Commencement eve concert offers Broadway classic ‘My Fair Lady’

Tuesday May 7, 2019Doug Osborne-Coy
Julie Shapiro and Tyler Hecht
Julie Shapiro and Tyler Hecht

The Commencement-eve Pops tradition continues at Fredonia with a musical considered “the standard by which all other musicals are measured.”

Rockefeller Arts Center presents Lerner and Loewe’s “My Fair Lady in Concert” on Friday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m., in King Concert Hall.

The tale of a cockney flower girl transformed into an elegant lady is based on George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion.” It features one of musical theater’s greatest scores with songs including “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?,” “With a Little Bit of Luck,” “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “The Rain in Spain,” “On the Street Where You Live” and “Get Me to the Church on Time.”

Tickets are available through the Fredonia Ticket Office in the Williams Center, by phone at 673-3501 and online at fredonia.edu/tickets.

Backed by the Western New York Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Glen Cortese, a cast of 22 student performers will be featured. Rockefeller Arts Center Director Jefferson Westwood is the producer and School of Music faculty member Brent Weber is the stage director.

“This is a chance to enjoy the musical numbers and the storyline from what has been called the perfect musical,” Mr. Westwood said.

As the concert version, the performance features all the musical numbers from “My Fair Lady” in running order with the connecting dialogue that tells the story. However, there will be no scenery and the 37-piece orchestra will be on stage, instead of in the orchestra pit.

“My Fair Lady” made its Broadway debut in 1956 to great acclaim with Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison in the lead roles. It won six Tony Awards, including best musical and best performance by a leading actor in a musical (Harrison).

The leads for the Fredonia production are Julie Shapiro, a senior Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre major and Communication minor from Brighton, N.Y., and Tyler Hecht, a senior Bachelor of Fine Arts Musical Theatre major from Rochester, N.Y. Both will graduate the next afternoon with honors at the Steele Hall Commencement ceremony.

The original 1956 production ran for 2,717 performances, setting what was at that time the record for the longest running musical in Broadway history.

A Broadway revival was stage in 2018 and the production is still running at the Vivian Beaumont Theater.

“My Fair Lady in Concert” is a DFT Communications Pops Series event sponsored by the Fredonia Penny Saver as part of the Lake Shore Savings Season.

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