Glenview Theatre Guild presents ‘My Fair Lady’
The Glenview Theatre Guild rehearses a lively scene from "My Fair Lady." . | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
‘My Fair Lady’
Glenview Theatre Guild, Glenbrook South High School’s Watson Auditorium, 4000 W. Lake Ave, Glenview
8 p.m. June 22-23, 29-30 and July 6-7; 2 p.m. June 24 and July 1; and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. July 7
Tickets are $17 in advance; $20 at the box office. Advance tickets can be purchased at Park Center, 2400 Chestnut
Visit www.GTGonstage.com or call (847) 604-3411
Updated: June 19, 2012 7:31PM
You can’t change a book by changing its cover.
Or can you?
Polish the way she speaks and upgrade her appearance and see if the flower seller becomes a fine lady with the Glenview Theatre Guild in its production of the Broadway classic, “My Fair Lady.”
“It’s a great family show,” said Gretchen Kimmeth, who plays Eliza Doolittle, that flower girl whose life is meddled with so dramatically. “There’s so much in it.”
“My Fair Lady” plays June 22, 23, 29, 30, July 6 and 7 at Glenbrook South High School.
With a book by Alan Jay Lerner with music by Frederick Loewe, “My Fair Lady” is set in London of 1912 and is based on George Bernard Shaw’s play, “Pygmalion.”
Kimmeth agreed, saying “it’s very classic, very strong storyline.”
The plot kicks off with a bet between Henry Higgins, a professor of language, and a fellow linguist about whether Higgins can turn a poor, broadly-accented Cockney flower seller into a duchess by simply teaching her to speak “proper” English and dressing her up. The young woman overhears the bet and agrees to the lessons.
“The book of the show, much of it is taken straight out of Shaw’s play, so it’s excellent theater,” said the show’s director, Susie Johnson of Naperville.
At the time period of the play, English social classes were strictly separated and women of all classes did not have nearly the mobility and opportunity that they have now, said Kimmeth, who lives in Chicago.
Yet Eliza Doolittle has a character that serves her well. “I find her very brave and very honest, and she doesn’t cower under the sort of bully of a language teacher that she has,” said Kimmeth. “It’s a really great journey to take as an actor. It’s a lot to do. It’s a lot of music, a lot of laughs, a lot of costumes ... ”
She added that “the story is rich and the language beautiful ... ” and then there’s a lot of “really fun music,” as well as the gorgeous songs that have become American standards.
It’s work playing Eliza, said Kimmeth, given the play’s great songs and language. “How to pace myself and where to pull back so I have something left for the next song or the next scene, that’s the biggest challenge in the show itself.”
Just about everyone will recognize tunes like “I Could Have Danced all Night” and “Get Me to the Church on Time.”
“ ‘My Fair Lady,’ ” said Kimmeth, “is the opposite of a little cult musical. It truly has something for everyone. You get a wonderful couple of hours of entertainment and humor and music and there is romance and intrigue and then you also get to kind of decide for yourself what it all means at the end.”
The show’s ending is traditionally thought-provoking, Kimmeth noted, and the Glenview troupe is working out its version of the tale.
“We’re still exploring how exactly our show is going to end,” she said. “As it’s written it’s rather ambiguous how Eliza and Henry Higgins reconcile their conflict and find a way to continue the friendship that they’ve had and really see eye to eye as equals.”
Johnson added that because the Guild does a lot of classic plays and musical theater pieces, “I like to honor the tradition that’s there as well as work with each new cast to bring their own interpretation and feel to the telling of the story.”