Book adapted by Hugh Wheeler
Music by Sigmund Romberg
Stage Directed & Choreographed by Rudy Hogenmiller
Conducted by Roger L. Bingaman
Produced by Light Opera Works
At Cahn Auditorium, Evanston
Fun, nostalgic and musically enchanting production of the classic – The Student Prince
Sigmund Romberg (1887 – 1951) was an American composer deeply into the European tradition of operetta as in the Viennese operettas of Franz Lehár. Among his works that were filmed by MGM with Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald – The Desert Song and The New Moon. His 1924, The Student Prince running for 608 performances, the longest-running Broadway show of the 1920s. Even the classic Show Boat, the most enduring musical of the 1920s, did not play as long – it ran for 572 performances! This wonderful, endearing, even nostalgic, operetta is in good hands with Rudy Hogenmiller and the creative team at Light Opera Works.
Featuring the golden tenor from William Bennett , as the Prince, and the fine soprano from Danielle M. Knox, as Kathy, Light Opera Work’s production of the classic 20th Century Romberg gem is spirited, glamorous looking and stunningly well- sung affair. The fun begins as Karl Franz, (William Bennett) the prince of the (fictitious) German kingdom of Karlsberg heads to University of Heidelberg for an education and to experience the ‘real world’ filled with male bonding and a few beers. Romberg’s “Drinking Song” was a Prohibition 1924 hit song!
Filled with sentimental ballads, toe-tapping marches, beer-mug swinging pub songs and sweeping waltzes as well as stirringly nostalgic love songs, The Student Prince is sweetly light fare with terrific comic relief by the venerable Dale Benson as the goofy Lutz, the Prince’s valet. Victorian Central Europe looks so romantic with all the colorful military uniforms and lush gowns that one yearns back to the those innocent times.
Romberg’s music ambitiously captures the era as it fills the auditorium with a fine variety of European melodies with hints of Bavarian drinking tunes as well as heart-wrenching nostalgic harmonies. The voices as strong, the ensemble is first-class and the charm exudes as Karl Franz moves from boy to man. He learns that love must come after responsibility to the state. Along the way, we are enchanted with his charming world.
Light Opera Work’s entertaining 2 hour, 45 minute production soars with the 26 member orchestra conducted deftly by Roger L. Bingaman. It is so refreshing to witness classic operettas and musicals performed exactly as the originals! Light Opera Works proudly cherishes and respects these works- and it shows! Take your teens to see this wonderful look back into the world of early 20th Century operetta. They’ll experience something they’ll remember. It is important that we continue to expose each generation to the gems of the past. This production is worthy of that honor.
At Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson Street, Evanston, IL, call 847-869-6300, www.musictheaterworks.com, tickets $32 – $92, Wednesday, august 24 at 2 pm, Friday, August 26 at 8 pm, Saturday, August 27 at 8 pm, Sunday, August 28 at 2 pm, running time is 2 hours, 45 minutes with 2 intermissions.