The stage version of Lerner and Loewe's smash musical hit Gigi is being heavily revived in Austria these days.
The Landestheater in Linz had its opening night of Gigi on December 14. About a month later, on Jan. 17, the same show will be staged by the Stadtheater in Baden, a health-resort about 20 miles outside of Vienna.
The film version of Gigi is still one of the most-beloved movie musicals of all time, having been decorated with nine Oscars after its release in 1958.
Stage versions, however, did not have the same appeal. The Broadway (1973) and West End (1985/86) productions closed respectively after three and seven months.
Despite the wafer-thin plot, songs like "Thank Heaven For Little Girls," "The Night They Invented Champagne" and "I Remember It Well" are still weighty reasons for revivals. In Linz, the cast of the Landestheater features Wilfried Steiner, who also directs, as Honor Lachailles, Daniel Pascal as Gaston and Ursula Ruhs as Gigi.
The Stadtheater in Baden, whose former productions include Oklahoma and Funny Girl, can boast a much-beloved lead. Peter Minich has been the darling at Vienna's premier operetta house, the Volksoper, for several decades. His Honor is surrounded by Charles Elkins as Gaston, Barbara Karolyi as Gigi and Guggi Loewinger as Alicia. Minich and Loewinger have shared the stage of the Volksoper and their private lives for years.
Landestheater Linz: Tickets can be ordered at +43-732-7311100. Performance dates: Jan. 5,17,30, and Feb. 7,19,24,27.
Stadtheater Baden: Tickets at +43-2252-48547. Performances from Jan. 17 to Feb. 8.
-- By Bernd Freimueller