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Exclusive: Laura Osnes & John Belhmann Lead ROMAN HOLIDAY Guthrie Reading

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Exclusive-Laura-Osnes-John-Belhmann-Lead-ROMAN-HOLIDAY-Guthrie-Reading-20010101

BroadwayWorld.com has learned details about a recent reading of the Guthrie Theatre's upcoming production of ROMAN HOLIDAY in Minneapolis. Starring in the reading, directed by John Miller-Stephany were Laura Osnes as Princess Ann and John Behlmann as Joe Bradley. They rest of the reading cast featured many of the area's top local talent. We're told that the reading went quite well, and that the song choices, which of course include some of Porter's biggest hits like "Easy to Love," "Begin the Beguine," "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" and "Riding High" also included many rarely heard gems that 'fit perfectly into the story.' Also in attendance for the staged reading were book writer Paul Blake and other members of the creative team. 

No casting has yet been announced for the production, which will run from June 9 - August 19, 2012 at the Guthrie Theatre, and often casting for readings is not indicative of a final production's cast. 

Earlier press notes about the production stated that "More than 50 years since the endlessly charming Roman Holiday captured the hearts of audiences worldwide, the Guthrie presents a dazzling new musical based on the iconic film, featuring a full scoring of unforgettable tunes by Cole Porter. In this irresistibly sweet romance, a radiant young princess is on a widely publicized European tour. When the demands of her official duties and rigorous schedule become too much to bear, she sneaks away to explore the Eternal City on her own. Disguising herself as a commoner and employing a fictitious name, she meets an American newspaper reporter who feigns ignorance of her true identity to land an exclusive story. But his plan crumbles as the couple tour one of the world's most romantic cities and find themselves falling in love. With one of the most enchanting love stories of all time and soul-stirring music by one of the greatest American songwriters, stamped with the indelibly chic style of the '50s, this magical musical is a sparkling, summery treat not to be missed."

Exclusive: Laura Osnes & John Belhmann Lead ROMAN HOLIDAY Guthrie ReadingLaura Osnes returned to Broadway this fall as Bonnie Parker in Bonnie and Clyde after originating the role at Asolo Repertory Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse (San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Award- Outstanding Lead Female Performance in a Musical). She'll next be seen in New York starring in PIPE DREAM at Encores! and will also star in upcoming readings of the Broadway-bound CINDERELLA. Before that, Osnes starred as Hope Harcourt in the Tony-winning revival of Anything Goes (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Astaire Award nominations) and as Nellie Forbush in Lincoln Center Theatre’s production of South Pacific. She made her Broadway debut as Sandy in the most recent revival of Grease, having won the role on NBC's reality competition "Grease: You're The One That I Want." Her many regional credits include Kim McAfee in Broadway: Three Generations (Kennedy Center).

Exclusive: Laura Osnes & John Belhmann Lead ROMAN HOLIDAY Guthrie ReadingJohn Behlmann is a professional stage and screen actor/writer based in New York City. As an actor, he has appeared on Broadway and Off, and at theaters across the country. Most recently he starred as Richard Hannay in the acclaimed Tony Award™ winning production of The 39 Steps directed by Maria Aitken. He also appeared on Broadway in the Tony Award™ winning production of Journey's End. Beyond New York, he has been seen on stage at some of America's leading theaters including the Kennedy Center, the Shakespeare Theatre, Denver Center Theatre Company, Guild Hall, Portland Center Stage, NY Stage and Film, and the Magic Theater. He has appeared on Television in "The Good Wife", "All My Children", "Guiding Light", and "3 lbs."; and on film in Pretty Bird, Unstoppable, and the Oscar-nominated Revolutionary Road.

Paul Blake recently stepped down as executive producer of the St. louis Muny after 22 seasons and 154 full-scale productions. at The Muny he produced, directed and wrote the world premieres of Sleeping beauty with songs by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and P.G. Wodehouse, Three Coins in the fountain with songs by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Roman Holiday with songs by Cole Porter, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s with songs by Johnny Mercer. Blake has produced national tours of Words and Music with the late Sammy Cahn, an Evening with Jerry Herman starring Jerry Herman, She Loves Me with Pam Dawber and Joel Higgins, and The King and I with Shirley Jones. His regional work includes the award-winning Diamond Lil for San francisco’s A.C.T. as well as Barefoot in the Park starring Shaun Cassidy and Julia Duffy and Mass Appeal with John Travolta and Charles Durning.

Cole Porter was born to a wealthy family in Indiana who wanted him to become a lawyer, but he showed an early talent for music that flourished when he switched from Harvard Law School to Harvard’s Music Department. His first success on broadway was the 1928 musical Paris featuring the well-known songs “Let’s Misbehave” and “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love.” His music and lyrics soon became famous and he was courted by both Broadway and Hollywood. He wrote the hit shows Anything Goes and Kiss Me Kate, which won the Tony award for Best Musical. His film scores included Born to Dance and You’ll Never Get Rich among others. A 1937 horse riding accident crushed both his legs so badly that doctors wanted to amputate but Porter and his wife refused. Pain from that accident stayed with him for the rest of his life but he continued to work and produce hits. 

Photo Credit: Walter McBride/WM Photos

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