Wednesday July 26th 2017

“My Fair Lady”

Highly Recommended The Chicago theater scene is expanding far beyond even the reach of our “Jeff Awards”. The latest theater to come to life in the suburb’s is The Paramount Theatre in Aurora. This building was rehabbed and brought back to its original beauty years ago, the purpose being bus and truck road shows ( most often one night and out) and of course concerts and comedians. Now under the careful eye of Artistic Director Jim Corti and Executive Director, Tim Rater, the “Fox Valley Area” residents will have Broadway type theater .Opening night for their first production, an amazing production of “My Fair Lady” was exciting. Corti, a master of choreography and a brilliant stage director brought his heart and soul to the canvass he painted for this classic musical ( book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner), and music by Frederick Lowe. This musical is based on “Pygmalion” by George Bernard Shaw and tells pretty much the same story.

Professor Henry Higgins ( Nathan M Hosner will certainly make you forget Rex Harrison, who did the orignal and the film) Mr. Hosner can sing  so you hear the words and music as it should be done, is a linguist and spies a flower girl wo represents a challenge to him. Can he mold her into a fine lady that will fool the world. He wagers with Colonel Pickering ( deftly handled by John Reeger, who keeps playing this role and yet finds fresh ideas in each version). Eliza, the young flower girl is played to perfection by Andrea Prestinario) she can sing, act, dance, move and under Corti’s leadership makes this role hers. While much of this story is about the struggle for power between our lead characters, it does become a love story- one that will make you feel good!

There are many Chicago area veterans, most of whom have worked with Corti in the past ,in this production- Mary Ernster as Mrs Higgins, Paula Scrofano as Mrs.Pearce  ( also having played this role before, but again with some freshness). I was truly surprised by the casting of Andrew J. Lupp as Eliza’s father Alfred P. Doolittle. This is in most cases a larger man and Lupp, being a strong dancer, is smaller in stature, but wow, is he large in talent. Corti uses his talent to make sure that his two big numbers, “With A Little Bit Of Luck” ( along with Carl Draper and Bobby Johnson) and “Get Me To The Church On Time) where Corti uses the ensemble to bring the house down! A surprise casting move that is a very positive one. The ensemble members are dynamic as they sing, dance and even help move the set ( a glorious design by  Jim Dardenne) as well as go through countless costume changes ( Melissa Torchia). The lighting effects by Michael Rourke, sound design by Ray Nardelli and the props by Meredith Miller are all ingredients in what I would have to call a perfect recipe fro success at The Paramount Theatre ( a marvelous venue) in Aurora.

One might ask- where is Aurora and is it worth the trip. Aurora is a western suburb , west of Downers Grove/Napervill and when not rush hour, an easy drive using 88. The theater is comfortable, there is lots of parking ( valet, lot and even FREE street parking) and of course you could also visit the Hollywood Casino, just down the street for a bit of extra fun ( before or after), but I will tell you that Corti has left the script and musical numbers intact, so you are looking at a 3 1/2 hour production. However, the production is so strong, it will not feel that it is that long. During the curtain calls, I looked at my watch and thought it was broken- great show- certainly worth the trip. Only major problem will be what Corti has in his pocket for the next production.

“My Fair Lady ” will continue thru October 2nd with performances as follows:

Wednesday at 1 :30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m.,Fridays at 8 p.m.,Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 1 and 5 p.m.

Tickets range in price depending on the day and time ($34.90 – $46.90 which is a bargain for theater of this quality) and guess what, they may even let you buy a subscription and save even more. To order tickets or subscribe call  630-896-6666 or visit www.ParamountAurora.com

The theater is located at 23 East Galena Blvd, in beautiful Aurora

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