by Stephanie Audette
If you googled the name ‘Audrey Hepburn,’ about 23,300,000 results would show up. Talk about popular. Judging by the plethora of Hepburn posters (particularly from her stint in Breakfast at Tiffany’s) in every girl’s dorm room, it’s never been more in vogue to claim the Belgian-born movie star as an idol—fashion or otherwise. Her timeless style continues to influence generations and now devotees can go to the Guthrie Theater for a dose of culture and class.
The musical now playing on the theater’s McGuire Proscenium stage has nailed the look and feel of the iconic 1953 film that shot Audrey Hepburn to stardom. With the larger-than-life sets and mid-century costumes, John Miller-Stephany’s production takes Minneapolitans on a Roman holiday—minus the gelato.
Set designer Todd Rosenthal and costume designer Mathew LeFebvre make quite the artistic team. Between the impressive Trevi Fountain and the feminine skirts, I truly felt like I was getting a glimpse of Rome in the 1950s. While the whole cast rocked the retro look, Stephanie Rothenberg’s Princess Anne was the standout. Aside from sharing Hepburn’s delicate features, Rothenberg channeled the Hollywood darling with her classic ensemble. A full, tweed skirt paired with a fitted blouse mimicked the original getup donned by Hepburn in the film. The whole thing reminded me of Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2010 campaign (read: feminine silhouettes).
I’m no theater buff but as far as I could tell, the acting and singing seemed to do the story justice. Here are some highlights I noted:
- Best scene: All-American journalist Joe Bradley (played by Edward Watts) rescues a heavily sedated Princess Anne and brings her back to his apartment, which she mistakenly thinks is the elevator.
- Best character: Francesca Scabula, played by the immensely talented Christina Baldwin. Her Italian sass and accent stole the show.
- Cheesy but necessary: Joe and Princess Anne see the sights of Rome on a Vespa scooter. This part of the play stayed true to the original romantic comedy and embodies every girl’s vision of herself on a whirlwind European adventure (perched on the back of a cute boy’s moped on the windy, cobblestone streets of some old romantic city).
Even more than the singing and dancing (a new addition to the original film), what I really enjoyed most about the spectacle was the attention to detail from a strictly visual perspective. Superficial? Maybe a little. Go see the play for yourself and see if you agree with me.
Public rush tickets are $25-30, depending on the day. guthrietheater.org