The Student Prince

Full-Length Musical, Melodrama  /  4w, 9m

Dorothy V. Donnelly, Sigmund Romberg

Book and Lyrics by Dorothy V. Donnelly / Music by Sigmund Romberg

Sigmund Romberg's romantic operetta is a melodramatic tale of a young royal who attends university and falls for a commoner.

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    4w, 9m
  • Duration
    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Appropriate for all audiences
The Student Prince


Karl Franz, prince of the kingdom of Karlsberg, has grown up sheltered and under tutors. Since childhood, he has been engaged to Princess Margaret. His grandfather, the king, sends him to improve his social skills as a regular student at the venerable University of Heidelberg. Karl and his entourage take up quarters at a local inn, and helped by new friends, Detlef, Lucas, and Von Asterberg, the prince soon starts enjoying student life. He also falls in love with Kathie, the innkeeper’s niece, and the couple considers eloping. But when Prince Karl learns that his grandfather is dying, he realizes that he must return to Karlsberg to become the new king, and to honor the arranged marriage which neither he nor the princess wants.

The Student Prince opening on Broadway at Jolson’s 59th Street Theatre on December 2, 1924, starring Howard Marsh and Roberta Beatty. The show became the longest-running show of that decade, playing for 608 performances. It was revived twice on Broadway, in 1931 and in 1943, and at the New York City Opera in 1988.


Prince Karl Franz is heir to the (fictitious) German kingdom of Karlsberg. He has grown up fatherless, under rather gloomy military conditions of castle life ("By our bearing so sedate"). He has been educated by tutors, including the kindly Doctor Engel, who has taught him the songs of his alma mater, the venerable University of Heidelberg ("Golden Days"). Karl Franz has been promised in marriage, since childhood, to the Princess Margaret, but he has never met her. His grandfather, King Ferdinand, sends him to the University incognito, to live as an ordinary student, and improve his social skills. Karl Franz sets off under the watchful eye of Doctor Engel, accompanied by his snooty valet Lutz, who has his own assistant, Hubert.

Act I

At Heidelberg, Herr Ruder keeps the rustic Inn of Three Gold Apples ("Garlands Bright"). His beautiful niece Kathie waits tables in the inn's beer-garden. The inn is very popular with the students, who come there to drink and sing ("Drink! Drink! Drink!" and "To the Inn We're Marching"). Karl Franz, the finicky Lutz, and Hubert arrive for the spring term and take rooms at the Three Gold Apples, to the delight of Engel and the disgust of Lutz ("In Heidelberg Fair," "Welcome to Prince"). He falls in love, almost at first sight, with Kathie, who returns his affection ("Deep in My Heart, Dear"). But he is a royal heir, and she is a commoner.

Karl Franz also makes friends with three students: Detlef, Lucas and von Asterberg. They share the camaraderie of student life, with nights of enthusiastic drinking and singing ("Overhead the Moon is Beaming"). Karl joins their student corps ("Come Sir, Will You Join Our Noble Saxon Corps?").

Act II

As the term passes, Karl Franz and his friends continue to enjoy student life ("Farmer Jacob Lay-a-Snoring", "Students' Life"). By the end of the term, Karl Franz and Kathie are deeply in love.

But then Karl Franz receives a surprise visit from Princess Margaret and her mother. They bring news that the king is ill and commands the prince to return home for the ceremony of betrothal to the princess. After they leave, Karl Franz and Kathie consider eloping to Paris. But Doctor Engel and Count Von Mark (the prime minister of Karlsberg) remind the prince of his duty to his kingdom. Karl Franz reluctantly agrees to obey the king's command. He promises Kathie that he will return soon ("Farewell, Dear"). He takes leave of his friends ("Thoughts Will Come Back to Me"), and the students salute the University ("Gaudeamus Igitur").


Back in Karlsberg, two years pass, with Karl Franz unable to return to Heidelberg. His grandfather has died, and Karl Franz is now King. His life is bound up in court ceremony ("Waltz Ensemble"). Princess Margaret has also had a secret relationship with another man, Captain Tarnitz ("Just We Two"). But as King, Karl Franz must honor the betrothal to Margaret ("Gavotte"). Margaret knows that Karl Franz has long pined for an old love, and she has heard rumors that in Heidelberg, he fell in love with a tavern keeper's niece.

Word arrives from Heidelberg that Doctor Engel has died there. Karl Franz is persuaded to visit Heidelberg for a brief reunion with his old friends, and he hopes to see Kathie again ("What Memories").

Act IV

Princess Margaret goes to Heidelberg first, and secretly visits Kathie. Margaret persuades her that for the good of the kingdom, she must break off with Karl Franz. They agree that Kathie will tell Karl Franz she is in love with another man and is going to marry him. Karl Franz will then finally be free to accept Margaret, who has come to love him. Meanwhile, the students of Heidelberg continue their merry ways ("Sing a Little Song", "To the Inn We're Marching (reprise)," "Overhead the Moon is Beaming (reprise),","Come Boys, Let's All Be Gay Boys").

Karl Franz arrives, meets his old friends and visits Kathie. True to her promise, she tells him of her fictitious new love and plans to marry. Karl Franz resolves to marry Margaret without further delay, but Kathie will always be his true love (Reprise of "Deep in My Heart, Dear").

(In order of Appearance)

Four Lackeys - Male Quartet
Prime Minister Von Mark - Distinguished man of 60
Doctor Engel (Baritone) - Middle-aged tutor of Karl Franz
Prince Karl Franz (Tenor) - Heir to the throne; a handsome boy of 21
Gretchen (Soprano) - Comedienne; Maid at the Inn of the Three Golden Apples
Ruder (Baritone) - Keeper of the Inn; Uncle of Kathie
Toni - Waiter at the Inn
Lutz - The comic. The Prince’s valet
Hubert - A footman
Count Hugo Detlef (Tenor) - Student, leader of Saxon Corps
Von Asterberg (Tenor) - Student, member of Saxon Corps
Lucas (Bass) - Student, leader of Rheinisher Corps
Kathie (Soprano) - A very cute maid at the Inn, niece of Ruder
Grand Duchess Anastasia - Domineering mother of Princess Margaret
Princess Margaret (Soprano) - Beautiful fiancée of Karl Franz
Captain Tarnitz (Tenor) - Officer attending Princess Margaret
Baron Arnheim - Gentleman of the Court
Countess Leyden - Lady of the Court
Two Guards
Captain of the Guard
Nicholas - Servant at the Inn
Rudolph - Winter Keeper of a livery stable in Vienna. Cousin of Kathie


Lackeys, Waiters and Waitresses at the Inn, Ladies and Gentlemen of the
Court, Students of the Corps, Ladies-in-waiting to the Princess and Flower Girls

  • Time Period 1920s
  • Features Period Costumes
  • Duration More than 120 minutes (2 hours)


Music Samples

Act I

Overture – Orchestra
1. Prologue – Four Lackeys
2. “Golden Days” – Prince, Engel & Chorus
3. “Garlands Bright” – Gretchen, Ruder & Girls
3a. Nicholas’ Pipe – Solo Flute
4. “To The Inn We’re Marching” – Detlef, Von Asterberg, Lucas & Boys
5. “Where Is The Maid?” – Detlef, Von Asterberg, Lucas & Boys
   “Come Boys Let’s All Be Gay” – Kathie, Detlef, Von Asterberg, Lucas & Boys
5a. Reprise: “Where Is The Maid?” – Detlef, Von Asterberg, Lucas & Boys
5b. Exit: “To The Inn We’re Marching” – Boys
6. “Heidelberg, Beloved Vision” – Engel, Prince Karl, Ruder, Kathie, Lutz, Gretchen & 3 Girls
6a. “Gaudeamus Igitur” – Boys
6b. Reprise: “Golden Days” – Engel
7. “Deep In My Heart” – Kathie & Prince Karl
8. Finale Act One – Prince Karl, Kathie, Engel, Detlef, Von Asterberg, Lucas & Boys
   “Overhead The Moon Is Beaming” – Prince Karl, Detlef, Von Asterberg, Lucas & Boys
   Finale Continued – Prince, Lutz, Engel, Detlef, Von Asterberg, Lucas, Hubert, Gretchen, Kathie & Boys
   “Hail Youth And Love” – Prince Karl, Engel, Kathie, Gretchen, Ruder & Ensemble

Act II

9. Introduction – Orchestra
9a. “Farmer Jacob” – Boys
10. “Student Life” – Kathie, Gretchen, Prince, Detlef, Von Asterberg, Lucas & Engel
11. Incidental Music – Orchestra
11a. Flute Solo – Flute
12. Finale Act Two – Prince Karl, Kathie & Engel


13. Opening Act Three & Ballet – Orchestra
13a. Incidental Music – Orchestra
14. Just We Two – Princess, Tarnitz & Men
15. “The Flag That Flies Above Us” – Chorus
16. Finale Act Three – Prince, Engel, Detlef, Von Asterberg, Lucas, Kathie & Boys
16a. Serenade Intermezzo – Orchestra

Act IV

17. “Let Us Sing A Song” – Chorus
18. Incidental Music – Orchestra
19. Finale Act Four – Prince, Detlef, Von Asterberg, Lucas, Kathie & Company
20. Curtain Music – Orchestra
21. March Out – Orchestra

Full Orchestration

Violin I
Violin II

Flute I & II (Flute II doubles Piccolo)
Clarinet I in Bb
Clarinet II in Bb

Horn I & II
Trumpet I & II
Trombone I
Trombone II


Timpani (2 drums)
Bass Drum
Snare Drum
Wood Block

  • Musical Style Operetta
  • Dance Requirements Moderate
  • Vocal DemandsDifficult
  • Orchestra Size Large
  • Chorus Size Large

Licensing & Materials

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Music Rentals

Concord offers a full suite of resources to help you put on the show of a lifetime!
39 Libretto-Vocal Book
1 Piano-Conductor
2 Flute 1&2
1 Oboe
1 Clarinet 1
1 Clarinet 2
1 Bassoon
2 Horn 1&2
2 Trumpet 1&2
1 Trombone 1
1 Trombone 2
1 Percussion
1 Harp
2 Violin 1
1 Violin 2
1 Viola
1 Cello
1 Bass
39 Libretto-Vocal Book
1 Piano-Conductor


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Dorothy V. Donnelly


Sigmund Romberg

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