Roman Holiday in a Roman city

A NEW Cole Porter opens in the Roman city of Bath, based on the Academy Award-winning film, Roman Holiday, receives its UK premiere at the city’s Theatre Royal, opening on Saturday 10th June and running to Saturday 1st July.

The multi-award-winning film classic, which made a worldwide star of Audrey Hepburn, has been transformed into a thrilling stage musical. West End and Broadway star Michael D Xavier and Rebecca Collingwood lead an 18-strong cast in the stage show, which combines Italian chic and European glamour with the timeless music of Cole Porter, including the songs Easy to Love, You Do Something to Me, In the Still of the Night, Just One of Those Things and Night and Day.

Roman Holiday follows a youthful princess and an American journalist on a 24-hour adventure through the delights of the Italian capital. Visiting Rome on a good-will tour, Ann escapes from the watchful eye of her chaperone and meets Jo,e who offers to show her around the city.

Meanwhile, Joe’s editor has demanded a story about a missing princess. Through the course of one charming day and eventful night in Rome, Ann and Joe grow closer, but will true romance blossom before Ann has to return to her royal duties?

The show has been adapted for the stage by Kirsten Guenther and Paul Blake, who co-wrote the stage version of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. It is directed by BAFTA and Ivor Novello Award-winning Jeremy Sams, with choreography by 2023 Olivier Award winner Matt Cole and Jane McMurtrie, the team behind Disney’s Newsies.

Among the career highlights of Michael D Xavier (Joe) are starring in Sunset Boulevard on Broadway opposite Glenn Close, starring in Hal Prince’s Prince of Broadway, taking the lead role of Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady on a UK tour last year, and West End appearances including Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera and Sir Galahad in Monty Python’s Spamalot.

Rebecca Collingwood (Ann) has appeared in Much Ado About Nothing for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Love’s Labour’s Lost at Chichester Festival Theatre and Widower’s Houses in the West End.

Richenda Carey, who plays the role of the Countess, was last seen at the Theatre Royal in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in 2022. The cast also includes Tim Frances, Adrian der Gregorian, Tania Mathurin, Gabrielle Cocca, Francis Dee, Maya de Faria, Joshua Gibbons, Bethany Huckle, Heather Jackson, Ediz Mahmut, Max Mirza, Mia Mullarkey, Josh Patel-Foster, George Renshaw and Ollie Selwood.

Roman Holiday, which starred Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn, was released in 1953. Directed by William Wyler, it won multiple Academy Awards and has remained a firm favourite ever since.

Photographs by Matt Cardy