The essence of live theater is that on any given night a magical, special performance can happen live on the stage right before your eyes. That was the case at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor when a well-polished production of My Fair Lady opened to thunderous applause. The passionate response was aimed not only at Kelli Barrett who was a showstopper as Liza Doolittle, but to the whole cast that kept dazzling the audience with a flawless, cohesive high energy show that elevated the lyrics of Alan Jay Lerner and the music of Frederick Loewe to a new level. Award winning director Michael Arden is also to be applauded for inspiring his whole cast to recreate the enthusiasm that is My Fair Lady.
Paul Alexander Nolan is quite fantastic as Professor Henry Higgins. I was particularly fond of Howard McGillin as Colonel Pickering, a part that is very important and provides the glue between the two main characters. John O’Creagh was a boost of pure joy as Alfred Doolittle and Karen Murphy was spot on as the dutiful and mindful Mrs. Pierce. Bobby Conte Thornton, who played Freddy Eynsford-Hill, received a huge ovation after his powerful rendition of On the Street Where You Live. The audience chuckled at the clever lines of Mrs. Higgins as Carole Shelley, who never missed a beat. Overall, this is a very well timed and staged production.
My Fair Lady is a musical that endures a certain status as a classic. This Bay Street production only adds to that status with a younger energy and a more relevant up-to-date interpretation that the genius of Michael Arden accents.
I was pleasantly surprised how the one set designed by Dane Laffrey was so well utilized for all the scenes, and Chase Brock gets a job well done for the choreography. As a former stage actor I also must give kudos to Howell Binkley (Lighting Design) because the lights were always effectively following the fast moving action.
This production of My Fair Lady wraps up a phenomenal 25th anniversary summer season. This show is running until Sunday, September 4th and I strongly recommend everyone who loves musical theater to witness this strong and dazzling production. It is what’s best about Bay Street Theater; they deliver the highest quality live theater at a most reasonable cost, and in the heart of cozy Sag Harbor.
Bay Street Theater is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For tickets, or more information, call 631-725-9500 or visit www.baystreet.org.