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EMAV Review: My Fair Lady is a lively and "loverly" production★★★★★


Signature Productions presents yet another winning theatrical program in its current offering, "My Fair Lady". This lively and "loverly" production is at the Summerlin Library and Performing Arts Center, 1771 Inner Circle Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89134. “With a Little Bit of Luck” you can still get tickets, since this irresistible, 5-Star show continues through April 30th!

This definitive musical theatre work -- with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe -- is based on George Bernard Shaw's classic play Pygmalion, and tells the familiar story of Eliza Doolittle, a Covent Garden flower peddler who agrees to take speech lessons from phonetician Henry Higgins in order to fulfill her dream of working in a flower shop. However, Eliza succeeds so well that she outgrows her lowly social status, and manages to become an indispensable part of Higgins' life.

An extremely talented and enthusiastic cast is equally effective whether portraying solid Cockney mannerisms and morals or very refined, aristocratic members of high society. Credit both Director Debora W. Boyd and dialect coach, Hillary Prince, for ensuring that the dialog is well-balanced among these remarkably linguistic and cultural differences.

Vocally, the entire company is strong and the musical harmonies are well-balanced in every instance. All of the primary characters give outstanding acting and singing performances, including: Lynsey Fullam as Eliza Doolittle, Steve Mcmillan as Professor Henry Higgins, Lou De Meis as Alfred P. Doolittle, Wayne Morton as Colonel Hugh Pickering, and Adam Dunson as Freddy Eynsford-Hill.

The Musical Direction of Shauna Oblad and the Choreography of Teresa Isgriggs successfully convey the joy, energy and emotions throughout this transformation of a "guttersnipe" into a duchess. The gifted creative team masterfully transports us back in time to London, 1912, through the appropriate and beautiful period sets, costumes, hair and wigs.

As background, the music of Broadway was the popular music of the western world during the 1950s. Every season brought a fresh crop of classic hit musicals that were eagerly awaited and celebrated by the general public. Great stories, told with memorable songs and dances were the order of the day, resulting in such unforgettable hits as “The King and I”, “My Fair Lady”, “Gypsy” and dozens more.

Alan Jay Lerner (1918-1986) was an American lyricist and librettist born to an affluent Jewish family in New York City. Frederick “Fritz” Loewe (1901-1988) was an Austrian pianist and composer from Germany who had yet to reach success in music. The unlikely duo met in 1942 at the New York Lambs Club. Together, they wrote some of the most stylish, sophisticated theater music of the 20th century. They scored their first hit, the fantasy “Brigadoon”, in 1947. The Lerner-Loewe formula was to combine Loewe's lush, melodic music, redolent of Viennese waltz, with Lerner's witty, literate lyrics.

Lerner and Loewe reached their creative peak with “My Fair Lady” (1956), which received stellar reviews in New Haven, Philadelphia, and New York. The production helped define the modern musical theater and, at the time, it was crowned the best Broadway musical ever written. It was the longest running musical of that period, playing for six and a half years with 2,717 performances on Broadway and 2,281 performances on the West End in London. The result was, as the critic William Hawkins said, "A legendary evening", or, in the words of Brooks Atkinson, "one of the best musicals of the century ... close to the genius of creation."

“My Fair Lady” won six Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. It was Broadway’s first major blockbuster hit -- and led to the 1964 film which won several Oscars, including Best Picture. The score includes several memorable songs: "I Could Have Danced All Night," "On the Street Where You Live" and "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face."

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