Saturday, August 20, 2016

reviews - MY FAIR LADY - Scottsdale Musical Theater Company

Terry Gadaire (on couch) and Cast
Photo courtesy Scottsdale Musical Theater Company
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through August 21st.

 "Scottsdale Musical Theater Company prides itself on "bringing Broadway's favorites back to life" and they've done just that with an incredibly solid and lively production of the beloved musical My Fair Lady. With superb leads, vibrant creative elements, and clear and concise direction, this is SMTC's best production yet....The most important element of any successful production of this show is the relationship between Eliza and Higgins. SMTC has cast Valley favorite Terry Gadaire as Higgins and ASU senior Karylin Veres as Eliza and the two are just about perfect in bringing these beloved roles to life. Veres' effervescent portrayal includes a combination of effective acting choices that deliver appropriate, well thought out layers...Gadaire...appropriately makes Higgins an assured, self-centered, and self-absorbed individual who often bullies the people around him to get his way. But Gadaire never allows his Higgins to cross the line into an over-the-top portrayal that is too harsh or mean....Gadaire and Veres are providing extremely strong performances and have an instant chemistry that makes the audience easily fall in love with them and root for their success. The supporting cast is just as good. Peter Cunniff is an absolute riot as Eliza's father Alfred Doolittle. He portrays this lovable drunk of a man with a huge dose of charisma but also a touch of sweet sincerity. ....Bill Diekmann does well as Colonel Pickering, Higgins' right arm, the lovable straight man who, unlike Higgins, shows Eliza much compassion. Curtis Moeller instills the role of Freddy Eynsford-Hill, the man who becomes enamored with Eliza, with a keen sense of joy and passion and delivers a solid version of the show's big romantic ballad "On the Street Where You Live." ...Director David Hock has done an exceptional job.... One of the best things about an SMTC production is their continued use of a large orchestra and under Kevin Hayward's baton the 22-piece band accomplish a superb sound. While the lavish two-story set and lush costumes are rentals, they are nicely balanced by Tylar Talkington's simple yet effective lighting design and crisp and clear sound design by Josh Hontz. Hearing the show's classic Lerner and Loewe score...performed by a gifted cast and a large, full orchestra is a joyous experience. When you add in the show's extremely well-written book, and have it all presented by a talented cast under assured direction, SMTC's production easily proves why My Fair Lady is a classic of musical theatre."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"Scottsdale Musical Theater Company (SMTC) has mounted an extravagant production of the classic Lerner and Loewe musical "My Fair Lady"...Henry Higgins is an exasperating, condescending human. What's more, local Terry Gadaire last night mastered the arrogant linguistics and over-educated sarcasm with despicably likable charm....As Eliza's endearingly staggering deadbeat dad, Peter Cunniff glistened. It was almost impossible to argue for sobriety or familial responsibility while witnessing Cunniff's uncontainable, harmless mirth....SMTC's Eliza, Karylin Veres, is especially tough to passively let wither because of the beautifully trained mezzo pipes she's hiding underneath that frumpy Cockney exterior....In the last moments before the curtain lowered, when Eliza placed her hands on the professor's shoulders, an undeniable affection and attraction emanated from the simple movement of him touching his cheek to the back of her hand. Its force reckoned all of the previous disconnects incalculably worthwhile....The show is also a lovely community effort. Particularly, they projected a fine display of upper, academic and middle class morality. Young and hobby thespians were hard at work at Tempe's Arts Center. The adorably staged and elegantly costumed "Ascot" number displayed it best. The well-blended ensemble women nailed the upper register harmony during 'Get Me to the Church' in another praiseworthy moment. A few less polished elements suggested the work is still in progress. Some musical strains were particularly strained as the orchestra (strings) struggled with some intonation, while the acapella men's pitches pitched about a bit. Like the character of Eliza Doolittle, the entire production was thoroughly loverly. Any rough around the edges only added to the charm of SMTC's "My Fair Lady." Jennifer Haaland (click here to read the complete review)

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