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MY FAIR LADY BOOKING OPENS (article first published : 2006-08-20)

Durban audiences are in for a feast of song, dance and glamour as is seldom seen onstage these days. A sumptuous new staging of My Fair Lady created by a powerhouse team is scheduled for the Playhouse Company's festive season in the Playhouse Opera during December.

Steven Stead will be in the director's chair, with décor designed by Greg King and costumes by Neil Stuart-Harris. The production will star Ralph Lawson as the urbane Professor Higgins and Carol Trench as Eliza Doolittle, the rags-to-riches flower-seller who is transformed into a high society debutante. The production will be performed throughout its run with live performances by the KZN Philharmonic conducted by Graham Scott. Choreography is by Mark Hawkins and lighting design by Michael Broderick.

One of the world's best-loved big stage musicals, with a book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, My Fair Lady was adapted from George Bernard Shaw's play and Gabriel Pascal's movie Pygmalion. With Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison in the lead roles, the musical premiered in New York on Broadway in 1956 and at Drury Lane in London in 1958. It has since enjoyed countless stage revivals over the years, and its 1964 movie version starring Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn has been seen by millions.

Greg King's design concept for the Playhouse production will incorporate the elegant imprints and motifs and rich colours that evoke the high vogue of Art Nouveau, which was in full flower in 1910, the time in which the story is set. And with a comparable eye for period detail, décor depicting London scenes will be site specific. Theatre-goers familiar with the famous city may recognise landmark settings, such as St Martins Lane behind Covent Garden, that occur in the musical.

My Fair Lady will be presented in the Playhouse Opera from December 1 to 31 and booking is now open. Pre-booked tickets for individual seats range from R50 to R80. Tickets at the box office an hour before performances will cost R55 to R90.

There will be low-price charity previews between December 1 and 3 which are available for sold performances. Call 031 369 9455/6/7 or 031 369 9461. Early booking is advised via the Playhouse Box Office on 031 369 9596 or 031 369 9540, at Computicket outlets, or online at www.computicket.co.za




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