Rudolf is a musical conceived for the stage by Frank Wildhorn and Steve Cuden, with a book by Jack Murphy and Phoebe Hwang, lyrics by Murphy, additional lyrics by Nan Knighton, and music by Frank Wildhorn. Arrangements by Koen Schoots and orchestrations by Kim Scharnberg. It is about Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria and his extramarital relationship with Baroness Mary Vetsera. Their 1889 deaths at his Mayerling hunting lodge apparently were the result of a murder-suicide pact, although historians have debated this explanation.
Loosely based on the book A Nervous Splendor: Vienna 1888-1889 by Frederic Morton, the musical was developed under the working titles Vienna, Affäre Mayerling (The Mayerling Affair), and Rudolf - The Last Kiss. The pressures of the monarchy have fallen upon Rudolf's shoulders, he is in political and personal conflict with his father, Emperor Franz Joseph, and his marriage to Princess Stéphanie of Belgium is crumbling when he meets and falls in love with the 17-year-old baroness. Their secret liaison doesn't escape the attention of prime minister Eduard Taaffe, who hopes to use his knowledge of the affair to destroy Rudolf's political career.
Rudolf was given a reading in New York City on December 16, 2005 with Rob Evan as Rudolf, Brandi Burkhardt as Mary, and Michael Shawn Lewis as Taafe. As a co-production of Vereinigte Bühnen Wien, the Budapest Operetta Theater, and the Szeged Open-Air Festival, it had its world premiere in a Hungarian translation at the Operett Színház in Budapest on May 26, 2006, followed by an outdoor staging that opened in Szeged on July 28. Since then, the production has alternated between the two venues, playing in Budapest during the winter months and in Szeged for the summer season.
Rudolf was directed by Miklós Gábor Kerényi and choreographed by Michael Reardon, Éva Duda, Jenõ Lõcsei, and László Rogács. Musical Direction by Koen Schoots. Gergely Zöldi translated the book, and the Hungarian lyrics are by Zöldi, MG Kerényi, and Szilárd Somogyi. The original cast included Attila Dolhai as Rudolf, Bernadett Vágó as Mary, Tamás Földes as Taaffe, and Attila Németh as Franz Joseph.
A Vienna production opened at the Raimund Theater on February 26, 2009 directed by David Leveaux and starring Drew Sarich as Rudolf, Lisa Antoni as Mary, and Uwe Kröger as Taaffe. The cast album for this production was released at the beginning of April 2009. A complete professionally shot version of the Vienna production was released on DVD in October 2009. (Formally September 11, 2009). A complete cast album was released in December 2009. The complete cast album contained the changes to the score and the music left unrecorded on the first cast album. The production closed on January 24, 2010.
A second Hungarian production opened on December 10, 2010 in Pécs. The show was directed by Szilárd Somogyi (assistant director of the original Hungarian production), with Zoltán Bókai as musical director and conductor. In the leading roles: Dénes Kocsis/Árpád Zsolt Mészáros as Rudolf, Anna Györfi/Bernadett Vágó as Mary, Ádám Ottlik/Attila Götz as Taaffe, Dávid Pirgel/ András P. Petőcz as Pfeiffer, Veronika Nádasi/Éva Várhelyi as Stephanie and Katalin Stubendek as Larisch. ((As known, the Hungarian musical theatre doesn't work like lead artist/understudy/standby, but both (or all three) casts are equal.)) Major changes showed up in the interpretation of the songs, and in some places the order of the scenes changed drastically. The opening night was a success, and since then the show is on the repertoire of the National Theatre of Pécs.
Original Hungarian Production Song list
^ English lyrics by Nan Knightnon (Originally from The Scarlet Pimpernel)
Austrian Production Song List