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'My Fair Lady' at Pleasanton Firehouse at 2 p.m. today

Musical opens seventh theater season with local rendition

The Pacific Coast Repertory Theatre has launched its seventh season with its production of "My Fair Lady" at downtown Pleasanton's Firehouse Arts Center, 4444 Railroad Ave. with another performance at 2 p.m. Sunday.

The well-known Lerner and Loewe musical, later adapted on screen in 1964, features recognizable Broadway favorites such as "The Rain in Spain," "I Could Have Danced All Night," "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" and "On the Street Where You Live."

Based on George Bernard Shaw's play "Pygmalion," "My Fair Lady" follows Miss Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl who takes speech lessons from an eccentric and confirmed misogynist named Professor Henry Higgins, so that she may pass as a lady.

Bay Area actress Josselyn O'Neill heads the local cast as Eliza Doolittle, the role made famous on stage by Julie Andrews and on screen by Audrey Hepburn. Other players in the Pleasanton show include Edward Hightower as Professor Higgins and Lee Strawn as the professor's gentle sidekick Colonel Pickering.

Show director Daren A.C. Carollo said he thinks the intimate setting of the Firehouse Arts Center is the ideal space to help the audiences be swept up by the story and the music, while his production returns focus to the original "Pygmalion" tale and the themes of respect and equality.

The production team also includes music director Brett Strader, choreographer Christina Lazo, scenic designer Pat Brandon, costumer Margaret DaSilva and lighting designer Mike Oesch.

The local rendition of "My Fair Lady" performance dates are Sundays Nov. 6, 13 and 20 at 2 p.m.; Saturdays Nov. 12 and 19 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and a lone Friday show, Nov. 18 at 8 p.m.

An "Inside the Show" discussion with the director and principal actors will take place after today's matinee performance. Admission to the special event is free with a ticket to the performance.

Tickets cost $19-$40 each, available at the Firehouse Arts Center box office, by phone at 931-4848 or online at www.firehousearts.org.

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