Mindy Smoot Robbins and Marvin Payne to Headline “My Fair Lady”

(Orem, Utah) — The word is spreading throughout Broadway that a professional revival of “My Fair Lady” will launch in The Big Apple next year and treat audiences to a sensational restoration of a nearly perfectly-crafted musical.

Audiences at the SCERA Center for the Arts will have their own memorable professional experience a bit earlier when two seasoned musical theater actors lend their considerable talents to a stylish rendition of Lerner & Loewe’s “My Fair Lady” April 14-May 6.

“Among the can’t miss productions in Utah Valley, ‘My Fair Lady’ certainly sits at the top of the list,” says Adam J. Robertson, SCERA’s President and CEO. “I believe everyone will fall in love with the cockney flower girl who turns into an elegant lady under the guidance of a brilliant, but difficult, language specialist.”

And director Chase Ramsey agrees.

Ramsey anticipates the upcoming production for several reasons. He has wanted the SCERA to secure the Tony Award winning story for several years, and thought it would be a bonus if he were chosen to direct it. Making the show even sweeter is the addition of professional actors Marvin Payne and Mindy Smoot Robbins, who, says Ramsey, are elevating the performances of the rest of the cast for an experience that has exceeded his already high expectations.  

Marvin Payne plays the brilliant but crotchety professor Henry Higgins and brings more than four decades of experience as a troubadour who writes, sings and records and as a brilliant actor who performs straight from the heart. Joining him toe-to-toe in skill and strength is Mindy Smoot Robbins as his spirted cockney student Eliza Doolittle.  A Broadway performer who understudied for Sutton Foster in the touring company of “Les Misérables,” Robbins was a favorite as the famous flower girl when she played Doolittle at Tuacahn Amphitheatre near St. George. It is one of her favorite roles, and she is dedicating her performance to her late mother.

“I have collaborated with both Mindy and Marvin,” says Ramsey, “which is a big reason I encourage people to see this show. Mindy is the strongest person I have ever met, and I am mirroring that quality to provide a true match for the Henry Higgins character. As for Marvin, he is even more of a joy than you would think. He definitely has a fan base, and he has earned it.”

Aside from the performances, Chase says working with the “well-crafted writing” of the musical is like “gleaning the gold from George Bernard Shaw’s elegant book and emphasizing the gold.”

Among the gold is Shaw’s premise that people are the way they are because of the way they are treated. Near the end of the play, Eliza tells Professor Higgins that their problem is that he has always treated her like an ignorant flower girl while his colleague, Colonel Pickering, has always treated her like a lady.

“I love this message and believe it is essential that we treat people in the best possible way, especially in our world today,” Ramsey says.

17Scera My Fair Lady pr 001

17Scera My Fair Lady pr 001 17Scera My Fair Lady publicity March 29, 2017 Photography by: Mark A. Philbrick

 

As a musical that wins major awards with every reiteration, the Lerner and Loewe score features many musical hits, including “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?,” “With a Little Bit of Luck,” “The Rain in Spain,” “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “On the Street Where You Live,” “Get Me to The Church on Time,” and “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face.”

Ramsey lauds a cast that is learning well from Payne and Robbins, adding that it is amazing to see how all performances get better when working with the veterans.

Other key roles in “My Fair Lady” are played by Marc Haddock as Colonel Pickering, Robert Holcombe as Alfred Doolittle, and Gabriel Spencer as Freddy. Kelsey Mariner will play the role of Eliza on April 20 and May 4.

Assisting Ramsey are DeLayne Dayton, music director, Tyne Valgardson Crockett, choreographer, M’Liss Tolman, scenic designer, Marianne Ohran, lighting designer, Kelsey Seaver, costume designer and Danielle Berry, stage manager.

“My Fair Lady” will play Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. April 14 through May 6 at SCERA Center for the Arts, 745 S. State Street, Orem. All tickets are reserved and available at $12 for adults and $10 for children age 3-11 and seniors age 65 and older. Obtain tickets by going to www.scera.org, calling 801-225-ARTS, or in person at the main office at SCERA Center, open 10am-6pm weekdays and 12noon-6pm Saturdays. Church and non-profit groups of 20 or more may purchase $6 non-refundable discount tickets in advance.

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