Eliza Doolittle (Sara Rydzewski) and Henry Higgins (Steve Tadevic) in the abso-bloomin-lutely loverly musical masterpiece, "My Fair Lady." Photo: by Lance Luce

'My Fair Lady' Opens At Stagecrafters Sept. 12


ROYAL OAK - Few stage productions can lay claim to be "the perfect musical." Not only does "My Fair Lady" hold this distinctive title, but it's also the 'perfect' show to open Stagecrafters' "season of transformations." The musical masterpiece runs Sept. 12th through Oct. 5 at the Baldwin Theatre in Royal Oak.

The story follows Eliza Doolittle (Sara Rydzewski) as she transforms from a common Cockney girl selling flowers on the street to wowing aristocratic socialites at the fancy Embassy Ball. Professor Henry Higgins (Steve Tadevic), a British phonetic linguist, loves language and is intrigued by the Cockney accent he hears on the street. In a good-humored wager of social experimentation, Higgins takes on the task of turning Eliza into a refined lady within six months.

The "rags-to-riches" musical is packed with classic songs such as "Wouldn't It Be Loverly," "With a Little Bit of Luck," "I Could Have Danced All Night," "On the Street Where You Live," "Get Me to the Church On Time," "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" to name a few. The "loverly" music accompanying the vocals will be coming from the Baldwin Theatre's newly renovated orchestra pit. The orchestra pit was enlarged to accommodate more musicians and was funded in part by the May Morgan Family Foundation and a matching grant from Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. The new pit not only touts more space, but includes enhancements in soundproofing and functionality.

Director Dolly Scheibelhut had "My Fair Lady" on her dream list of shows to direct for a long time. One of the most thrilling moments for Scheibelhut was when she found out she was selected by Stagecrafters' board to direct the show. "I was competing against some very qualified and talented directors, so getting this show was even more rewarding," says Scheibelhut, who is also the costume designer.

Scheibelhut's seasoned production team plays a significant role in bringing the show to life. The magnificent two-story interior set becomes a stately exterior when rotated. The set is actually three individual pieces, and the center - a 24-foot-wide section - can be turned with just four men on stage. Master carpenter Richard Sorensen and his team of set builders, affectionately known as the 'day crew,' have been busy at work since July 25th. "We've been working six hours a day, five days a week, and I do it because it's fun," says Sorensen.

The stage production credits include book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, with music by Frederick Loewe. The musical stage production is adapted from George Bernard Shaw's play and Gabriel Pascal's motion picture "Pygmalion."

"My Fair Lady" premiered on Broadway on March 15, 1956, and played for 2,717 performances (six and a half years) starring Rex Harrison, Julie Andrews, Stanley Holloway and Robert Coote. It was the longest-running musical at the time. The original cast recording went on to become the best-selling album in the U.S. in 1956, and stayed on the Billboard Top 200 album chart for 480 weeks. The musical also ran for five-and-a-half years at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London. Several revivals have graced the stage over the years. The show won six Tony Awards in 1957, including Best Musical and has become known as "the musical by which all musicals are measured."

Patrons attending the Sept. 12 opening night performance are invited to attend the 7 p.m. pre-glow of complimentary light hors d'oeuvres and beverages hosted by D'Amatos of Royal Oak.

Advance tickets for performances are $20 on Thursdays, and $22 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.stagecrafters.org (online handling fees apply) or by phone at 248-541-6430 using Visa or MasterCard. All seats are reserved.

If shows have not sold out, tickets can be purchased at the box office one hour prior to the performance for an additional $20 per ticket. Student, military and senior discounts are available for specific performances.

The Baldwin Theatre is located at 415 S. Lafayette, Royal Oak. "My Fair Lady" is co-sponsored by Miner's Den Jewelers of Royal Oak.


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