Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Cast Is Superb in "My Fair Lady"

Cleveland Press September 1, 1964

Familiarity has not diminished the sparkle of Lerner and Loewe's "My Fair Lady," nor the wit of its source, Shaw's "Pygmalion."

It could be that everybody and everything seem much better with this material, but I doubt that this is the explanation for the effervescent performance at the tent theater last night.

THE SONGS were superbly done by the principals. Performers could be heard in both songs and dialog. Action moved crisply. In short everyone rose to the level of the material, which is a high level indeed.

There was the lavishness of the costumes in the Ascot Park and embassy ball scenes that livened the proceedings. There were the simple but appropriate sets which suggested the sumptuousness that the setting demanded yet were functional enough to serve this tent theater.

As the woman-hating phonetics professor, Henry Higgins, producer Johnny Price~ has brought in Ronald Drake, an actor who play the role in the national company for two years.

DRAKE is a tall, hand-some English actor with just the proper voice, diction and bearing for the role.

Naomi Collier returned to Musicarnival to portray Eliza Doolittle, the tattery flower girl Higgins takes from the gutter. Miss Collier has a lovely, clear soprano that soars when it has to -- as it did in "I Could Have Danced All Night." She's good to look at and acts more than passably well, a necessity in going from Cockney to grand lady.

Lloyd Battista, last seen here in the Play House production of "Night of the Iguana," is a comic surprise as Alfred P. Doolittle. Leonard Elliott adds to the hilarity with his portrayal of Col. Pickering. Harry Theyard has a chance to display his tenor voice in "On the Street Where You Live" in the part of the callow Freddy.

As he has demonstrated since he came to Musicarnival this summer, music director Dickson Hughes keeps a firm hand on the musical proceedings.