Monday, November 12, 2012


For more than five decades, the story of a poor, dirty faced and uneducated Cockney flower girl, eking out a living selling  bunches of violets for a tuppence in Covent Gardens, has charmed the world.  This particular girl, one Eliza Doolittle, is ready to spread her magic once again when the West Hartford Community Theater brings the wonderful musical "My Fair Lady" to the King Philip School, 100 King Philip Drive, West Hartford for three performances Friday, November 16 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, November 17 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.             

Come make the acquaintance of Amanda Kohl as delightful an Eliza Doolittle as you could hope to meet, with just the right amount of skepticism and wonder as you might expect when , suddenly, she is plucked from the gutter by an arrogant and aggressive Professor Henry Higgins and informed that he has the powers to make her a princess, or duchess, or any number of a member of royalty as he so chooses.  The professor in question, a master of languages and at the top of his field, has been challenged by his good friend and colleague Colonel Pickering (Sal Uccello)  to take this "squashed cabbage leaf," this "guttersnipe," and pass her off as a sophisticated lady of privilege. As the masterful professor Patrick Spadaccino is clearly up to the daunting task.

How Henry accomplishes this feat, which he takes full credit for, discounting all the work and effort by one Miss Doolittle herself, is a pure pleasure to watch.  When Eliza's old dad (Alfred Hess ) comes by to save her soul, or at least get paid for her lose of reputation, the goose feathers fly.  The wonderful Lerner and Loewe tunes are stuffed in that fat pillow and soar through the air, like "I Could Have Danced All Night," "Get Me to the Church on Time," "On the Street Where You Live" and "I've Grown Accustomed to her Face."

For all her efforts, Eliza only has the support of two females, the professor's mother (Kayzie Rogers) who knows all too well what a bully her son is and the professor's housekeeper, Mrs. Pierce (Eileen Rausch) who sees his impervious ways on a daily basis as well as the adoration of her suitor Freddie, a devoted Michael McDermott.  For her part, Eliza is swept up in the monumental task of transforming herself from head to toe, inside and out, and she does a magnificent job of the business at hand. 

The large enthusiastic community cast also includes Waas Porter as Mrs. Eynford-Hill, Michael Dolan as Lord Boxington, Susan Porta, Karen Finnegan, Eric Goldberg, Hal Chernoff, Bianca Slota, and Scott McDonald.
WHCT  welcomes back Lisa Camargo, Marcy Balint, Terry Szymanski and Bobbi Schmidt. Young singers include Sydney Weiser, Zach Aldave, Stella Rivera, and Alexandra van der Hulst.  All five members of the van der Hulst clan will join on WHCT's stage this year, including father, Harry, mother, Nancy, and children Russell, Serena and Alexandra.  Other members rounding out the cast include Julie Levine, Joan Delaney, Eleanor Putz, Allison Walbrown, Rebekah Battersby, Judge Linda Prestley, Jean Guthrie. Dancers include Ricardo Carillo Bambaren, Meghan McDermott, Noreen Cavanaugh, Melissa Silvanic, and Lucy Tomasso.

 Lesley Gallagher directs this musical fit for the whole family to enjoy, with energetic choreography by Jan Bunger, lively music direction by Ed de Groat, with able assistance by Paul Leone as stage manager and Jeff Goetz as the assistant director.

The West Hartford Community Theater will present the musical performance of "My Fair Lady" as its fifth major production.  WHCT was started in 2008 by Conard High School graduates, attorney Bruce LaRoche and Maria Librio Judge, a local CPA. Its first production, "Music Man," was made possible with help from Haig Shahverdian and Michael Renkawitz. Other past performances include, "Oklahoma," "Broadway Melodies," "Brigadoon," "A Tribute to Gershwin," "The Sound of Music," The Secret Garden," and "Broadway Nights.

For tickets ($18 in advance, $22 at the door), go to Pfau's Hardware in West Hartford Center or online at  Call 860-967-7026 for more information.

Cheer on Miss Eliza Doolittle as she trades in her bunches of flowers for a tiara and title, all thanks to a bet that the conceited Professor Henry Higgins can't resist making and winning.

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