It is easy to see why Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewes' My Fair Lady has been called "the perfect musical". The music is beautiful, the story is heartwarming, and when you have a cast like the one at Bellports' Gateway Playhouse, you're in for a special treat.
Directed by Keith Andrews, this incarnation, running through June 24th, features Jennifer Hope Wills as Eliza Doolittle, a poor woman who longs for a comfortable life. She meets Professor Henry Higgins, portrayed by Jamie Jackson, who specializes in phonetics harshly criticizing Eliza on her terrible grammar and etiquette. Higgins states that he'd be able to teach Eliza to speak properly and act like a lady within six months. With some struggle, they are soon dancing at a high society soiree.
Ms. Wills was absolutely brilliant as Eliza Doolittle. Having starred in Phantom Of The Opera on Broadway, there was no doubt she would be perfect for this production. Her rendition of "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" and the classic "I Could Have Danced All Night" was received with roaring applause from the nearly sold out audience.
Also wonderful was Steve Luker as Alfred Doolittle, Eliza's father. His performance of "With A Little Bit Of Luck" with his drinking sidekicks Harry and Jamie (Rob McCaffrey and Kevin Gutches, respectively) was a favorite of the evening.
Dennis Berfield and Terrant Smith did a stupendous job on the set design. In particular, Higgins study was immaculate. The grand stair case, cherry wood furniture, and huge, expensive couch were a wonderful touch for a well-to-do Professor. It was truly a different atmosphere as they went seamlessly from scene to scene making you forget you're sitting in a theatre.
Set in London in 1912, the costumes were dazzling. The ladies donned beautiful full skirt dresses and the gentlemen wore top hats and tuxes with tails. Costume Designer Jose Rivera also made the ladies stunning, huge hats that would have made Hedda Hopper jealous.
Of course, the music was fantastic as well. In addition to the aforementioned classics, you couldn't help but hum along to "The Rain In Spain". The performance of "The Embassy Waltz" by the incredible ensemble was breathtaking as well. Kudos to the band led by Peter Pece. "On The Street Where You Live" sung by Freddy Eynsford-Hill (portrayed by David Bryant Johnson) and "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face" sung by Professor Higgins were also well received.
My Fair Lady at Bellports' Gateway Playhouse has everything for a memorable evening… an amazing cast, classic music, and a beautiful venue to boot. Now playing through June 24th, "Just You Wait" until you see this production, you'll be saying the same thing.
The Gateway Theatre of Bellport, Long Island, presents My Fair Lady through June 24th. Book and Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner; Music by Frederick Loewe; Directed and Choreographed by Keith Andrews; Lighting Design by Marcia Madeira, Set Design by Dennis Berfield and Terrant Smith; Costume Design by Jose Rivera. For more information and to purchase tickets please call (631) 286-1133 or visit gatewayplayhouse.com.