Currently onstage at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis is the period musical spectacular Roman Holiday. Based on the iconic film, the show features the music of Cole Porter, including hits like "Easy to Love," "Begin the Beguine," "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" and "Riding High", in addition to rarely heard gems that fit perfectly into the story. The production began preview performances on June 9 and opens tonight, June 15. The run is scheduled to continue through August 19 on the McGuire Proscenium Stage. Guthrie Artistic Producing Artistic Director John Miller-Stephany helms.
In this sweet romance, a radiant young princess is on a widely publicized European tour. When the demands of her official duties and rigorous schedule become too much to bear, she sneaks away to explore the Eternal City on her own. Disguising herself as a commoner and employing a fictitious name, she meets an American newspaper reporter who feigns ignorance of her true identity to land an exclusive story. But his plan crumbles as the couple tour one of the world's most romantic cities and find themselves falling in love.
The show premiered at the St. Louis MUNY back in 2001, when the show's writer, Paul Blake, was the executive producer of the organization. After tabling the project in favor of others for the past 10+ years, the show was ressurected earlier this year when the Guthrie held a reading of the production back in January, directed by John Miller-Stephany and starring Broadway darling Laura Osnes as Princess Ann and John Behlmann as Joe Bradley (parts now played by Stephanie Rothenberg and Edward Watts).
Now, it seems the production may be making its way east, with an aspiring eye for Broadway. According to a report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, "Blake always has hoped to get "Roman Holiday" into New York. He feels the work he and Miller-Stephany have done gets him much closer to that goal. He said there is interest and financing, but he wants to find the right medium-sized Broadway house."
Says Blake in the Star Tribune: "We have every intention of moving into New York... I've talked to [Broadway powers] the Nederlanders; they're interested in it. I think Jimmy [Nederlander] Junior is coming out to see it. It's just a matter of timing right now and finding the right theater."
For the full report in the Star Tribune, click here.
In the Guthrie production, taking on the role of the Countess, Princess Anne’s watchful lady-in-waiting, is Michelle Barber (Guthrie: Caroline, or Change). Jim Stanek is Bradley’s sidekick and photographer friend Irving Radovich. Stanek has appeared in a myriad of Broadway productions including Lestat and Little Women. Christina Baldwin plays Francesca Scabulo, the sultry Italian singer who dates Radovich. Baldwin was most recently seen on the Guthrie’s stage as Buttercup in last summer’s blockbuster musical H.M.S. Pinafore.
Roman Holiday also includes a 21-member ensemble featuring David Anders, Matt Baker, Liam Benzvi (University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program—class of 2012), Joseph Bigelow (BFA Actor Training Program—class of 2013), David Anthony Brinkley (Guthrie: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), David Colacci, Drew Franklin, Gabriela Garcia, Michael Gruber, Linda Talcott Lee, Ann Michels (Guthrie: A Streetcar Named Desire), Jared Oxborough, Aaron Lloyd Pomeroy, Laura Rudolph, Lainie Sakakura, John Skelley (Guthrie: Hay Fever), Alan Sorenson, Peter Thomson (Guthrie: Charley’s Aunt), Angela Timberman (Guthrie: The Birds), Tony Vierling (Guthrie: Little House on the Prairie), Alexandra Zorn, Lee Mark Nelson (Guthrie: The Burial at Thebes) and Christian DeMarais, Marc Oka, Carolyn Doherty and Janet Hayes Trow in their Guthrie debuts.