Italo smash based on Par pic ready to travel
ROME — Half a century after William Wyler shot “Roman Holiday” in the Eternal City, “Roman Holiday,” the stage musical, is doing boffo biz in Italy.The classic 1953 Paramount pic about a princess gone AWOL has been retooled as an Italo stage musical by veteran legit impresario and helmer Pietro Garinei. After a two-month sellout run, Garinei is boasting likely international travel for what has become a successful song-filled ode to the Italian capital. After securing Italo stage rights from Paramount, Garinei adapted a U.S. stage version penned by Paul Blake for St. Louis’ MUNY — where in 2001 it ran six times in the summer arena. In the Italo version, Garinei — who is the man behind many local hit musicals — has made the American journo who cavorts with the princess a Roman hack named Gianni, and replaced most of the Cole Porter songs in Blake’s libretto with original numbers by indigenous tunesmith Armando Trovaioli. According to co-producer Fabrizio Celestini, the Italo musical version, titled “Vacanze Romane — il musical” is drawing interest from Germany, France, Spain, Latin America and even from Broadway. “There’s more Rome in this one, and that’s exactly what they (international impresarios) like about it,” claims Garinei. He says that, besides licensing the property internationally for the stage, Par is also considering “a musical film from this story.” That may well be wishful thinking. Yet recently spotted during a packed perf of the tuner was Viacom Entertainment Group’s exec VP Tom McGrath, who is also Paramount Entertainment topper. Show, which stars local stage and TV thesp Serena Autieri and movie star Massimo Ghini, moved from Rome earlier this month to Milan’s Teatro Nazionale. It is booked for a four-month run in several Italian cities and is then skedded to return to Rome next November.