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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 22, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 04
Loverly My Fair Lady at Village Theatre in Everett
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Loverly My Fair Lady at Village Theatre in Everett

by Eric Andrews-Katz - SGN A&E Writer

MY FAIR LADY
VILLAGE THEATRE
EVERETT PERFORMING
ARTS CENTER
Through January 31


My Fair Lady is one of the true classics of musical theater. Not only does it provide a beautiful version of the rags-to-riches story, but it also gives audiences the wonderful works of book and lyrics writer Alan Jay Lerner, and the impresario composer, Frederick Loewe. Although quite familiar to most audience members, it is - in the words of the 'Queen of Transylvania' - 'Charming. Simply Charming.'

The story - in this case - is usually known by almost every person planning on attending the musical. However, that doesn't take anything away from this production. Outside a church in London, a poor, Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, overhears a boast from Henry Higgins, a professor of linguistics and phonetics, saying how in six months, he could change this 'squashed cabbage leaf' of a girl into a duchess ready for society. His collegue, Colonel Pickering, accepts the challenge and the two men start off on the magical transformation. After a few mishaps, Eliza is brought to the Embassy Ball and passes, not only as a princess, but also as a newly fully emerged woman.

The main leads of this production do excellent work. Mark Anders is perfect as the stuffy, 'confirmed old bachelor' (a term meaning 'homosexual' according to the International Movie Data Base), Henry Higgins. His singing voice is well suited for the character, and Anders presents Higgins with a sense of humanity despite the prig attitude (the way its written) of the professor. Dan Kremer is Colonel Hugh Pickering, and Higgins' partner in crime for Eliza's transformation. He is more for comic relief and Mr. Kremer does a great job as 'second banana' for Higgins. Allison Standley is the Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle. Her voice is almost as strong as her stage presence, and that says something in deed. She handles the songs and lyrics very well, including an awesome High C at the end of 'I Could Have Danced All Night.' Ms. Standley brings a slight attitude to Eliza's transformation giving the role a small nuance of new life; that is how an actor should handle a classical role, by embracing the character and finding subtly different ways to portray her.

John Patrick Lowrie plays the dustman, and Eliza's father, Alfred P. Doolittle. Mr. Lowrie completely imbibes this lovable, and crowd-pleasing character. His voice is perfect for the role and his comic timing is right on queue. Whether he is clowning it up with 'With a Little Bit of Luck,' or leading the group number 'Get Me to the Church on Time,' Mr. Lowrie creates this philosophical man of the gutter, and breathes much life into the character. Brian Yorkey is the director of this production. Pulitzer Prize winning author of Next to Normal, and the highly acclaimed If/Then, Mr. Yorkey proves once again he has a sharp eye for direction as much as for writing. There is no stealing of focus from any of the ensemble, and the entire cast (minor roles as well as leads) are all excellent in their performances.

The Village Theatre's production of My Fair Lady is appearing at the Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Avenue, Everett WA. For ticket information, contact the box office at (425) 257-8600 or visit www.villagetheatre.org.



My Fair Lady is truly one of the great musicals from the 'Golden Age.' First opening in London (with Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle, Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins, and Stanley Holloway as Alfred P Doolittle), the show moved to Broadway on March 15, 1956 with almost all the leading actors recreating their roles. The show would run on Broadway for over six years and 2717 performances. The musical was originally nominated for 10 Tony Awards in the 1957 Season, winning six of them including Best Actor in a Musical for Rex Harrison (Julie Andrews would lose to Judy Holliday in Bells Are Ringing), and Best Outstanding Musical of the year.

The 1964 film version had both Rex Harrison and Stanley Holloway recreating their London/Broadway roles, but (controversially) passed over Julie Andrews for Audrey Hepburn's playing of Eliza. Adding to the further controversy, Ms. Hepburn's singing voice was dubbed, unknowingly to her until the film's release, and the voice of Marni Nixon was used instead.

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