Recent openings: 'The Student Prince,' 'Les Miserables' and 'The Forgotten Carols'

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In Sigmund Romberg's famous American operetta, the title character, Prince Karl Franz, has enrolled incognito in Heidelberg University. There he hopes to learn how to be a prince as well as a student. Love, of course, is one of the less official lessons as his affection for a commoner sobers him up to the renunciations that royalty requires. "The Student Prince" opened in 1924 to become the longest running musical attraction to that date. It became a 1954 Hollywood hit starring Edmund Purdom (with Mario Lanza's voice) and Ann Blythe. It's still treasured for such numbers as "Deep in My Heart" and "The Drinking Song." Opening Saturday, Dec. 22, in a revival by Light Opera Works to be staged by L. Walter Stearns, the production features New York's Colm Fitzmaurice as the prince and Meredith Barber as his love, Kathie.

OTHER OPENINGS

"A CHRISTMAS CAROL": Continuing through Christmas Eve, this eighth edition of Michael Halberstam's solo performance of his adaptation of Dickens' classic dispenses with props, sets or costumes. Employing only the original illusion upon which Dickens depended, it concentrates on the power and magic of the original text.

"LES MISERABLES": Opening Wednesday, Dec. 26, the legendary 1985 musical returns to Chicago for six weeks. Randal Keith heads the company as the fugitive convict Jean Valjean, whose tragic reformation fuels Victor Hugo's timeless 19th Century classic. Joseph Mahowald depicts Valjean's implacable nemesis, Inspector Javert. Jayne Paterson is the doomed Fantine.

"THE FORGOTTEN CAROLS": Glenn Yarbrough at Hemmens Cultural Center, 150 Dexter Ct., Elgin; 847-931-5900: On Saturday, Dec. 22 only, the pop-folk tenor, who resembles Santa Claus, will depict an eccentric gentleman whose most prized possessions are six handmade ornaments; each tells in story and song of a "forgotten" character of the Christmas story.

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