Prince Edward — or, as he likes to be known, Edward Windsor — helped evoke the blithe spirit of playwright-songwriter-performer-personality Noel Coward in New York on Monday. Queen Elizabeth’s youngest child served as special guest at the unveiling of a life-sized bronze statue of “the Master” (1899-1973) held in the south rotunda of the Gershwin Theater. “As we all know, Noel Coward had an incredible talent to amuse,” said Edward (whose voice was hoarse and barely audible, for which he apologized), “and that talent amused everyone across the world.” When a similar statue of Sir Noel was unveiled in London last December, Coward’s great friend the Queen Mum (Edward’s grandmother) did the unveiling. After the New York unveiling, Edward, who had looked slightly pained during performer Steve Ross’ rendition of “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” (Coward’s poke at British sunning habits), rubbed shoulders with Broadway figures from both sides of the Atlantic, including Douglas Fairbanks Jr., who always seemed British. Champagne was served — from California. Very unCoward-ly, that.

  • In other theatrical news involving the Royal Family, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are expected to wax nostalgic this week when they see one of their all-time favorite musicals, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” It was in 1947 that a young Princess Elizabeth saw the first British production with her sister Margaret, who has now seen the hit show a remarkable 27 times in her lifetime. Thursday night’s production, at London’s Lyceum, will bring back memories for the Queen and Prince Philip of their courtship and post-War Britain.
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