The Cheyenne Little Theatre presents the musical My Fair Lady,with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, from September 22 to October 8, 2017, as the opening production of their 2017-2018 season.
Colonel Hugh Pickering, a linguist who has studied Indian dialects, has come to London in hopes of meeting Professor Henry Higgins, a phoneticist. While waiting for a cab after having attended an opera at Covent Garden, he witnesses the agitation of a young, poor Cockney flower girl. A man has been writing down everything she says and she thinks he is a police officer intent on arresting her. Pickering defends her and learns that the other gentleman is Henry Higgins, who promptly invites Pickering to stay at his lodgings while he is in England.
Higgins tells Pickering that he believes that it is a person’s language, rather than their income or social class, which separates the people of England, and boasts that he could pass that Cockney flower girl off as a Duchess in six month’s time, simply by improving the way she speaks.
Eliza Doolittle overhears this claim and it sparks an ambition. She doesn’t want to be a Duchess, but she does want to be able to get a well-paying job in a flower shop, and for that she needs to be able to speak well. She visits Higgins’ home, and reminds him of his words. Higgins is initially uninterested, but when Colonel Pickering wagers him that he can’t do it, Higgins takes the bet, and moves Eliza into his house so that they can work morning, noon and night on her language skills.
But Higgins discovers more than he bargained for with the spunky Eliza…
My Fair Lady, adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion in 1956, is often called “the perfect musical,” and CLPT’s production is practically perfect as well.
Director Mary Hall’s cast includes Sean Ambrose as Professor Henry Higgins, Dave Hall as Colonel Pickering, Katherine Reidl as Eliza Doolittle and Rory Mack as Alfred Doolittle.
Ambrose as Higgins and Hall as Pickering make an excellent team with perfect comedic timing. Higgins is a a larger than life character who takes over the stage – but Pickering has his moments as the steady friend and Eliza’s champion who stands up for her when Higgins becomes a bit too over-bearing. Katherine Reidl as Eliza Doolittle is not cowed by Higgins and their is great chemistry between her and Ambrose. Her Cockney accent is excellent, as is her “upper-class” accent when she finally masters it.
Rory Mack is charming as “one of the deserving poor,” Alfred P. Doolittle, with his two production numbers – “With a Little Bit of Luck,” and “Get Me to the Church on Time.”
Joshua Cooper demonstrates an excellent voice with his “On the Street Where You Live” number, and the rest of the ensemble cast, playing multiple small roles, don’t set a foot wrong.
The costumers are marvelous, from the button-clad ‘Pearlies’ (street vendors) to the cloth caps and worse-for-wear outfits of the lower class, to the suits of the gentlemen, to the gorgeous gowns which Eliza wears during her attendance at Ascot and at an Embassy Ball.
Musical direction is by Becky Tish, set design by Jeff Tish. Choreography is by Tenacity Bricher-Wade. The 12-member orchestra served the singers and dancers well, and you will be well served to attend this glittering production of My Fair Lady.