The Czarina

A historical comedy in three acts adapted by Edward Sheldon from the Hungarian play by Melchior Lengyel and Lajos Biro. Opened at the Empire Theatre, New York City, January 31, 1922, and ran for 136 performances. Produced by Charles Frohman, Inc. Staged by Gilbert Miller.

Cast of characters

The Czarina Doris Keane
Annie Jaschikova Lois Meredith
Marie Phyllis Alden
The Chancellor Frederick Kerr
The French Ambassador Ian Keith
Count Alexei Czerny Basil Rathbone
Nicholas Jaschikoff Kenneth Thompson
Ronsky William Devereux
Dymow Richard Malchien
Kaschumowsky Edwin Noel
Malakoff William H. Thompson
Yvonne Blanche Gervais
Maids Jane Page, Miriam Stoddard, Virginia Trabue, Elizabeth Collins
Lackeys William Marr, Bertram Hanauer, Stuart Kemp, Guy Standing Jr., Charles Frank
The action of the play takes place in the Inner Audience Chamber of the Imperial Palace at St. Petersburg in 1965.

Act I An Afternoon in Springtime

Act II Four Weeks Later, in the Summer

Act III Eight Days Later

Rathbone in "The Czarina"

"A comedy of court intrigue and romance built around certain episodes in the life of the amorous Catherine II of Russia. This particular adventure concerns her meeting with the dashing ruffian, Count Alexei Czerny [Rathbone], who rides from the western front to warn her of a noble's plot to dethrone her. The handsome Alexei wins his sovereign's gratitude and likewise her heart, and by her command stays on at court for several weeks. Then he, in turn, humiliated by Catherine's treatment of him as a sort of male mistress, rebels and is condemned to death while the empress turns her come-hither gaze upon the new French  ambassador. She later forgives Alexei, however, pardons him and gives him an estate."
[from The Best Plays of 1921-22, ed. by Burns Mantle (Dodd, Mead and Co., 1922), page 502-503.]


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All original content is Marcia Jessen, 2007