The Alhambra opened what may well be the most beloved and best-known musical of all time, Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady. This exuberant and picture-perfect musical will grace the Alhambra’s stage until November 27. To supplement the excellence on stage, The Alhambra has a to-die-for selection of food on their buffet.
This award-winning musical based on Shaw’s Pygmalion is about Eliza (Jazmin Gorsline), an ill-mannered Cockney lass who is plucked from her job as a flower seller in Covent Garden by linguist Professor Henry Higgins (Robin Haynes). Higgins makes a bet with his colleague, Colonel Pickering (Mark Poppleton), that he can turn this rough diamond into a graceful lady acceptable to British society; all that’s required is that she must learn to speak properly.
If we list all of the show’s most popular songs, “With a Little Bit of Luck,” “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “The Rain in Spain,” and “Get Me To The Church On Time,” you will have them dancing around in your head. And if you heard the songs done by this fine cast, you would be tempted to sing along with them.
Ms. Gorsline and Mr. Haynes have impressive resumes in musical theatre. Both have done these roles in national tours. The chemistry between these two performers is remarkable; you are going to love them.
One of the crowd favorites in every production is Eliza’s comical father, Alfred P. Doolittle, marvelously played by Henry Brewster, an Alhambra veteran of 22 years. Based on the applause, his “Get Me To The Church” was the audience’s favorite number in this show.
One of our favorite songs, “On The Street Where You Live,” was performed by Alhambra newcomer Alex Jorth as Freddy Hill, the society chap who becomes enamored with Eliza. Jorth’s rendition of this classic is pure perfection.
No one is credited with the choreography in the program, but we are sure Soontaree Jaisin-Simms, who is both the dance captain and a flower girl in the show, had a lot to do with the very energetic and inspired dancing.
The cast also includes three very versatile actors — Ken Uibel, Debbie Smith and Patti Eyler — who have been in many Alhambra shows over the years. Rounding out the cast were Leah Shreeves, Megan Tebo Morton, Tony Dietterick, Dominic Windsor and James Washburn. Michael Ursua, who was recently in Lend Me A Tenor and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is the Stage Manager and Musical Director.
Director Tod Booth did his usual outstanding job of casting, directing and inspiring his performers so that they were entirely immersed in the fine task of being entertaining.
The set design by Dave Dionne is uncluttered and portrays a number of settings, including the entrance to The Royal Opera, a tavern patronized by Doolittle, the Ascot racetrack, and Higgins’ study, complete with drapes, many books and a gramophone.
The costumes by the Costume Crew (Camala Pitts and Dorinda Quiles) reflect the elegance of the Edwardian era, with women in bonnets and long skirts and men, at times, in formal wear. The black and white fashions worn at the Ascot races were particularly striking.
When Craig Smith and his investors reopened the Alhambra, well-known Chef Mathew Medure, who was operating two successful restaurants of his own, came on board to contribute to the relaunch. As Mr. Medure expands his restaurant world to a third location, he has stepped down and Chef DeJuan Roy, formerly of 95 Cordova, is now the full-time chef. The buffet is back for this show, and Chef Roy presented an array of traditional English food that was outstanding. For example, entrée choices included prime rib with Yorkshire pudding, fish and chips, and chicken divan.
Don’t miss the Alhambra’s superb production of this classic. Call 641-1212 for reservations or visit The Alhambra is located at 12000 Beach Blvd. in Jacksonville.