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MY FAIR LADY (article first published : 2006-11-29)

Final rehearsals are underway for the Playhouse Company's star-studded new staging of the classic musical My Fair Lady. One of the world's great box office hit shows, the musical celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Set to be the prime ticket for Durban theatre goers of all ages, the sumptuous new Playhouse staging is the creation of a powerhouse team led by ace director Steven Stead, with décor by Greg King and dazzling costumes by Neil Stuart-Harris.

The production stars Ralph Lawson as the urbane Professor Higgins opposite Carol Trench as Eliza Doolittle, the rags-to-riches flower-seller who is transformed into a high society debutante. A number of appearances by Lisa Bobbert as the feisty Eliza are scheduled during the run.

The stellar cast includes local luminaries such as Themi Venturas, Vera Clare, Allison Cassels and Frank Graham. The show will run in the Playhouse Opera Theatre from December 1 to 31 with live accompaniment by the KZN Philharmonic conducted by Graham Scott. Choreography is by leading dance exponent Mark Hawkins, with lighting by master of the genre, Michael Broderick.

Adapted from George Bernard Shaw's play and Gabriel Pascal's movie Pygmalion, My Fair Lady boasts superb book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, set to a hit-studded score by Frederick Loewe. The musical premiered on New York City's famous Broadway in 1956 with Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison in the lead roles. It opened at Drury Lane in London in 1958, and has since enjoyed countless stage revivals, while its 1964 movie version starring Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn has been seen by millions.

Hit numbers from the show include Why Can't the English?, Wouldn't It Be Loverly?, With a Little Bit o' Luck, I'm an Ordinary Man, Just You Wait, The Rain in Spain, I Could Have Danced All Night, Ascot Gavotte, On the Street Where You Live, You Did It, Show Me, Get Me to the Church On Time, A Hymn to Him, Without You and I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face.

The glitzy new Playhouse production incorporates the elegant imprints and motifs and rich colours of Art Nouveau, in vogue in 1910, the time in which the story is set. The Playhouse's décor also depicts site specific scenes that occur in the musical, allowing theatre-goers familiar with these to recognize landmarks of the famous city of London.

My Fair Lady evening performances are from Tuesdays to Saturdays at 19h30 (matinees at 14h00 on Saturdays and 15h00 on Sundays). 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.

Early booking for is advised to avoid disappointment via the Playhouse Box Office on 031 369 9596 or 031 369 9540, at Computicket outlets, or online at www.computicket.co.za. Parking is available at The Royal Hotel, and also at the Albany Grove Parkade after 16h30 and all day during weekends.




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