Quintessence Theatre Group continues its season with a classic musical and a holiday treat for the entire family. This holiday season they are presenting the two-piano version of My Fair Lady in Mt. Airy. With music by Frederick Loewe and lyrics and book by Alan Jay Lerner, this musical masterpiece will run November 15-December 17. Opening night is Saturday, November 18 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $18-$40. Tickets are available online at www.quintessencetheatre.org or at the Box Office at time of performance. Quintessence performs at The Sedgwick Theater located at 7137 Germantown Avenue in Mt. Airy.
In My Fair Lady, Henry Higgins, a celebrated professor of phonetics, makes a bet that he can pass off a lower-class flower girl from Covent Garden as a duchess at the Ambassador’s Ball. By dressing her in expensive clothing, improving her manners, and teaching her how to speak correctly, Higgins transforms Eliza Doolittle into a lady. Following the Greek myth of Pygmalion, Higgins becomes enamored with his creation, now the most eligible lady in London. Adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, with songs by Lerner and Loewe, My Fair Lady is known as “the perfect musical.” My Fair Lady’s theme of a woman overcoming enormous odds to gain her independence despite the machinations of a troubled genius is as applicable today as it was in 1912 when the play takes place.
Leading the cast are Quintessence regulars Leigha Kato as Eliza Doolittle and Gregory Isaac as Henry Higgins. The rest of the cast includes: Lee Cortopassi as Freddy Eynsford-Hill, Doug Hara as Pickering, Bradley Mott as Doolittle/Karpathy/Ascot Lord, and Marcia Saunders as Mrs. Pierce/Mrs. Higgins. The ensemble includes: Kristin Devine, Rakeem Lawrence, and Ebony Pullman.
This is a dream role for Leigha Kato. “I am beyond excited to take on this role! This was one of the first musicals I was ever exposed to as a kid. So, this show is super nostalgic for me. Young Leigha LOVED to play dress up as Eliza. I would frolic around the back yard with my flower basket singing ‘Wouldn’t it be Lovely” and I would often act out the “I Could Have Danced All Night” scene in the privacy of my bedroom. Man, oh man, do Eliza and I go back. To me, this musical is perfect, and I can’t wait to do it for real this time,” said Kato.
Quintessence Artistic Director Alexander Burns directs this production. Christopher Ertlet is the Music Director. Doug Greene is the Set Designer. David Sexton is the Lighting Designer. Christina Bullard is the Costume Designer. Kaki Burns is the Choreographer. Marla Burkholder is the Dialect Coach. Lisa Sullivan is the Production Stage Manager.
Burns said, “Quintessence is celebrated for distilling classic plays down to the explosive elements of the story, the actor and the text. Loving any excuse to sing or dance on stage, Quintessence is excited to present an intimate and passionate exploration of one of the greatest musicals ever written. During this crucial moment of self-reflection on the responsibilities of powerful men in their treatment of and assistance in the empowerment of women, it is a thrilling opportunity to return to Lerner and Loewe’s romantic musical adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s timeless comedy of manners. Through a modern lens, this rags-to-riches story of a Covent Garden flower girl turned princess, will challenge us to ask if abuse is necessary to achieve greatness, who owns the English language, do we still judge an individual’s value on their outward appearance and manners, and does independence mean anything without financial security.”