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My Fair Lady
a Musical
CATEGORY : MUSICAL
by Lerner & Loewe

COMPANY : City of the South Theatricals
VENUE : Cumming Playhouse [WEBSITE]
ID# 4899

SHOWING : April 28, 2016 - May 22, 2016

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

This Lerner and Loewe 1957 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical is based on George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 play “Pygmalion” and is the basis for the 1964 Academy Award-winning film starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison.

Story:

Eliza Doolittle, a rough Cockney girl, meets Colonel Pickering and Henry Higgins in Covent Garden where she’s selling flowers. When Higgins remarks that he could help Eliza speak properly and raise her status in the community, Pickering challenges him to do so and Eliza takes him up on the offer. Though difficult and frustrating for both Eliza and Higgins at first, the lessons soon begin to work wonders, and produce results that neither predicted .

A stellar cast of young local artists with voices you will not believe. This will be a fine show for all members of the family and we musically and with humor revisit the age old question of which holds the greatest impact on a persons’ ultimate outcome – heredity or environment.

This show presented by City of the South Theatre under the Direction of Anthony Smithey.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Tony Smithey
Mrs. Higgins Annie Cook
Eliza Doolittle Glenda Tibbals Gray
Zoltan Karpathy Tim Link
Freddy Eynsford-Hill Orlando Carbajal Rebollar, Jr.
Henry Higgins Tony Smithey
Colonel Pickering Jody Woodruff
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REVIEWS

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My Fair Costumes
by playgoer
Sunday, May 15, 2016
4.0
In a Tony Smithey production, you can count on the costumes being something special. The Cumming Playhouse’s "My Fair Lady" is no exception. Where else would you see Eliza Doolittle completely change outfits between each verse of "The Rain in Spain?"

Mr. Smithey is playing triple duty in this production. Besides being the costumer, he is also the director and the male star, playing Henry Higgins. His Higgins is the most genial I have seen, full of laughs and smiles, although he transitions to true emotion at the end of the show. As a director, he has wisely chosen to offload some of Higgins’ moments to Colonel Pickering (the handsome and talented Jody Woodruff).

When a show has Annie Cook as musical director and piano accompanist, you can depend on the musical aspects of the show being first-rate. "My Fair Lady" is no exception. Some small alterations in the script have been made to allow her to also play Mrs. Higgins, Henry’s mother, and she does that with great comic timing and panache.

Comedy is also in the forefront in the performance of Glenda Gray as Eliza Doolittle. That’s not to say there are any vocal shortcomings in her performance of the songs; on the contrary, she has a lovely, pure voice. She’s not a wan ingénue in the role, but a strong woman attempting to make her own way in life, with lovely comic reactions to some of the hiccups in her journey.

The chorus members all do fine work, and the female-heavy ensemble is used to terrific effect throughout. Ms. Gray is credited as musical staging director rather than as choreographer, and there’s not a lot of what could be called all-out dancing. Movement during the songs incorporates dance steps, but they are perfectly suited to the capabilities of the cast. There’s visual liveliness in the group numbers, but just enough to keep things from seeming static. "The Embassy Waltz" is omitted, replaced by a reprise of "I Could Have Danced All Night, sung by Mrs. Pearce (the sweet-voiced Kelsey South), but it’s not really missed.

Mr. Smithey’s staging makes wonderful use of the stage and the wide center aisle in the auditorium. A flower stall is a permanent fixture far stage right, and Ms. Cook’s piano is far left. Near each of them are white garden tables and chairs, used for various scenes. The main portion of the stage is backed either by the bookcases of Henry Higgins’ library or by a view of London buildings. Curtains are drawn or distracting action occurs elsewhere to make scene transitions seamless. Gabe Russo’s set design and Mr. Smithey’s blocking work hand-in-hand to pleasing effect.

Kyle Johnson’s sound design is lovely, matching live piano and recorded piano music perfectly. His lighting design works well too, with just a touch of uneven lighting at the edges of the stage when a scene uses its full width. The panoply of costumes sparkles in the bright light, amazing with its variety and range, not to mention the quickness of changes. The only costume problem, as it were, is that the flower vendors’ costumes at the start of the show are so colorful and charming that there’s no distinction between the flower vendors and opera-goers outside Covent Garden.

The supporting players generally do fine work, although I did seem to detect a bit of a lack of energy in the performance of TJ Johns as Alfred P. Doolittle. That’s more than compensated for by the vocal brilliance of Orlando Carbajal Rebollar as Freddy Eynsford-Hill. It’s difficult to imagine "On the Street Where You Live" sounding any better than it does at the Cumming Playhouse. Mr. Rebollar and Ms. Gray may not be matched well in age, but the problem of unrealistic age differentials doesn’t really matter in a production where the emotions are true and the action keeps moving, as at the Cumming Playhouse. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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