The Paper Mill Playhouse production of The Student Prince starring Brandon Jovanovich and Christiane Noll, opens its seven-week run at New Jersey's State Theatre on April 12. Directed by Robert Johanson, the show runs through May 27.
The classic tale of forbidden romance includes such memorable songs as "Deep in My Heart," "Golden Days," "The Drinking Song" and "Serenade."
The Student Prince stars Christiane Noll, who will play a barmaid, Kathie, who falls for Prince Karl Franz in Heidelberg. Franz will be played by Brandon Jovanovich. The company also includes Jane Connell (Lend Me a Tenor, Crazy for You, Mame) as Grand Duchess Anastasia, Glory Crampton as Princess Margaret, Metropolitan Opera star Jerome Hines as Dr. Engel and the indefatigable Eddie Bracken (Paper Mill's Show Boat) as Old Josef. The cast of 40 also features Susan Spiedel (Gretchen) with Bill Bateman, Bill Bowers, Benjamin Brecher, Charles Goff, Steve Hogle, Robert Longo, William McCauley, and William Whitefield.
The famous 1924 operetta was composed by Sigmund Romberg and lyricist-librettist Dorothy Donnelly.
The Student Prince in Heidelberg, the formal title of the work, along with Rose Marie, The Desert Song and The New Moon, is often pointed to as a bridge between European-influenced operetta and American musical theatre. Composer Romberg (1887-1951) was born in Hungary but came to the United States in 1909. This is the ninth time Paper Mill has revived The Student Prince (tying The Desert Song as Paper Mill's most-produced musical play). The script for the upcoming staging has been revised by Jerome Chodorov (Wonderful Town) and Johanson, with lyric revisions by Albert Evans.
"Paper Mill audiences have been asking repeatedly when we would bring back this beloved musical," said Producer Angelo Del Rossi. "We hope The Student Prince will serve as a reminder, as well as introduce a whole new generation of theatregoers to the ‘golden days’ of beautiful theatre music."
The Student Prince production team also features production designer Michael Anania, costume designer David Murin and lighting designer Kirk Bookman.
The Student Prince first opened on Broadway at Jolson’s 59th Street Theatre on Dec. 2, 1924. First filmed as a silent in 1927 with Ramon Novarro and Norma Shearer, and later in 1954 with Ann Blyth and Edmund Purdom, the show had 608 original Broadway performances. The Student Prince was also the longest-running musical of the 1920s, with as many as nine touring companies of the production active in the United States.
Brandon Jovanovich has performed at Opera San Jose, Chautauqua, Sante Fe and Chicago Opera Theater. He recently appeared as Don Jose in Carmen at France’s Opera de Bordeaux. His performances in New York include Gilbert & Sullivan Players, The Pirates of Penzance and H.M.S. Pinafore .
Christiane Noll, a New Jersey native, grew up watching Paper Mill musicals. Her Broadway credits include Jekyll & Hyde, It Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues and the revival ofGrease. Other NYC credits include workshops of Femme Fatale, Barry Manilow’s Harmony, York Theatre Company’s Kean and Little by Little.
The Paper Mill Playhouse is located on Brookside Drive in Millburn, New Jersey. Tickets are $30 - $60. For information call (973) 376-4343 or visit www.papermill.org.
-- By Murdoch McBride