Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Meet the cast of 'My Fair Lady' and its Tony Award-winning director at Asolo Rep in Sarasota

Andrea Prestinario sings the "My Fair Lady" classic "I Could Have Danced All Night" at the Asolo Rep media luncheon today in Sarasota.

The Asolo Repertory Theatre's production of "My Fair Lady" doesn't open the company's 53rd season until next month but its star already earned a nice round of applause today in Sarasota.

Producing Artistic Director Michael Edwards had all the cast and creatives on hand for a media luncheon held on the mezzanine of the Mertz Theatre.

The big cheers came after Andrea Prestinario, accompanied by a lone keyboardist, belted out a pitch perfection rendition of the classic musical's iconic number "I Could Have Danced All Night."

From left: Jeff Parker, Andrea Prestinario and Michael Edwards

"My Fair Lady," which opens Nov. 18 and runs through Dec. 23, features Prestinario as Eliza Doolittle, a role that earned her rave reviews in the Chicago Tribune and other publications during a recent "My Fair Lady" production at The Paramount Theatre in Aurora, Ill.

Jeff Parker, who like Prestinario is based in Chicago, plays Professor Henry Higgins. Making his Asolo Rep debut, Parker is a Jeff Award nominee whose extensive performance list includes Goodman Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Manhattan Theatre Club and Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

Based on George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion" with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, "My Fair Lady" also marks the return of Tony Award-winning director (and now Sarasota resident) Frank Galati. His credits include last season’s hit production of Asolo Rep's "Twelve Angry Men."

Frank Galati
Galati won two Tony Awards, including Best Direction of a Play, in 1990 for "Grapes of Wrath." In 1998, he staged "Ragtime" and was nominated again for a Tony Award in the Best Direction of a Musical category. Galati also received an Academy Award-nomination as coauthor on the screenplay for the 1988 dramatic romance "The Accidental Tourist," which won Geena Davis an Oscar.

Edwards explained how he wanted to do "My Fair Lady" since he came to Asolo Rep five years ago but needed Galati to direct as to ensure the production would not be "musty."

Galati described "My Fair Lady" as a "biting satire ... about the power of language" and addressed the "serious material underneath this extraordinary musical comedy."

Edwards returned to the podium and, with a sly smile, reminded the journalists representing publications across Southwest Florida that "My Fair Lady" would also be "funny and sexy."

Laughter filled the mezzanine. 

During the brief Q&A section that followed, Doug Peck, the music director/keyboardist, explained the two piano score chosen by Asolo Rep would make the show more intimate because the actors wouldn't have to project over a 40-musician orchestra.

Andrea Prestinario as Eliza Doolittle during a recent "My Fair Lady" 
production at The Paramount Theatre

"My Fair Lady"
Presented in the Harold E. and Esther M. Mertz Theatre
November 18, 2011- December 23, 2011
Preview performances November 15-17
Click for ticket info

Creative Team:
Frank Galati Director
Joshua Rhodes Choreographer
Doug Peck Music Director/Keyboards
Ian Weinberger Assistant Music Director/Keyboards 2
Russell Metheny Set Design
Mara Blumenfeld Costume Design
James D. Sale Lighting Design
Kevin Kennedy Sound Design
Michelle Hart Wig & Hair Design
Patricia Delorey Voice & Dialect
Kelly Borgia* Stage Manager
Michael Morales* Assistant Stage Manager
Nia Sciarretta Stage Management Intern
Ryan Bible Student Lighting Assistant
Lauryn E. Sasso Resident Dramaturg

Cast (in alphabetical order):
Andrew Boyer* Alfred Dolittle
Colleen Cherry 2nd Maid/Ensemble
Sean Effinger-Dean Freddy Eynsford-Hill
Joel Hatch* Col. Pickering
Heather Kopp* 3rd Maid/Ensemble
Carol Kuykendall* 4th Maid/Ensemble
Rob Lindley* 1st Cockney/Ensemble
Robert David May 4th Cockney/Ensemble
Christine Mild* 1st Maid/Ensemble
Annie Morrison* Mrs. Eynsford-Hill
Thomas Mothershed Harry/Ensemble
Jeff Parker* Henry Higgins
Andrea Prestinario* Eliza Doolittle
Peggy Roeder* Mrs. Higgins
Cliff Roles Ensemble
Daniel Schwab 2nd Cockney/Ensemble
Penny Slusher* Mrs. Pearce
Barry Tarallo* Jamie/Ensemble
Bryan Torfeh* Zoltan Karpathy/3rd Cockney
*denotes member of Actor’s Equity

—All photos by Wade Tatangelo

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