The lead players have already held informal New York City rehearsals for the Paper Mill Playhouse production of Sigmund Romberg's musical romance, The Student Prince. Full rehearsals begin in late March. The show opens April 12 and runs through May 27 at the Paper Mill, New Jersey's State Theatre.
A Paper Mill spokesperson also indicated that a special preview day may be scheduled for The Student Prince. Meanwhile, the selection of an additional cast member, Susan Speidel was announced.
Stars Christiane Noll and Brandon Jovanovich got together for their early informal rehearsals because Jovanovich knew he will be missing several rehearsals while playing Don Jose in La Tragedie de Carmen with Opera de Bordeaux in March. Though his plans were delayed by the recent snow storm on the east coast, Jovanovich had a busy week, both professionally and personally. Not only did he rehears musical issues with Noll and attend a publicity photo session for the Paper Mill production, he also proposed to his fiance, Cara Welch, before leaving the country to do La Tragedie de Carmen.
* As reported earlier, Student Prince star Christiane Noll, last in Broadway's It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues and known for her vocal work in Jekyll & Hyde, will sing of royalty in the show. Noll will play a barmaid, Kathie, who falls for Prince Karl Franz in Heidelberg.
Prince Karl 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 famous 1924 operetta, by composer Sigmund Romberg and lyricist librettist Dorothy Donnelly, will be helmed by Paper Mill artistic director Robert Johanson.
The Student Prince in Heidelberg, the formal title of the work, played 608 performances when it premiered in New York, in a decade when operetta was in vogue. Along with Rose Marie, The Desert Song and The New Moon, the show is often pointed to as a bridge between European-influenced operetta and American musical theatre. 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.
The classic score includes "The Drinking Song," "Serenade," "Deep in My Heart, Dear" and "Golden Days."
Tom Helm (Paper Mill's Follies) will be musical director.
Noll recently stepped into the blues revue, It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues, and starred in the York Theatre Company's Little By Little. She earned many fans playing good-girl Emma Carew, love of Dr. Jekyll, in Broadway's Jekyll & Hyde.
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