The Sleeping Prince (play)

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First edition (publ. Hamish Hamilton 1954)

The Sleeping Prince: An Occasional Fairy Tale is a 1953 play by Terence Rattigan. Set in London in 1911, it tells the story of a young actress, Elsie Marina, who meets and ultimately captivates Prince Charles of Carpathia.

Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh starred in the first production of the play, in the Phoenix Theatre in London's West End on November 5, 1953. It was first performed on Broadway in the Coronet Theatre in November and December 1956, directed by Michael Redgrave, and with a cast including Redgrave, Barbara Bel Geddes and Cathleen Nesbitt.

Marilyn Monroe bought the rights to the play and subsequently produced The Prince and the Showgirl (1957), with Rattigan also writing the screen adaptation. The film was directed by and costarred Olivier, who reprised his role as Prince Charles. Although it was a box office disaster in its day, the New York Times credits Olivier with extracting a "delightful, comic performance" from Monroe.[1]

In 1963 the play was also adapted into a musical as The Girl Who Came to Supper, with music and lyrics by Noël Coward.

Awards and honors[edit]

Original Broadway production[edit]

Year Award ceremony Category Nominee Result
1957 Tony Award Best Costume Design Alvin Colt Nominated