A unique masterpiece, Pygmalion is one of Bernard Shaw's most popular plays. It is the story of phonetics professor Henry Higgins who bets that he can transform Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle into a lady and pass her off in high society. Pygmalion is a modern myth and also a strikingly contemporary view of sexual politics and the science of romance. The story inspired the well-known Lerner and Loewe musical My Fair Lady (1956). Recommended for general audiences.
Shaw was inspired by the original myth of Pygmalion. Pygmalion was a mythological king of Cyprus, a sculptor - who fell in love with his own invention, Galatea. Shaw both exploits and subverts the myth to show Higgins' transformed duchess of a flower girl blossom, shatter, and ultimately find a deeper humanity.
Shaw resisted all attempts to make a musical of Pygmalion while he lived. He said that the play has "its own verbal music." "Though the musical My Fair Lady written 5 years after Shaw's passing is genuinely brilliant in itself," explains Alley Theatre Artistic Director Gregory Boyd "it lacks the depth of the play. The play is shot through with the real pain of a complicated and unrequited love. And this depth - real pain, genuine heart and laughter, emotional confusion and bitter acceptance - is what places Pygmalion, for me, on a pedestal with the finest comedies ever created."
Pygmalion, by Bernard Shaw and directed by Anders Cato begins previews Friday, May 20, opens Wednesday, May 25 and runs through Sunday, June 12, 2011 on the Hubbard Stage.
Pygmalion features Alley Theatre Artists James Black as Colonel Pickering, Elizabeth Bunch as Eliza Doolittle, Chris Hutchison as Freddy Eynsford-Hill, Melissa Pritchett as Clara Eynsford-Hill, John Tyson as Alfred Doolittle, Todd Waite as Henry Higgins and Jeffrey Bean and James Belcher as Bystanders.
Pygmalion also features SuEllen Estey Mrs. Eynsford-Hill, Elizabeth Shepherd as Mrs. Higgins, Kay Walbye as Mrs. Pearce and Patrick Damien Earl and Lyndsay Sweeney as Bystanders.
The design team for Pygmalion includes scenic design by Neil Patel (Alley's Wonderland, Leading Ladies, Hamlet) and costume design by Alejo Vietti (Alley's August: Osage County, Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps, Our Town). Lighting design is by Rui Rita (Alley's Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps, Eurydice, Cyrano de Bergerac) and original music and sound design is by Josh Schmidt (Alley's Harvey, The Farnsworth Invention, Mauritius) with dialect, voice and text coach Sara Becker (Alley Theatre Debut) and Dramaturg Lauren Halvorsen (Alley's August: Osage County, A Behanding in Spokane, Mrs. Mannerly).
James Black (Colonel Pickering) is proud to be celebrating his 23rd consecutive season at the Alley where as an actor and occasional director, he has been involved in over 100 productions. Recent appearances include Amadeus as Count Orsini-Rosenberg, August: Osage County as Steve Heidebrecht, Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up as Captain Hook and Mr. Darling, St. Nicholas, Boeing-Boeing as Bernard, Harvey as Elwood P. Dowd, Mrs. Mannerly as Jeffrey, Our Town as Stage Manager, The Farnsworth Invention, Rock 'n' Roll as Max, The Man Who Came to Dinner as SheriDan Whiteside, A Christmas Carol as Mrs. Dilber and Jacob Marley, Cyrano de Bergerac as Le Bret, Othello as Iago, Arsenic and Old Lace as Jonathan Brewster, Treasure Island as Long John Silver, Hitchcock Blonde as Hitch, A Moon for the Misbegotten as James Tyrone Jr., Orson's Shadow as Olivier, Journey's End as Lieutenant Osborne, The Crucible as Proctor, After the Fall as Quentin, Black Coffee as Hercule Poirot, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum as Marcus Lycus, Twelfth Night as Sir Toby Belch, Sherlock Holmes as Moriarty, Hamlet as Claudius, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? as George, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest as McMurphy, How I Learned to Drive as Uncle Peck, A View From the Bridge as Eddie Carbone, and Not About Nightingales as Butch O'Fallon, among others. He has also directed A Behanding in Spokane, Doubt, Death on the Nile, Glengarry Glen Ross, Deathtrap, Dial "M" for Murder, Our Lady of 121st Street, The Foreigner, Of Mice and Men and As Bees in Honey Drown. His film and television credits include Olympia, The Man with the Perfect Swing, Houston: The Legend of Texas, Fire and Rain, Challenger, Night Game, and Killing in a Small Town. He received a Theatre World Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut and a Drama Desk nomination for Best Actor for Not About Nightingales and a BackStage West Garland Award for his appearance as Eddie Carbone in the Alley's production of A View from the Bridge.