The Stage Door Theatre’s Update of Pygmalion is Groovy, Baby
YUKON, Oklahoma (January 30, 2013) – When most people think of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, they think “My Fair Lady without the music.” It conjures up images of Audrey Hepburn in period costume and Rex Harrison speak-singing all of his numbers. That’s not the Pygmalion that the Stage Door Theatre is doing this February.
Shaw’s Pygmalion, the tale of the upper-class phoneticist Henry Higgins who makes a bet that he can pick a common flower girl out of the gutter and in six months pass her off as a duchess in polite society, both delighted and scandalized its first audiences in 1914, and director Michael Tull hopes to achieve this again by changing the play’s time period. While some might find this change blasphemous, Tull’s keen understanding of his source material ensures that the play will stay true to Shaw’s original message.
“To modern audiences, 1912 feels romantic and ancient, like Titanic and Downton Abbey” says Tull, who directed last season’s The Family Man, voted by Stage Door season ticket holders the best show of the season. “Shaw did not see this play as a romance. It is a commentary on the class system, the folly of assuming the value of someone based on superficial limits. It’s about change. 1912 doesn’t feel like change any more, but 1969 does.”
That’s right: the Stage Door is doing Pygmalion meets Austin Powers, and the actors couldn’t be more excited. Anna Miller plays Eliza Doolittle, the cockney flower girl picked by Professor Henry Higgins to transform into a cultured lady. “I am in love with this era,” says Miller. “I feel it was a time of a lot of reform, which is why I think it fits this play.”
Miller is a new face at the Stage Door. Tull says of his decision to cast her, “Anna has a fire. In rehearsal, she has recognized that in some ways she is Eliza. She is ready to be moulded into something great.”
Of the news that she had been cast as Eliza, Miller says she was “absolutely estatic and surprised.” She didn’t expect to get the lead role her first time auditioning for this theatre, but that is part of the mission of the Stage Door to foster new talent.
Shaw would approve. “In the end, Pygmalion is a play about the hope of change,” says Tull. “It’s the hope that we can grow and become something other than our parents’ legacy.”
Pygmalion runs February 15, 16, 22, and 23 at 7:30pm and February 17 and 24 at 2:00pm. Tickets are $9 in advance or $12 at the door. Visit http://stagedooryukon.com/ for more information and to purchase tickets.
The Stage Door Theatre was founded in Yukon, Oklahoma in 1987 and is located in the historic Yukon Museum and Arts Center. With each production, the Stage Door tries to foster exposure to the world of live theater. This is a volunteer program providing a chance for beginning actors to grow and build a resume, with the guidance and support of more experienced actors and directors.
JD Bergner, Producer
Where: The Stage Door
Address: 601 Oak