne – with the wonderful openness of the innocent ingenue eager to discover the big city and all it has to offer. Her rich, beautiful voice adds a special magic to the show and its songs.

Edward Watts is terrific as Joe Bradley – the worldly, sophisticated reporter and aspiring songwriter – tired of the beat reporter’s life, and eager for a ticket back to New York and his chance at Broadway. He sees Anne as his big scoop – his ticket out – and perhaps an inspiration for his writer’s block. His bustling cafe world of writers and artists and swing seems so much more fun than Anne’s repressive royal life. And his rich baritone sounds as if it was made to sing Cole Porter’s big swinging numbers.

The terrific cast is rounded out by some excellent characters – the worldly royal aunt, the strict governess, the Italian cabaret singer, the playboy photographer. The acting is superb across the entire company, and the great, laugh-out-loud physical comedy really makes this show shine.

The story is largely retained from the original film – young, innocent girl discovers love and the joys of a big city – but the dance-in-your-seat music and fabulous dancing lend a fun, lively, “special” air to the proceedings.

This is a great family show – and there were a notable number of kids at the show I attended – and it’s also a great date-night show for the romantics among us, who love classic films and old Broadway shows, full of simple, romantic stories and beautiful melodies.

The show is running at the Guthrie Theater, on the McGuire Proscenium stage, through August 19th, every night except Mondays (with matinees on Wednesdays and weekend days). Shows run for 2 hours and 30 minutes, and tickets start at $29. Shows have been selling out regularly, so get your tickets early!

For more information about the show or to order tickets, see Guthrie Theater’s official show website.

Scenes from “Roman Holiday” 


[Image: Guthrie Theater]

*The FTC made me do it: Disclosure of Material Connection: TC Jewfolk received free tickets to ”Roman Holiday” in the hope that we would mention it on TC Jewfolk. But getting the tickets for free doesn’t mean that we were obligated to give a glowing review. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Blah, blah, blah…