By Mike Cook
Las Cruces Bulletin
LAS CRUCES – In transforming ‘guttersnipe’ Eliza Doolittle into a grand lady, phoneticist Henry Higgins also finds the love of his life in “My Fair Lady,” which opens with a special preview performance on Thursday, April 25 and continues through Sunday, May 5 at the ASNMSU Center for the Arts, 1000 E. University Ave.
Performances of the musical are 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 25; 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, April 26-27 and May 3-4; and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 4-5.
NMSU theatre students Jenna Ivey and Adam Logan play Eliza Doolittle as Henry Higgins. The cast also includes Samantha Armstrong, Bryan Berard, Micaela Bernal, Brandon Brown (Col. Pickering), Calvin Chervinko, Melis Derya White (Mrs. Higgins), Yamilex Holguin, Brianna Horvath, Loren Jackson (Alvin Doolittle), Jessica Jimenez, Cheyenne Kimmick (Freddy Eynsford Hill), Quinton Kriner, Isaac Lucero, Peyton Matthews, Riley Merritt, Kamyrn Neill (Mrs. Pearce), Francesca Perez-Wright, Nicole Ritter, Ginger Scarborough (Mrs. Eynsford Hill) and Alexis Tafoya (Queen of Transylvania). Many actors are playing multiple parts in the show.
Christa Fredrickson is the show’s musical director, Monique Foster is the choreographer, Alice Carruth is the dialect coach.
“The production is a celebration of student talent, and also a collaboration between NMSU and our regional community,” said NMSU Theatre Department Assistant Professor Larissa Lury, who directed the production. “Our design team consists almost entirely of students, working at the top of their game. Our cast combines a large ensemble of students ranging from first-year students to those about to graduate, with veteran performers from Las Cruces and Alamogordo.”
“The biggest challenge for me in taking on ‘My Fair Lady’ is finding a way to honor all that makes it legendary, while also taking an honest look at the worldview it’s affirming,” Lury said. “’My Fair Lady’ was progressive for its time, but through our 2019 eyes, there are some aspects of it that will make us cringe and not in a way the writers intended.
“What is exciting as a director, is to look at Lerner and Loewe’s forward-thinking intentions, to dig up the hints they have laid out in the script and to interpret the play for our world here and now,” she said. “The musical remains set in 1912. The music is the same gorgeous score we know, all of the dialogue is the same, but our production aims to bring the familiar to light in a new way, so that we can see it all with fresh eyes.”
“This is the first time in recent history that NMSU theatre has produced a musical with an orchestral ensemble,” Lury said. “Audiences will be treated to live strings, brass, woodwinds, piano and percussion. The music in this show soars, and the dialogue is some of the wittiest in musical theatre history.
With book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Lowe and a story based on George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion,” “My Fair Lady” opened on Broadway in 1956. It has won 10 Tony awards: seven (including best musical) in 1957 for the original production, one for the 1976 revival and two for the 2018 revival.
For tickets, call 575-646-1420 or visit www.nmsutheatre.com/boxoffice.php.
Mike Cook may be contacted at email@example.com.