Princess Charming is an operetta by composer Albert Szirmai. It was first presented in Hungarian in Budapest as Alexandra. The English libretto by Arthur Wimperis and Lauri Wylie is based on the Hungarian libretto by Franz Martos. The story concerns a young princess who accepts a proposal of marriage from the elderly king of a neighboring country as protection against an uprising by her own subjects. Captain Torrelli, a military officer sent by the king, fears imminent danger to the princess and marries her himself. The officer then escorts her to his king for an annulment, but the couple fall in love and elope.
The operetta premiered in London in 1926 and was revived on Broadway and elsewhere. A 1934 film adaptation was made.
The operetta premiered on London's West End on 21 October 1926. It ran for a very successful 362 performances at the Palace Theatre. The production starred Winnie Melville as Princess Elaine of Novia, John Clarke as Captain Torrelli, W. H. Berry as Albert Chuff, Alice Delysia as Countess Wanda Navaro and George Grossmith, Jr. as King Christian II of Sylvania. It was produced by Robert Courtneidge. The production then toured in Britain.
After a rewrite of the book by Jack Donahue, with additional lyrics by producer Arthur Swanstrom and additional music by Arthur Schwartz, the work was presented on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre on October 13, 1930, closing after 56 performances on November 29, 1930. The production starred Jeanne Aubert as Wanda Navarro, Grossmith as King Christian II of Elyria, and Victor Moore as Irving Huff. Two up-and-coming entertainers were in smaller roles, Howard St. John as the king's aid and Ernest McChesney as the second footman.
Roles and original cast
- Wanda Navarro – Jeanne Aubert
- Colette – Irene Bostick
- Ivanoff – Douglass Dumbrille
- Marie – Betty Gallagher
- Baron Sigman – Roy Gordon
- Veronique – Yvonne Grey
- Christian II of Elyria – George Grossmith, Jr.
- Captain Torrelli of the Cruiser Elyria – Robert Halliday
- Princess Elaine of Novia – Evelyn Herbert
- Attorney General – Paul Huber
- Lulu – Dorothea James
- Anastasia – Frances Markey
- Second Lieutenant – Ernest McChesney
- Irving Huff – Victor Moore
- Marguerite – Wilma Roeloff
- Aide de Camp to the King – Howard St. John
The Time Magazine review noted "The fact that it has sparkle and distinction is almost entirely attributable to blithe, blonde, beauteous Jeanne Aubert. As the Princess, Evelyn Herbert ... is luscious-looking, hits good rich notes but experiences difficulty in making the lyrics intelligible."
Steven Suskin wrote that the operetta "was not especially distinguished, though it contained one song hit – the snappy, interpolated 'I Love Love'".
- 1926 London theatre chronology, Guide to Musical Theatre
- "Princess Charming" in The Play Pictorial
- "Princess Charming" at the Modern Theatre site
- "The Theatre: New Plays in Manhattan: Oct. 27, 1930", Time Magazine, October 27, 1930
- Suskin, Steven. Show tunes (2000), Oxford University Press US, ISBN 0-19-512599-1, p. 39