My Fair Lady
June 6 - June 24
This light-hearted romance from the Golden Age of Broadway has been called “the perfect musical” by the New York Times. The story follows London grammarian, Professor Henry Higgins, who wagers that he can elevate a poor, Cockney-speaking flower seller named Eliza Doolittle into upper-class Victorian society. As Higgins succeeds, Eliza becomes wise to his plot, and their love is put to the test. This Tony Award Winner for Best Musical helped launch the career of Dame Julie Andrews and features songs by the legendary team of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, including “Wouldn't It Be Loverly,” “Get Me to The Church on Time” and “I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face.”
|SHARON ALEXANDER (Mrs. Pearce) is happy to be making her Gateway debut! This will be her 4th production of My Fair Lady, but her first time playing Mrs. Pearce. Sharon has performed extensively in the Philadelphia area, most recently at the Media Theatre, where she played Sister Berthe in The Sound of Music. Other Philadelphia area credits include numerous productions at the Bristol Riverside Theatre, Prince Music Theatre, Arden Theatre, and Walnut Street Theatre. Favorite shows include The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, A Little Night Music, Titanic, Singin’ in the Rain, and The Producers. For Mom and Dad.|
|NATHAN ANDERSON (Bartender/Zoltan Karpathy) is thrilled to be returning to the Gateway Playhouse where he feels that he has come back home! Previous Gateway productions include: A Christmas Carol, Sunset Blvd., and Sweeney Todd. Regional and tour credits as follows: Seussical the Musical (The Mayor of Whoville), The Music Man (Marcelus Washburn) and the National Tour of Scrooge the Musical (Mr. Fezziwig) with the New York Stage Originals. Nathan would like to dedicate this show to his siblings, Chad and Stacye. “I salute you both with Blessings & Gratitude! Love you!”|
|STEVE BRADY (Colonel Pickering) is delighted to be back at Gateway having previously performed in A Christmas Carol the Musical, Hello Dolly!, Urinetown, and The Fantasticks. He’s appeared on Broadway, Inherit the Wind, and Off-Broadway at The Mint, Perry Street Theatricals, and Irish Arts Center. Regional credits include Better Days at Triad Stage; 12 Angry Men, Rep Theatre of St. Louis; King o’ the Moon, Cincinnati Playhouse; Spin, The Wilma; Tartuffe, Gulfshore Playhouse; Enigma Variations, Royal Alexandra, Toronto; The Seafarer and The Ladies Man, Shadowland. He’s toured nationally in The Exonerated, and went around the world with West Side Story in 2009. On TV, Steve’s enjoyed appearances on “Law & Order”, “Law & Order CI”, “Spin City”, “Seinfeld”, “Beverly Hills 90210” and others with residuals too small to mention. A proud Equity member since 1984. As always, for Susie.|
|AUBREY ELSON (Bystander/Servant/Mrs. Higgins’ Maid u/s Eliza Doolittle/Mrs. Hopkins) is thrilled to be performing in My Fair Lady after having recently been seen in CATS at the Gateway! She is a USC graduate (Theatre/International Relations). Credits include: Sillabub (and u/s Rumpleteazer) in CATS (National/North American Tour; Musical Theatre West); Little Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods (Nightwind Productions); Alice in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Cabrillo); Bet in Oliver (Fullerton CLO); Dance Captain for Me and My Girl (Moonlight CLO); Thanks to Keith, my family and my Kevin.|
|KEVIN GUTCHES (Jamie/Lord Boxington/Prince) is thrilled to be returning to Gateway for the summer! Some of Kevin’s favorite Gateway productions include, but are not limited to: Happy Days, Spamalot, Sweeney Todd, and My Fair Lady. Other Credits: 30th Anniversary Tour of Annie (Rooster u/s), The Full Monty (Ethan Girard), Mystery of Edwin Drood (Deputy). Kevin holds a B.A. in Theatre from Wagner College. He would like to thank his family and friends for all the love and support!|
|SCOTT HAMILTON (Loverly Quartet/Ascot Steward) is honored to be making his first Gateway appearance this summer! International tours: My Fair Lady (Dance Captain), Dancing Queen, and The Spirit of Christmas. Regional: Damn Yankees (Mickey). Film/TV: Oprah’s Farewell Spectacular, OWN, Oxygen, White Collar. WMU grad and proud to be from Michigan. All my love to my family and friends!|
|JAMIE JACKSON (Professor Higgins) Though Professor Higgins would no doubt hate his Aussie accent, Jamie is thrilled to be back with the Gateway family with whom he played Sweeney Todd last year. Theatre: The 39 Steps (off-Broadway), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (National tour, 4 perfs at Gateway), Michael Archangel (Fulton), The Brain that Wouldn’t Die! (NYMF), Annie (Fulton), Great Expectations (Goodspeed), King Lear, The Crucible (Sydney Theatre Company). TV: Flight of the Conchords (HBO). With his wife, composer, SoHee Youn, wrote musicals including Blintzes and Tortillas (upcoming reading) and Love: A Multiple Choice Question (NY Fringe, York Theatre, Australia). Performs standup for Laughing Liberally. Love and gratitude to SoHee, thanks to Gateway and Henderson Hogan Agency.|
|DAVID BRYANT JOHNSON (Freddy Eynsford Hill) is much honored to be making his Long Island debut here at Gateway in My Fair Lady, as it is one of his favorite shows. Hailing from Acworth, GA, David holds a BA in Musical Theatre from the University of Northern Colorado. Favorite credits include West Side Story (Riff) Atlanta Symphony; Danny in Grease at the Olney Theatre, and Joseph in Joseph…Dreamcoat and Johnny in the 1940’s Radio Hour both at the Arvada Center. He is very grateful to all the creative staff here at Gateway for this wonderful opportunity, the amazing cast and crew for their outstanding work and especially his family and friends for all their love and support. Dedicated to D.R.B.|
|KATE KRAMITZ (Servant/Ensemble) is thrilled to be making her Gateway debut in the cast of My Fair Lady! She is a graduate from Kent State but native to South Jersey! Recent credits include regional productions of Chicago (June/Velma us), 42nd Street (Phyllis), Brigadoon(Maggie) and Grease (Cha Cha). She would like to thank Gateway for this wonderful opportunity as well as her family and friends (Tom and Eduardo included) for their endless love and support. This one’s for you Uncle P!|
|ALLEGRA LELAND (Ensemble) is delighted to be making her Gateway debut in this wonderful production! Favorite credits include The Music Man (Marian), Godspell (Sonia), & Sweet Charity (Charity). She received the Helen Hayes Rising Star Award for Outstanding Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for Sweet Charity and also earned a Papermill Playhouse Rising Star nomination. Allegra has appeared Off-Broadway, in commercials, print modeling and four indie films. Proud AMDA grad. Love to my mom, Carmel, my dad, Marc, Trevor, Puppy and my Nicholas!|
|STEVE LUKER (Alfred P. Doolittle) Delighted to return to Gateway for his 7th production, Steve’s been in over 100 legit shows from Broadway (42nd Street) to National and International Tours (Footloose, 42nd Street, Radio City) to Off Broadway (the P Monologues) to Regional Theatres (North Shore Music Theatre, Goodspeed, The Engeman Theatre, Theatre by the Sea, Vero Beach Riverside, New Harmony Theatre, Mill Mountain Playhouse, Mt. Gretna Theatre, Theatre Under the Stars, Cross Roads Theatre, and many more). He was recently nominated for a Barrymore Award for Best Actor for the role of Sewerman in Bristol Riverside’s Dear World. On TV, he’s been a principal in such shows as Cosby, Law and Order, Hope and Faith, One Life to Live (recurring role of Judge Murdoch), As the World Turns, etc. and in dozens of commercials and voice overs. Much thanks to the Luker and Noona families, especially wife, Susie.)|
|ROB MCCAFFREY (Harry/Embassy Footman u/s Freddy Eynsford Hill) is a Long Island native and quote: “It feels great being back at Gateway to join the cast of My Fair Lady!” Recently returned from a successful run of The Full Monty at The Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach, FL. Regional: Happy Days: The Musical (Potsie), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Ensemble u/s Freddy), Miss Saigon (Gateway), Hairspray (u/s Corny Collins) John W. Engeman Theater. Other favorites include: The Who’s: Tommy (Capt Walker), Damn Yankees (Joe Hardy), Sweet Bird of Youth (Stuff), Deathtrap (Clifford) and Country Club (Hutch). Graduate of The Hartt School. Thanks to Keith and love to A.|
|CHERYL MCMAHON (Mrs. Eynsford-Hill u/s Mrs. Pearce/ Mrs. Higgins) is delighted to be making her Gateway Playhouse debut. Most recently Cheryl appeared in Monsters! A Midlife Musical Meltdown by Gail Phaneuf and Ernie LeJoi (Mother). Regional credits include shows at The Huntington Theatre (Marty, Rose Tattoo and Prelude to a Kiss), North Shore Music Theatre (A Christmas Carol, My Fair Lady, Student Prince, Jekyll and Hyde), Goodspeed Opera House (High Button Shoes, Half a Sixpence), Speakeasy Stage (Nine, Moonlight Room, Adding Machine), and Lyric Stage Co. of Boston (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Lend Me a Tenor, Spitfire Grill). Cheryl is a two time recipient of the Independent Reviewers of New England award for best supporting actress. Recent film credits include roles in The Box, Ripd, Brilliant Mistakes, and The A Plate. Older than dirt credit includes playing Mrs. White in Parker Brothers’ video game, Clue. Next, Cheryl will head back to New England to appear in Annie at North Shore Music Theatre. www.Cheryl-McMahon.com|
|EMILY PALMQUIST (Servant u/s Lady Boxington) is thrilled to be returning to the Gateway Playhouse after a successful run of CATS (Tantomile)! She has had the amazing opportunity to work with choreographers such as David Marquez, Maria Torres, and Linda Talcott Lee. Favorite performances include Thoroughly Modern Millie and The King and I. Thanks to friends and family for your incredible support! So much love!|
|WILL PORTER (Selsey Man/Bystander/Loverly Quartet/Ascot Steward) is overjoyed to be returning to the Gateway after a successful run of CATS (Mungojerrie)! Muhlenberg College graduate. Tours: CATS (Mungojerrie), Cabaret (Emcee u/s). International: A Chorus Line (Tokyo). Favorites: Dodger - Oliver! (Media), Seymour – Little Shop (NLBP), Bobby - Urinetown (College), Dolly! (Fulton). Next, he will play Madame in Jean Genet’s The Maids in the Philadelphia Fringe at The Walnut Street Theatre. Thank you Keith, Gateway, and my family for your inexhaustible love and support.|
|JEFF M. SMITH (Hoxton Man/Bystander/Loverly Quartet/Chauffeur/Constable) is thrilled to be rejoining the Gateway after a successful run of CATS (Plato/Macavity). He was born and raised in West Texas where he graduated from Texas Tech University with a B.A. in Music. Some Regional credits include: (Man of La Mancha) The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, (Oregon Trail: Quest for the West!) Kentucky Repertory Theatre, (Jesus Christ Superstar) Derby Dinner Playhouse, and (Will Rogers Follies) Gretna Theatre. A big thanks to his fantastic friends for their unfailing support. www.jeffmsmith.net|
|ADAM SONIAK (Butler/Servant) is thrilled to be working with this talented cast and crew. A recent graduate of Point Park University with BFA in musical theatre and ballet minor, he was recently seen 12,000+ miles away in The Phantom of the Opera in Jakarta, Indonesia. Other favorite credits include Carousel (Carnival Boy,) The Rocky Horror Show (Frank’n’Furter,) and most recently CATS (Coricopat) right here at Gateway.|
|MELINDA TANNER (Mrs. Higgins) is thrilled to be returning to the Gateway, having previously performed in Oliver. Broadway: The Robber Bridegroom. Off-Broadway: Godspell; The Sea (Manhattan Theatre Club). Recent regional: Oklahoma, centennial production starring Kelli O’Hara (Lyric Theatre); diva Maria Callas in Master Class (Florida Rep); Cabaret (Connecticut Rep); Lizzie Borden (Goodspeed); The Spitfire Grill (Florida Stage); My Fair Lady (national tour). Television: Law & Order, CI; Lights Out. Three years as spokesperson for Mobil Oil. Currently: online commercial for the new Android game, Golgotha; solo performer in the indie satire, Revelations.|
|GARRETT TAYLOR (Loverly Quartet/Servant) Following a successful run as Gus/Bustopher Jones in CATS, Garrett is pleased to be returning to Gateway Playhouse. Favorite roles include: Nicely, Nicely (Guys ‘n Dolls), Mary Sunshine (Chicago), Mr. Erlanson (A Little Night Music). Has sung at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and with orchestras in the US and Italy. Music staff for numerous productions including Broadway’s Wicked and the National Tours of Grease and Joseph...Dreamcoat. Graduate of Millikin University, Illinois. Lots of love to my very own fair lady, Lauren Elaine Taylor.|
|CHELSEY WHITELOCK (Lady Boxington/Mrs. Hopkins/ Queen of Transylvania u/s Mrs. Eynsford Hill) is having a “loverly” time in My Fair Lady! This marks Chelsey’s 8th show at the Gateway. She loves summering in Bellport and thanks the Allan’s, Baker and Keith for the good times! Hugs and kisses to Mikey and the Beans!|
| JENNIFER HOPE WILLS (Eliza Doolittle) Gateway Playhouse debut! Broadway: The Phantom of the Opera (Christine), Wonderful Town (Eileen), The Woman in White and Beauty and the Beast. City Center’s, Encores!: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Most recently Marian in The Music Man at Riverside Theatre. Pittsburgh CLO: The Sound of Music (Maria), Carousel (Julie). Walnut Street Theatre: Aspects of Love (Rose Vibert), Finian’s Rainbow (Sharon). Paper Mill Playhouse: Grease! (Sandy), Camelot. Soloist with Houston and Asheville Symphonies. Concerts at Town Hall, Merkin Hall and the Mar-a-lago Club for Donald Trump and guests. Currently resides right here in Long Island!
| NIKKI LINT (Production Stage Manager) is excited
to be at Gateway Playhouse! Stage Management
credits include Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Second
City, Forbidden Broadway, Seanachai, Plasticene,
American Girl, among others. Nikki was a
Production Assistant on the 1st National Tour of
Mary Poppins. Graduate of The Theatre School at
MARCIA MADEIRA (Lighting Designer) is thrilled to be back at Gateway working with Keith Andrews, Jose and Brian. This is her 25th production here and her favorite designs include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Thoroughly Modern Millie, 42nd Street, Sugar, On The Town, West Side Story (2001 & 2011), Swing, The Fantasticks! and The Will Rogers Follies (1994, 2000 & 2008). Previously Ms. Madeira received a Tony nomination and won the Drama Desk Award for the original NINE directed by Tommy Tune with Raul Julia. Other Broadway designs include: My One and Only with Tommy Tune and Twiggy; and The Music Man with Dick van Dyke, directed and choreographed by Michael Kidd. Show photos & video clips: www.mtmdesigns.org
|JOSE M. RIVERA (Costume Designer) is thrilled to continue his long association with The Gateway, which first began in 1992! A 3-time South Florida Carbonell award winner for Best Costume Design (Joseph... Dreamcoat; La Cage Aux Folles and The Boyfriend, all at The Maltz Jupiter Theatre); Broadway World Best Costume Design Winner (Crazy For You - Maltz Jupiter Theatre); 2003 Emmy Award for Groucho: A Life in Review; 2011 ITL Best Costume Design Award for The Will Rogers Follies (Los Angeles) and a 1995 Barrymore Award for My One and Only. He’s designed, assisted and coordinated over 300 productions for Film-Theater-Television. Recent credits include: The International Tour of Phantom of the Opera, the first theatrical musical to play Jakarta, Indonesia; Joseph...Dreamcoat for The Maltz Jupiter Theatre; Footloose for The Cape Playhouse and The North Shore Music Theatre and A Little Night Music for The Gretna Theatre. Film Credits include: Collar starring Rebecca DeMornay, Tom Sizemore and Richard Roundtree; The Storyteller starring Sean Patrick Flannery, Dina Meyer, Michael Berryman and Kim Darby; Evil Alien Conquerors starring Deidrich Bader, Chris Parnell and Tori Spelling and over a dozen movies for The Lifetime Network, USA Network and SoapNet. He dedicates his work to his parents, whose spirit and energy are always within him, and to his mentors Theoni V. Aldredge and Ray Aghayan. Upcoming: I Love a Piano for The Sierra Repertory Theatre and The Music Man for The Maltz Jupiter Theatre. Mr. Rivera is represented by Pipeline Entertainment in New York and Los Angeles.www.jmrcostumedesigns.com
|PETER A. PECE (Musical Director) Peter is thrilled to be a part of Gateway’s production of My Fair Lady. He has been musical director of Children’s Theater at Gateway since 1993, where he has worked with so many talented young people. Peter has performed at Lincoln Center as well as having arranged and performed musical revues for former President Bush (41) and former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. Although he has recently retired from public school teaching after 37 years, he is still involved in education as an adjunct professor at Stony Brook University where he teaches in the School of Professional Development. Peter is also the musical director and arranger for Courting the Jester: A Salute to Danny Kaye and That’s Amore: A Musical Salute to Harry Warren, which have been performed since 2001. Some of his original material was just featured on an album by Renee Stakey including the title song “Be My Song.” Peter received his doctorate in the field of Neuromusicology where he examined issues involved in how the brain processes music and memory. Feelfree to ask him about it, although he may look at youwith a puzzled expression, shake his head and claim to not remember. Don’t let this fool you. Other highlights as Musical Director are Big River, Man of La Mancha, Diamonds and The Boys from Syracuse among others. Kudos to the cast, crew and pit of My Fair Lady for an incredible show. Special thanks to Paul, Robin, Dom, Mike, Keith and many thanks to my family who were very supportive during the rehearsal process. Much love to Pattye, Christina, Jason, Jessica and Gabby.
ANTOINETTE DIPIETROPOLO (Associate Director/ Choreographer) is so excited to be back at Gateway and working with Keith were she worked on Happy Days and Wedding Singer. She just finished Directing/ Choreographing Nunsense at Flatrock Playhouse. Choreographed Hairspray at the Engeman Theater. Director/Choreographer for Chicago, Jesus Christ Superstar and Annie at Fort Salem Theatre; Choreographer for Annie at the Muny in St. Louis starring Beth Leavel and John Shuck; Director/ Choreographer for Ragtime at Lyric stage where the show was nominated in 14 categories for the Theatre League Awards; Ragtime at North Carolina Theatre where she won best choreographer at the Triangle Theatre Awards; Choreographer for Candide starring George Hearn, Rita Moreno, Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley. Co-Creator and Choreographer of a piece called Powerhouse performed at the Joyce SoHo; Choreography was in the Off Broadway show With Glee; She is currently the choreographer for the ongoing bus tour “The Ride” in New York City; Choreographer for the new show called And Then I Wrote A Song About It can be seen Off Broadway this summer. Dir/Choregrapher for Annie in Tarrytown; Associate Director for the National Tour of How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
||KEITH ANDREWS (Director/Choreographer) is oh so very excited to be back at Gateway after previously directing and choreographing last season’s Spamalot. He has also directed the Playhouse’s productions of The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (starring Joe Piscopo), The Wedding Singer, My Way (the Sinatra Tribute), Cold as Ice, Urinetown, 2009’s Holiday Spectacular on Ice, Happy Days, and Avenue Q. He has also directed the National Tours of The Full Monty and Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh. Other recent directing/choreography credits include: The Drowsy Chaperone, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Always... Patsy Cline, Dames at Sea, Breaking Up is Hard to Do, Barnum, Pump Boys and Dinettes, Little Shop of Horrors, The Pirates of Penzance, Big River, and Forever Plaid , to name just a few. As a choreographer, Keith has recently worked on the world premiere of Love, Incorporated and has received an Innovative Theater Award for Best Production of a Musical and nomination for Best Choreography for his work on the new show- Like You Like It. On the ice, Keith has directed and choreographed Home for the Holidays- a Celebration on Ice, starring 2010 Olympic Gold Medalist- Evan Lysacek, and Silver Medalists- Charlie White and Meryl Davis, as well as two productions of Stars, Stripes and Skates, a benefit on ice to help survivors and families of 9/11. As a performer, Keith has toured all over the world with shows such as: West Side Story, Mame, Jesus Christ Superstar and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. In educational theater, Keith directs and choreographs student industry showcases at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC as well as having directed many musicals at the USDAN Center for the Performing Arts, here on Long Island. Keith thanks the entire Gateway family for liking him enough keep him around and Antoinette for keeping him sane. KeithAndrewsonline.com.
June 15, 2012
My Fair Lady at the Gateway Playhouse
The role of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady on Broadway helped make Julie Andrews a household name – and now Broadway star and Long Island native Jennifer Hope Wills brings the character of Eliza to life in a stunning way at the Gateway Playhouse in Bellport, playing through June 24.
Set in London in 1912, we meet Eliza Doolittle, a lowborn, poor commoner. She sells flowers to the gentry in Covent Garden, who take pity on her. Eliza is dirty, hair unkempt, clothes tattered and worn, with a Cockney accent that sets your ear on edge – especially if your ear belongs to Professor Henry Higgins, played by Jamie Jackson. Higgins is an upper-class gentleman, a phonetician who claims he can tell the origins of a man by the manner of his speech. When he hears Eliza speak, he cannot contain his disdain and with his friend the jovial Colonel Pickering he makes a bet. Higgins claims he can take the “wretch” Eliza and turn her into the belle of London, and Pickering calls him on it.
As the “rough” Eliza, Hope Wills is still charming and wins your heart from her first almost incoherent growls and shrieks, and as she lapses into one of my favorites “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” with her Loverly Quartet we begin to see that Eliza Doolittle was meant for much more than selling flowers – she has big dreams, a big heart and gritty determination. As Eliza, Hope Wills is a stunning portrayal of the character that Julie Andrews and Audrey Hepburn famously brought to life on stage and in film respectively. Not only does Hope Wills possess the beauty of Eliza, her voice is clean and clear, sweet and crisp – even with the twang of her Cockney accent – pre-Higgins-style-makeover.
When Eliza finally agrees to participate, Higgins ruthlessly throws her into a merciless routine of diction and pronunciation. He tries for days with no results – Eliza’s Cockney is just about as stubborn as she is! A funny series of events – and phrases you will find yourself repeating (“The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.”) and some flirty bickering between Higgins and Eliza, until finally, the Cockney disappears. The celebration that ensues leaves Eliza breathless and giddy – with excitement over her achievement, yes, but we are privy to the bigger picture – the girl falling in love with the boy. In the fun yet touching number “I Could Have Danced All Night,” we realize it’s no longer a game or a bet for Eliza.
Eliza’s first romp into high society, the Ascot horse race, is surely the funniest scene. Both Higgins and Colonel Pickering are on edge, and Eliza appears beautiful, poised and charming in her black-and-white ensemble. She proceeds to speak as Higgins has taught her, but the subjects are so unseemly for high society that it borderlines on hysterical.
Eliza’s final test is set at the Embassy Ball, where she’s resplendent in white – she even takes the breath away from the gruff Professor Higgins, who has been fighting his growing attraction to Eliza. Eliza, the lady, has passed the test – but now the test of wills between she and Higgins begins.
Amidst all this, we have the comic relief of poor smitten Freddy, played by David Bryant Johnson, who is boyishly sweet in his declaration of love for the beautiful Eliza. Eliza’s drunken father Alfie Doolittle played by Steve Luker regales us with head-bobbing numbers “With a Little Bit of Luck,” and “Get me to the Church on Time.”
By the end, you’re rooting for Eliza and Higgins, hoping that love conquers all. Eliza has shed all traces of her Cockney accent, and speaks with a singsong British accent that’s just as charming as her former brogue. The notes she hit throughout gave me goose bumps, and there were times when I was watching her that she almost morphed into Julie Andrews, only better because she was right there in front of me. With Hope Wills leading this cast, Gateway has yet another successful show to be proud of.
It’s not over, thank goodness. Gateway’s season continues with The Rat Pack is Back, 9 to 5, and Phantom.
June 14, 2012
Get yourself to the Gateway on time for ‘My Fair Lady’
Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney girl who sells flowers, wants to be a lady.
Professor Henry Higgins, the conceited, smug, upper-class language expert, sees her in Covent Garden, is fascinated by her accent, and winds up betting with fellow grammarian Colonel Pickering that he can transform her into the Queen of Sheba in six weeks.
Well, that bet changes slightly. Eliza morphs into a duchess, but not without hilarious and poignant exchanges with Higgins.
Broadway’s Jennifer Hope Wills plays Eliza’s indignant, feisty, proud and vulnerable character with such conviction it’s hard not to jump on stage and cheer her on as she faces off with Higgins, who drives her diction lessons nearly 20 hours a day. Jamie Jackson, last season’s “Sweeney Todd,” is delicious as Higgins, that impossibly pompous snob.
No special effects, but plenty of great music, smart dialogue and humor snap throughout this production. As Eliza is repeating her a, e, i, o’s and u’s, trying not to cream them, Higgins and Pickering are discussing the merits of the housekeeper’s tarts. Eliza is starving and they overlook her hunger as she keeps opening her mouth for crumbs.
But watch out, Henry. This Cockney girl is not to be cowed. Wills wraps her beautiful soprano voice around “Just You Wait Henry Higgins” with blistering, over-the-top sarcasm, stepping off the settee in Higgins’ Victorian home and marching around pronouncing all sorts of dastardly paybacks for her overbearing tutor.
The Ascot Opening Race, with lush black, white and gray costumes and elaborate hats and a cast that pokes fun at the staid observers, introduces Eliza in her first public foray after getting her enunciations finally right. She meets Higgins’ mother, played by Melinda Tanner with spot-on dignity and arch acknowledgements that her son has no social skills. Mrs. Higgins, it turns out, has more compassion than Henry and likes Eliza when they meet. After perfectly pronounced greetings to her newly introduced acquaintances, Eliza’s startling rendition of an aunt who was done in with influenza after Eliza’s father siphoned gin down her throat, provided some hearty belly laughs.
“Move your bloomin’ arse!” she yells during the race. (They could have used her at Belmont this week.)
Keith Andrews directed and choreographed this production (last year’s hilarious “Spamalot” was his most recent effort for the Gateway). Under his guidance, the attraction between Eliza and Higgins is more definite. Higgins’ teacher-tutor role eventually changes him, something that he really doesn’t want, and Jackson’s nuanced transition from selfabsorbed know-it-all to someone who finally admits he needs this woman, is brilliant. (Jackson’s acting chops include the national tour of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” He’s also appeared in HBO’s “The Flight of the Conchords” and NBC’s “Smash.”) The realization begins at the Embassy Ball, where Eliza finally makes her real debut in an ethereal gown. Wills is luminous and for her take, she sees past Higgins’ façade and realizes, gratefully, she’s finally a lady because of his efforts.
The score is gorgeous. David Bryant Johnson, who plays Freddy Eynsford Hill, one of the Ascot Race spectators who’s smitten with Eliza, sings the impossibly beautiful “On the Street Where You Live” and got whoops after his tenor rendition Friday night. He’s perfect as the love-struck suitor. Wills tackles “I Could Have Danced All Night” effortlessly, and she hit those high notes joyfully, with clear precision.
The music by Lerner and Loewe transformed the George Bernard Shaw story “Pygmalion” into a wow musical that ran on Broadway from 1956 to 1962 and was the longest-running Broadway show at the time. It also introduced Eliza’s father, the irresponsible but likeable bloke who enjoys drinking in pubs. “Get Me to the Church on Time” is sung by Steve Luker, as Alfred Doolittle, with the ensemble, a fun, energetic rouser.
A word about the ensemble. They move this terrific production along with zest, whether portraying Eliza’s Cockney friends, the Ascot Race swells or Higgins’ house staff, and their harmonizing is a pleasure.
The cast received two well-deserved standing ovations and songs from the show were hummed on the way to the parking lot, a good sign. As for what happened to Eliza after her transformation — to paraphrase Eliza, ‘move your bloomin’ person’ for tickets. It’ll be there to June 24.
June 11, 2012
'Loverly' Production of MY FAIR LADY
It is easy to see why Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewes’ My Fair Lady has been called “the perfect musical”. The music is beautiful, the story is heartwarming, and when you have a cast like the one at Bellports’ Gateway Playhouse, you’re in for a special treat.
Directed by Keith Andrews, this incarnation, running through June 24th, features Jennifer Hope Wills as Eliza Doolittle, a poor woman who longs for a comfortable life. She meets Professor Henry Higgins, portrayed by Jamie Jackson, who specializes in phonetics harshly criticizing Eliza on her terrible grammar and etiquette. Higgins states that he’d be able to teach Eliza to speak properly and act like a lady within six months. With some struggle, they are soon dancing at a high society soiree.
Ms. Wills was absolutely brilliant as Eliza Doolittle. Having starred in Phantom Of The Opera on Broadway, there was no doubt she would be perfect for this production. Her rendition of "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" and the classic "I Could Have Danced All Night" was received with roaring applause from the nearly sold out audience.
Also wonderful was Steve Luker as Alfred Doolittle, Eliza's father. His performance of "With A Little Bit Of Luck" with his drinking sidekicks Harry and Jamie (Rob McCaffrey and Kevin Gutches, respectively) was a favorite of the evening.
Dennis Berfield and Terrant Smith did a stupendous job on the set design. In particular, Higgins study was immaculate. The grand stair case, cherry wood furniture, and huge, expensive couch were a wonderful touch for a well-to-do Professor. It was truly a different atmosphere as they went seamlessly from scene to scene making you forget you're sitting in a theatre.
Set in London in 1912, the costumes were dazzling. The ladies donned beautiful full skirt dresses and the gentlemen wore top hats and tuxes with tails. Costume Designer Jose Rivera also made the ladies stunning, huge hats that would have made Hedda Hopper jealous.
Of course, the music was fantastic as well. In addition to the aforementioned classics, you couldn't help but hum along to "The Rain In Spain". The performance of "The Embassy Waltz" by the incredible ensemble was breathtaking as well. Kudos to the band led by Peter Pece. "On The Street Where You Live" sung by Freddy Eynsford-Hill (portrayed by David Bryant Johnson) and "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face" sung by Professor Higgins were also well received.
My Fair Lady at Bellports' Gateway Playhouse has everything for a memorable evening… an amazing cast, classic music, and a beautiful venue to boot. Now playing through June 24th, "Just You Wait" until you see this production, you'll be saying the same thing.
The Gateway Theatre of Bellport, Long Island, presents My Fair Lady through June 24th. Book and Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner; Music by Frederick Loewe; Directed and Choreographed by Keith Andrews; Lighting Design by Marcia Madeira, Set Design by Dennis Berfield and Terrant Smith; Costume Design by Jose Rivera. For more information and to purchase tickets please call (631) 286-1133 or visit gatewayplayhouse.com.
Production Photos(download press photos here)
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Here is a feature story that aired on FIOS1
David Bryant Johnson*
Download the Playbill
6 Meg PDF File
|Mrs. Eynsford-Hill||Cheryl McMahon*|
|Eliza Doolittle||Jennifer Hope Wills*|
|Colonel Pickering||Steve Brady*|
|Selsey Man||Will Porter|
|Henry Higgins||Jamie Jackson*|
|Hoxton Man||Jeff M. Smith|
|Bystanders||Aubrey Elson, Will Porter, Jeff M.Smith|
|Loverly Quartet||Scott Hamilton, Will Porter,
Jeff M. Smith, Garrett Taylor
|Alfred P. Doolittle||Steve Luker*|
|Mrs. Pearce||Sharon Alexander*|
|Servants||Aubrey Elson, Kate Kramitz,
Allegra Leland, Emily Palmquist,
Adam Soniak, Garrett Taylor
|Mrs. Higgins||Melinda Tanner*|
|Chauffeur||Jeff M. Smith|
|Lord Boxington||Kevin Gutches|
|Lady Boxington||Chelsey Whitelock*|
|Constable||Jeff M. Smith|
|Zoltan Karpathy||Nathan Anderson|
|Mrs. Higgins' Maid||Aubrey Elson|
|Mrs. Hopkins||Chelsey Whitelock*|
|Queen's Escort||Kevin Gutches|
|Embassy Footman||Rob McCaffrey|
|Queen of Transylvania||Chelsey Whitelock*|
|The Prince||Kevin Gutches|
|Ascot Stewards||Scott Hamilton, Will Porter|
|Ensemble||Nathan Anderson, Aubrey Elson,
Kevin Gutches, Scott Hamilton
Kate Kramitz, Allegra Leland,
Rob McCaffrey, Cheryl McMahon*,
Emily Palmquist, Will Porter,
Jeff M. Smith, Adam Soniak,
Garrett Taylor, Chelsey Whitelock*
|Henry Higgins||Michael E. Baker*|
|Mrs. Pearce||Cheryl McMahon*|
|Colonel Pickering||Michael E. Baker*|
|Freddy Eynsford-Hill||Rob McCaffrey|
|Alfred P. Doolittle||Michael E. Baker*|
|Mrs. Eynsford-Hill||Chelsey Whitelock*|
|Mrs. Higgins||Cheryl McMahon*|
|Mrs. Hopkins||Aubrey Elson|
|Lady Boxington||Emily Palmquist|
*Actors employed in this production are members of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
|Conductor||Peter A. Pece|
|Keyboard||John P. Murphy|
|Reed I||Ken Borrmann|
|Reed II||Michael Kendrot|
Board of Directors
|Executive Producer||Ruth Allan|
|Associate Producer||Jeff Bellante|
|General Manager||Dom Ruggiero|
|Company Manager||Michael Baker|
|Assistant Company Manager||Jasmin Jakobsen|
|Director of Development/ Assistant to the Producer||Scot Patrick Allan|
|Administrative Assistant||Jessica Norland|
|Development Assistants||Don Rebar, Emily Denison|
|Associate Director/Choreographer||Antoinette Dipietropolo|
|Musical Director||Peter A. Pece|
|Lighting Designer||Marcia Maidera|
|Wig and Make-Up Design||Trent Pcenicni|
|Sound Designer||Adam Schbert|
|Assistant Musical Director||John P.Murphy|
|Production Photographer||Jeff Bellante|
|Musical Contractor||Jeff Hoffman|
|Sound Consultants||Dominic Sac, Cody Spencer|
|Acting School Director||Robin Joy Allan|
|Teaching Staff||Brian Gligor, Jessica Kerner, Andrew Pandaleon|
|Accompanists||Jeff Hoffman, Peter Pece|
|Box Office Manager||Laurie Hunter|
|House Manager||Joanne Famiglietti|
|Box Office Staff||Don Rebar, Beth Harrison, Nadine Hazard,
Diane Rodino-Koerber, Francesca Welhous
|Production Manager||Brian Loesch|
|Associate Production Manager||Justin Hoffman|
|Production Stage Manager||Nikki Lint|
|Resident Technical Director||Dennis R. Berfield|
|Production Technical Director||John Sabo|
|Wardrobe Supervisor||Marianne Dominy|
|Costume Coordinator||Jose M. Rivera|
|Resident Master Electrician||Rev. Jose Santiago|
|Production Master Electrician||Colin Chauche|
|Sound Engineer||Adam Shubert|
|Wig and Make-up Supervisor||Trent Pcenicni|
|Crew Chief and Rigger||AJ Lebens|
|Props Master||Brendan Conroy|
|Scenic Artist||Cassie Lentz|
|Assistant Master Electricians||Justin Michel|
|Assistant Stage Manager||Maegan Passafume, Bethany Sortman|
|Shop Foreman||Greg Marullo|
|Technicians||Maxx Henry, Preston Sullivan, Rob Brey, Jack Murphy, Ben Panichello|
|Wardrobe Assistant||Dave Burrington|
|Sound Assistant||Zach Ireson|
|Company Management||Rachel Colson|
|Stage Management||Alex Wood|
|Electrics||Elizabeth Marquis, Dusty Rader|
|Wardrobe||Grace Czerniawski, Emily Fox, Kaitlyn McDonald|
|General Technician Interns||Emily Baldasarra, Tashiana Caulfield, Brodie Krafka, Eddie Massari, Brody Woods|
|Facilities Manager||Mark Frederick L.M.H.|
|Concessions and Hospitality Manager||Blake Armitstead|
|Cleaning Contractor||Joe Martinez and Jasper Bailey|
|Grounds Maintenance||HTM Landscaping Company|
|House Staff||Ryan Hudak, Kevin Spellman,
Ethan Bellante, Ajay Persaud, Dominic Mondi
|General Counsel||Ann L. Nowak|