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Classic musical ‘My Fair Lady’ opens at UNM’s Rodey Theatre

Pat Robertson as Col. Pickering, Erin Warden as Eliza Doolittle and Jack Nuzum as Henry Higgins in the Landmark Musicals production of “My Fair Lady.” (Courtesy of Max Woltman)

Pat Robertson as Col. Pickering, Erin Warden as Eliza Doolittle and Jack Nuzum as Henry Higgins in the Landmark Musicals production of “My Fair Lady.” (Courtesy of Max Woltman)

“My Fair Lady” is chock-full of classic musical songs.

Odds are, you’ve heard them. But many don’t remember where they’re from.

“The musical has such a deep roots in our daily culture,” says Laurie Finnegan, the director of Landmark Musicals’ latest production. “There are incredible songs and there are generations of fans.”

The Tony Award-winning musical is based on George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion” and concerns Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl who takes speech lessons from professor Henry Higgins, London’s greatest phoneticist, so that she may pass as a lady.

The musical’s 1956 Broadway production was a momentous hit, setting a record for the longest run of any major musical theater production in history – 2,717 performances.

It was followed by a hit London production, a popular film version – this year celebrating its 50th anniversary – and numerous revivals.

The music is by Frederick Loewe, with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner.

Finnegan is back in the director’s chair for this musical. She directed “Carousel” in 2013 and performed the role of Doolittle in the production of the Albuquerque Civic Light Opera Association years ago.

She is tasked with overseeing the cast of 28, including Jack Nuzum as Higgins and Erin Warden as Doolittle.

“I enjoy directing because I know what it’s like to be on the other side,” she says. “It helps the production work smoothly. I know what is required of actors and know the limits.”

Of course, the musical is filled with memorable songs such as “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.”

“We’re presenting a very traditional and straightforward production,” she says. “We aren’t bringing the musical into modern day or anything.”

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