The Guthrie Theater’s latest production, “Roman Holiday,” takes the storyline from the classic 1953 film, and turns it into a musical featuring the songs of Cole Porter.
Critics say the the staging, acting and music more than make up for the lack of a real plot.
Edward Watts (Joe Bradley) and Stephanie Rothenberg (Princess Anne) in the Guthrie Theater’s production of Roman Holiday
What you can expect from Roman Holiday is an entertaining, light-hearted, makes-you-feel-good evening out in one of the most beautiful places in the Twin Cities. Nowhere else this summer can you find so much talent (both on stage and and backstage–Mathew J. LeFebvre’s costumes are simply gorgeous, completely spot-on in period-accuracy, and entertaining on their own [see Francesca's gown in "Just One of Those Things"])–and energy in one place. Yes, you could go see The Avengers or Men in Black: III, but what you should do is spend the extra money on this: what could very well turn into “just one of those nights; one of those fabulous flights; a trip to the moon on gossamer wings; just one of those things.”
The cast of “Roman Holiday” at the Guthrie Theater
Yes, “Roman Holiday” is old, but as the new musical that opened at the Guthrie on Friday ably demonstrates, “old” can be “timeless.” This fragile confection is built with elegance and sophistication around the idea that here we have a fairy tale about escape and impossible love. And try as we might — in our edgy hauteur — we cannot help but appreciate the sleek nostalgia wrapped in a love story. So sue me, I’m sentimental.
Edward Watts (Joe Bradley) and Stephanie Rothenberg (Princess Anne) in the Guthrie Theater’s production of “Roman Holiday”
…although the storyline lacks genuine suspense, the music is lovely — even if some of the song lyrics don’t quite fit the action of the plot…Although this version of “Roman Holiday” doesn’t merit the Academy Awards that the classic movie garnered, it still is a charming way to spend a Twin Cities holiday.
The Guthrie Theater’s production of “Roman Holiday” runs through August 19
So you must make a decision: do you like Porter’s amazing music, and fabulous design, and outstanding acting and singing enough to ignore a garbled and uninvolving story? If so, by all means, see Roman Holiday. You won’t be disappointed.
Have you seen Roman Holiday? If so, what did you think?
All photos by Michael Brosilow