“My Fair Lady” Incites Laughter…and Dancing All Night

As Pittsburgh Public Theater’s stellar season blazes on, they welcome an absolute classic to center stage in Lerner and Loewe’s “My Fair Lady”, the musical adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s play, “Pygmalion.”

“My Fair Lady” follows the exciting, yet bumbling journey of Cockney street merchant, Eliza Doolittle, and her self-appointed haute coach, Henry Higgins, as he trudges through hell and high water to reform the slack-jawed yokel into a respectable lady after taking a bet from colleague and mentor, Colonel Pickering.

The riotous musical, considered to be one of the best of all-time, featured the timeless musical scores “The Rain in Spain,” “On the Street Where You Live,” “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,” and “I Could Have Danced All Night.”  Orchestrated by F. Wade Russo, the 11-piece orchestra adds an undulating and uplifting undertone.

Prodigiously choreographed and directed by Ted Pappas, PPT’s production of “My Fair Lady”is well-executed, and perhaps a contender for musical of the year. The intricacy of personality dynamics working symbiotically through each lyric and line was marvelously displayed. The robust cast of 23 seamlessly moved about the truly exquisite and towering set, designed by Michael Schweikardt.

Kimberly Doreen Burns, who stars as Eliza Doolittle, put on a Broadway-worthy performance with one of the best voices I’ve heard in musical theater. She whimsically transformed her skullduggery into royalty with loveable and unabashed gutter-talk coupled with angelic musical fodder.

Other notable performances include Benjamin Howes as Henry Higgins. Howes flawlessly transitioned Higgin’s persnickety and overtly venomous personality into a less cactus-like persona with hearty vocals and spot on delivery.

Bill Nolte delivers a deviously delightful representation of Alfred P. Doolittle, the surly and opportunistic father of Eliza. As he trollops around town, wining and dining the underbelly of the city, Doolittle’s alcohol-infused medleys rip the audience with laughter.

Overall, the hustle and bustle of the entire cast delivered a unique, and dare I say, enchanting experience. If there’s one musical not to miss this month, “My Fair Lady” is it.

“My Fair Lady” runs until Feb 22. For ticketing information, visit ppt.org

For a full cast, crew, and orchestra listing, click here.

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