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STAGE REVIEW Broadway Series opens with 'My Fair Lady'



Published: Tue, November 13, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



An excellent cast and good production values made for a solid performance.

By GARRY L. CLARK

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- The ornate elegance of Edward W. Powers Auditorium provided the perfect setting Monday evening for a solid performance of Lerner and Loewe's musical masterpiece, "My Fair Lady." The post-Victorian setting of the production is in perfect keeping with the decor of the auditorium for the Youngstown Symphony Society's Broadway Series season opener.

The classic story is based on George Bernard Shaw's play "Pygmalion," about a poor Cockney flower seller in London who becomes the object of a bet between a snobbish speech professor and his language-studying friend. It has been touted as a musical that has it all, and indeed it does.

Familiar songs: Boasting a plethora of instantly recognizable tunes such as "Wouldn't it Be Loverly," "I Could Have Danced All Night," "On the Street Where You Live," "Get Me to the Church On Time" and "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," the basic plot of this musical has been copied, tweaked, revamped and updated in countless movies and television programs with its basic human experiment of turning a person into someone new.

In this case, speech professor Henry Higgins is betting his friend, Colonel Pickering, that he can take the scruffy, unkempt, streetwise Eliza Doolittle and pass her off as a duchess in six months' time merely by teaching her to speak English properly.

His efforts and the resulting complications are both comical and poignant, providing a full evening of Broadway-style entertainment.

Cast: Lauren Kling and Tom Henry star as Eliza and Higgins, giving energetic, imaginative performances. Kling's lovely soprano voice soared beautifully, landing solidly on each note. Henry's excellent voice was also showcased, most especially in "I'm an Ordinary Man."

Adam MacDonald's was in fine voice during "On the Street Where You Live" as he portrayed Freddy Eynsford-Hill, a young man smitten with Eliza, and Gordon Gray also shone as Eliza's father in the rousing "With a Little Bit of Luck."

Other supporting roles were solidly played by Dwan Attwood as Mrs. Eynsford-Hill, Staci Rudnitsky as Mrs. Pearce and Nancy Ward as Mrs. Higgins.

Set changes were quickly and seamlessly woven into the action so as to make them almost unnoticeable, creating a fluid performance.

XThe closing performance of "My Fair Lady" is set for 8 this evening. Call the box office at (330) 744-0264 for tickets.




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