BOILING SPRINGS - "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" to see the timeless musical "My Fair Lady?"
The run of Lerner and Loewe's "My Fair Lady" includes performances at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays and 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays until Aug. 15 at Allenberry Playhouse.
The production, directed by Allenberry's resident choreographer Michelle O'Bryan, is a delightful musical retelling of George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion" with a Cockney flower girl being transformed from a guttersnipe into a lady by a stuffy phoneticist who supervises the complete makeover of her speech and manners.
The run of Lerner and Loewe’s “My Fair Lady” includes performances at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays and 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays until Aug. 15 at Allenberry Playhouse.
The score is very familiar and the characters are vividly etched in most theatregoers' minds, either because of the Broadway original or the Oscar-winning movie that starred Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn.
Heading Allenberry's cast is Artistic Director Jack O'Bryan as Henry Higgins and Chloe Sabin as Eliza Doolittle.
O'Bryan is fine and, unlike Harrison (Higgins in the stage and film version), sings "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face" well near the end of Act II, affirming that not only has Eliza been made over, but the fussy phonetics scholar also has been transformed.
Through her character's transformation from a "squashed cabbage leaf" with painful enunciation into a fair lady with a soaring soprano voice, Sabin proves to be a nigh-perfect Eliza. Her solos, "Wouldn't it be Loverly?" and "I Could Have Danced All Night," drew the most applause.
Featured in the large cast is Matthew Foster as the endearing Colonel Pickering and Jane Heinze - a welcome sight onstage after she "retired" a couple of seasons ago - as Higgins' mother who offers Eliza sage advice.
For the biggest audience pleaser, look no further than Eliza's squalid father, Alfred P. Doolitte. Andrew H. Lyons is hilarious as the irresistible reprobate who moralizes "With a Little Bit of Luck" and, in the show's biggest production number, urges "Get Me to the Church On Time."
Jon Kelly plays Freddy Eynsford-Hill, the luckless society chap who falls for Eliza and with a fine tenor voice, sings the gloriously romantic "On The Street Where You Live."
The main sets are the street between Covent Garden, where Eliza sells violets; the pub, where her father and his buddies take their liquid refreshment; and Professor Higgins' library, where Eliza's tutoring finally pays off in "The Rain in Spain."
Costumes are period-appropriate for London in 1912, most notably for the ensemble outfits for the Ascot horse race scene - since the stunning black-and-white outfits have been retained, which is not always the case in other productions with budget constraints.
Only the lighting design was, at times, distracting. For unknown and unnecessary reasons, the lights would brighten, dim, brighten and throw reddish hues during certain songs, most annoyingly during "I'm an Ordinary Man."
To visit Shaw's familiar characters who skewer foolish social conventions and to hear Lerner and Loewe's sterling songs, which elevate the spirit, see Allenberry's "My Fair Lady," the show that helps us savor the hazy, crazy days of summer as August rolls in.
Call 717-258-3211 or visit www.allenberry.com for more information about the show.