“MY FAIR LADY” MAGICAL, MEMORABLE, MAGNIFICENT

BONNIE GOLDBERG

Professor Henry Higgins of 27A Wimpole Street, London, England is confident, arrogant and supremely knowledgeable about phonetics and languages. In the hands of the gifted Terrence Mann, he is equal parts curmudgeon and charmer. When his colleague Colonel Pickering, played deftly by Timothy Gulan, challenges him to take a Cockney flower girl, a guttersnipe, and in six months time transform her into a duchess, the egotistical Higgins can’t resist.

Such is the delightful premise of Lerner and Loewe’s classic family musical “My Fair Lady,” based on George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion.” The Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s production, at the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre, on the campus of the University of Connecticut at Storrs, until Sunday, July 17 is pure perfection.

This scalawag of a professor plucks a “squashed cabbage leaf,” a piece of “baggage,” namely one Miss Eliza Doolittle, off the London streets where she is innocently trying to sell her violets and posies and earn an honest shilling or three. Alix Paige’s Eliza is “loverly,” dirty face, scruffy and all and she rises beautifully to the task, under Higgins’ tutelage.

Despite the interfering of Eliza’s old dad, a masterful Richard Ruiz, Eliza manages to win the favor of Henry’s mama (Eileen Fulton), his housekeeper (Lynn McNutt) and a socialite admirer Freddy (Connor Moore) who serenades her with the lilting melody “On the Street Where You Live.”

The music is spot-on marvelous from Eliza’s daydreaming “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?” to her papa’s ruminating “With a Little Bit of Luck” to Higgins’ observations in “I’m an Ordinary Man” to Eliza’s “I Could Have Danced All Night.” Each one is a gem.

Vincent J. Cardinal gets full credit for a smashing sensation of a show, with sophisticated choreography by Charlotte d’Amboise, enchanting costuming by Kevin Thacker and thoroughly top notch sets by Michael Anania.

For tickets ($10-39), call the CT Rep at 860-486-4226 or go online to www.crt.uconn.edu. Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Dance all the way to the box office and purchase a little bit of theatrical heaven, with a flower cart full of glorious music, a brilliant professor and his deliciously fair lady of a pupil.


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