The Sleeping Prince: An Occasional Fairy Tale

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The Sleeping Prince: An Occasional Fairy Tale is a play by Terence Rattigan (1911-1977) [1].

More commonly known simply as The Sleeping Prince.

The original text

Written to coincide with the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953, the play is set in London in 1911 and tells the story of Mary Morgan, a young actress, who meets and ultimately captivates Prince Charles of Carpathia. The work is considered to be inspired by Carol II of Romania.

It was first produced at the Phoenix Theatre, London on November 5, 1953, directed by Laurence Olivier and featuring Vivien Leigh and himself and in New York at the Coronet Theatre on Broadway in November and December 1956, directed by Michael Redgrave and featuring Barbara Bel Geddes and himself.

Translations and adaptations

The play was adapted by Rattigan and filmed in 1957 as The Prince and the Showgirl[2], produced by Marilyn Monroe and directed by Laurence Olivier and featuring Monroe and Olivier in the leads.

The play was adapted into a musical called The Girl Who Came to Supper[3], with a book by Harry Kurnitz and music and lyrics by Noël Coward, which premiered on Broadway in 1963.

Performance history in South Africa

1956: Staged by the Johannesburg Reps for Leonard Schach's Cockpit Players in September as The Reps' Johannesburg Festival production, directed by Minna Schneier with Moira Lister and Joss Ackland in the cast. Designs by Anthony Farmer(?).

1969 Performed as the opening production of the George Arts Theatre in the town of George.

1987: Performed by NAPAC, directed by Geoffrey Sutherland with inter alia Anne Power, Ken Jackson, designed by Penny Simpson, staged at The Natal Playhouse.

1989(?) Maralyn Monroe Theatre The sleeping prince Geoffrey Sutherland

2019: Performed from 6 to 14 April by the George Arts Theatre, as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, directed by Ilze Tulleken, with Alicia van Zyl as Mary Morgan and Aidan Hyland as Charles Prince Regent of Carpathia.


Theatre programme (Reps production) held by NELM: [Collection: FARMER, Anthony]: 2007. 18. 13. 1122.

Tucker, 1997. p.98. (Reps production, 1956).

Lantern, 36 (2). 16. (NAPAC production).

Theatre programme for the NAPAC 1987 production, accompanied by newspaper review clippings held by NELM: [Collection: KORT, Maurice]: 2012. 379. 36. 25.

"George Society of Arts reawakens The Sleeping Prince after 50 years", The Gremlin/George News (March 26, 2019)[4]

"Theatre Celebrates 50th Birthday", The George Herald:Tuesday, 19 February 2019[5]

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