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Timeless tale of transformation begins previews and makes its spectacular Shaw Festival debut

“The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she is treated.”

 Media Release #9

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, April 13, 2011 . . . Welcome home Miss Doolittle! It’s so loverly to finally greet you. An innovative and fresh reinterpretation of My Fair Lady brings Eliza Doolittle’s London vibrantly to life and reinvigorates the memorable melodies and lyrics of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe. Molly Smith, Artistic Director of Washington D.C.’s Arena Stage, returns to The Shaw to direct a delight for the senses. From its familiar songs to captivating dance numbers to a kaleidoscope of vivid visuals and re-envisioned costumes, all brought to life by superb Shavian actors, the breathtaking Bernard Shaw-inspired musical begins previews today at the Festival Theatre.The Shaw Festival’s My Fair Lady has musical direction by Music Director Paul Sportelli and choreography by New York-based choreographer Daniel Pelzig and features Deborah Hay as Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle, Benedict Campbell as phonetics professor Henry Higgins, Patrick Galligan as Colonel Pickering and Neil Barclay as Alfred Doolittle, with Kyle Blair, Alexandre Brillon, Celeste Brillon, Saccha Dennis, Sharry Flett, Jeff Irving, Patty Jamieson, Gabrielle Jones, Billy Lake, Colin Lepage, Anthony Malarky, Heather McGuigan, Katie Murphy, Melanie Phillipson, Louie Rossetti, Kiera Sangster, Jonathan Tan, Jacqueline Thair, Devon Tullock, Aidan Tye, Mark Uhre, Robin Evan Willis, Luka Vujic, Kelly Wong and Kellan Ziffle.

A wager between two men, phonetics Professor Henry Higgins and his colleague Colonel Pickering, initiates the metamorphosis of a “deliciously low” Cockney flower girl from the slums of Tottenham Court Road to an enchanting lady who can dance amongst Europe’s royalty. The transformation is made even more unforgettable when combined with entrancing musical numbers such as I Could Have Danced All Night, The Rain in Spain, On the Street Where You Live and Get Me to the Church on Time.

Production credits for My Fair Lady include set design by Ken MacDonald, costume design by Judith Bowden, lighting design by Jock Munro, projection design by Adam Larsen and sound design by John Lott. The stage management team includes Production Stage Manager Judy Farthing and Assistant Stage Managers Leigh McClymont and Annie McWhinnie.

Spring tickets sales for the Shaw Festival’s 50th season are surpassing all expectations. The Shaw’s 30 under 30 program is witnessing sales well ahead of 2010 numbers and, astoundingly, 60% of those tickets are for My Fair Lady. The popularity of My Fair Lady, one of the most adored musicals, is attracting an audience from every province, and two territories, in Canada and across the U.S., with some set to visit from as far away as Alaska and Hawaii.

 My Fair Lady begins preview performances Wednesday, April 13, opens Saturday, May 28 and plays in repertory until Sunday, October 30. My Fair Lady is sponsored by TD Bank Group.

My Fair Lady
Music by Frederick Loewe, adaptation and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner.
Adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s play and Gabriel Pascal’s motion picture Pygmalion.
Presented by arrangement with Tams-Witmark Music Library Inc.

This production of My Fair Lady has been assisted by a grant from the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, a program of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, administered by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation.

The Shaw Festival’s milestone season began April 7, 2011, runs until October 30, 2011 and features an array of diverse theatre on the Festival’s four Niagara-on-the-Lake stages. This momentous season also includes productions of Heartbreak House, Candida, The Admirable Crichton, On the Rocks, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Maria Severa, Drama at Inish – A Comedy, The President, Topdog/Underdog, When the Rain Stops Falling and a special 50th season two-day event, The Speed of Ideas: A Theatrical Forum featuring award-winning playwrights Tony Kushner and Suzan-Lori Parks and author and renowned theatre critic Michael Billington. For more information on our 50th season celebrations, please visit www.shawfest.com/Home/Our-50th-Season.

Visa Infinite is the official payment card of the Shaw Festival.

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In the spirit of Bernard Shaw, the Shaw Festival provokes the mind and stirs the soul through a theatre experience so compelling that, year after year, ever-broadening groups of artists, audiences and supporters are drawn to our work in Niagara-on-the-Lake and beyond.

Please visit our website at www.shawfest.com/news for other Shaw Festival media releases. For more information, or to download images from our image bank to accompany this release, members of the media may contact:

Odette Yazbeck 
Public Relations Director 
905-468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2222                   
odette@shawfest.com                                                      

Jenniffer Anand
Public Relations Coordinator
905-468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2224
janand@shawfest.com

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