Alley Theatre Announces Cast and Creative Team for Pygmalion

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Alley Theatre Announces Cast and Creative Team for Pygmalion

A unique masterpiece, Pygmalion is one of Bernard Shaw's most popular plays. It is the story of phonetics professor Henry Higgins who bets that he can transform Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle into a lady and pass her off in high society. Pygmalion is a modern myth and also a strikingly contemporary view of sexual politics and the science of romance. The story inspired the well-known Lerner and Loewe musical My Fair Lady (1956). Recommended for general audiences.

Shaw was inspired by the original myth of Pygmalion. Pygmalion was a mythological king of Cyprus, a sculptor - who fell in love with his own invention, Galatea. Shaw both exploits and subverts the myth to show Higgins' transformed duchess of a flower girl blossom, shatter, and ultimately find a deeper humanity.

Shaw resisted all attempts to make a musical of Pygmalion while he lived. He said that the play has "its own verbal music." "Though the musical My Fair Lady written 5 years after Shaw's passing is genuinely brilliant in itself," explains Alley Theatre Artistic Director Gregory Boyd "it lacks the depth of the play. The play is shot through with the real pain of a complicated and unrequited love. And this depth - real pain, genuine heart and laughter, emotional confusion and bitter acceptance - is what places Pygmalion, for me, on a pedestal with the finest comedies ever created."

Pygmalion, by Bernard Shaw and directed by Anders Cato begins previews Friday, May 20, opens Wednesday, May 25 and runs through Sunday, June 12, 2011 on the Hubbard Stage.

Pygmalion features Alley Theatre Artists James Black as Colonel Pickering, Elizabeth Bunch as Eliza Doolittle, Chris Hutchison as Freddy Eynsford-Hill, Melissa Pritchett as Clara Eynsford-Hill, John Tyson as Alfred Doolittle, Todd Waite as Henry Higgins and Jeffrey Bean and James Belcher as Bystanders.

Pygmalion also features SuEllen Estey Mrs. Eynsford-Hill, Elizabeth Shepherd as Mrs. Higgins, Kay Walbye as Mrs. Pearce and Patrick Damien Earl and Lyndsay Sweeney as Bystanders.

The design team for Pygmalion includes scenic design by Neil Patel (Alley's Wonderland, Leading Ladies, Hamlet) and costume design by Alejo Vietti (Alley's August: Osage County, Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps, Our Town). Lighting design is by Rui Rita (Alley's Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps, Eurydice, Cyrano de Bergerac) and original music and sound design is by Josh Schmidt (Alley's Harvey, The Farnsworth Invention, Mauritius) with dialect, voice and text coach Sara Becker (Alley Theatre Debut) and Dramaturg Lauren Halvorsen (Alley's August: Osage County, A Behanding in Spokane, Mrs. Mannerly).

James Black (Colonel Pickering) is proud to be celebrating his 23rd consecutive season at the Alley where as an actor and occasional director, he has been involved in over 100 productions. Recent appearances include Amadeus as Count Orsini-Rosenberg, August: Osage County as Steve Heidebrecht, Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up as Captain Hook and Mr. Darling, St. Nicholas, Boeing-Boeing as Bernard, Harvey as Elwood P. Dowd, Mrs. Mannerly as Jeffrey, Our Town as Stage Manager, The Farnsworth Invention, Rock 'n' Roll as Max, The Man Who Came to Dinner as SheriDan Whiteside, A Christmas Carol as Mrs. Dilber and Jacob Marley, Cyrano de Bergerac as Le Bret, Othello as Iago, Arsenic and Old Lace as Jonathan Brewster, Treasure Island as Long John Silver, Hitchcock Blonde as Hitch, A Moon for the Misbegotten as James Tyrone Jr., Orson's Shadow as Olivier, Journey's End as Lieutenant Osborne, The Crucible as Proctor, After the Fall as Quentin, Black Coffee as Hercule Poirot, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum as Marcus Lycus, Twelfth Night as Sir Toby Belch, Sherlock Holmes as Moriarty, Hamlet as Claudius, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? as George, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest as McMurphy, How I Learned to Drive as Uncle Peck, A View From the Bridge as Eddie Carbone, and Not About Nightingales as Butch O'Fallon, among others. He has also directed A Behanding in Spokane, Doubt, Death on the Nile, Glengarry Glen Ross, Deathtrap, Dial "M" for Murder, Our Lady of 121st Street, The Foreigner, Of Mice and Men and As Bees in Honey Drown. His film and television credits include Olympia, The Man with the Perfect Swing, Houston: The Legend of Texas, Fire and Rain, Challenger, Night Game, and Killing in a Small Town. He received a Theatre World Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut and a Drama Desk nomination for Best Actor for Not About Nightingales and a BackStage West Garland Award for his appearance as Eddie Carbone in the Alley's production of A View from the Bridge.

Elizabeth Bunch (Eliza Doolittle) has appeared in more than 30 productions at the Alley Theatre since 2002 including August: Osage County, Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up, The Mousetrap, Boeing-Boeing, Harvey, Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps, Our Town, The Farnsworth Invention, Mauritius, Cyrano de Bergerac, Othello, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, The Scene, Doubt, Death on the Nile, Treasure Island, To Kill a Mockingbird, Hitchcock Blonde, Subject to Fits, Much Ado About Nothing, Orson's Shadow, A Christmas Carol, Be My Baby, Steel Magnolias, The Crucible, Proof, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Frame 312. Her New York theatre credits include The Voice of the Turtle produced by The Keen Company and The Mint Theater, The Water Children at Playwright Horizons, Museum with The Keen Company, The Light Outside with Bat Theater Company and New World Rhapsody, The Motel Plays, and The Hospital Plays at HB Playwrights Foundation. Other theatre credits include Little Foxes at The Denver Center, A Midsummer Night's Dream at The Guthrie Theater, Goosebumps a national tour produced by Feld Entertainment, Twelfth Night, Big Love, Romeo and Juliet, Measure for Measure and Arcadia with Bread Loaf Acting Ensemble. Television appearances include Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Elizabeth is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

SuEllen Estey (Mrs. Eynsford-Hill) is making her Alley Theatre debut. Her credits include the Beggar Woman in the Tony nominated revival of Sweeney Todd at Circle in the Square; Sister Aloysius in Doubt at Northern Stage; Yvonne in Sunday in the Park with George at Arena Stage; and Mme. Giry in Sir Andrew's The Phantom of the Opera, Hamburg, Germany. Additional Broadway credits include Melissa Frake in State Fair and Charity Barnum/Jenny Lind in Barnum. She played both Dorothy Brock and Maggie in the revival tour of 42nd Street. Her Off-Broadway credits include Judy in Me, My Guitar, and Don Henley, written by Krista Vernoff; Mme. Molette in Love in Two Countries at the York Theatre and Eileen in I Can't Keep Running in Place at LaMama. Her Regional highlights include Sally Durant in Follies at Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, archived at Lincoln Center for Film & Tape; Joanne in Company at Florida Repertory Theatre; Marry Me A Little at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park; Arethan Sinclare in the world premiere of Suite Surrender at Caldwell Theatre; Jeannette in The Full Monty at Arkansas Repertory Theatre; Peggy Porterfield in On Your Toes at The Cape Playhouse; Charis in Olympus on My Mind, for which she received a Barrymore Awards nomination for Best Supporting Actress, at Bristol Riverside Theatre; and Miss Hannigan in Annie at Tuacahn. She has performed in over 100 professional productions. Her Television credits include All My Children and As The World Turns.

Chris Hutchison (Freddy Eynsford-Hill) is in his fifth season as an Alley Company Artist. This is his 26th production since first appearing here as Hal in Proof in 2004. Other favorite roles include Mervyn in A Behanding in Spokane, Bruno Clemens in Intelligence-Slave, Dennis in Mauritius, Padraic in The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Ippolit in Subject to Fits, Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird and Borachio in Much Ado About Nothing. His Off-Broadway credits include a Romulus Linney premiere at EST Marathon and revivals of The Second Man, Museum and The Hasty Heart with Obie award-winning Keen Co. Chris's solo play TRIP was selected for production by HERE Arts Center in SoHo. Regionally he has appeared at the Guthrie Theater, Pasadena Playhouse, Baltimore Center Stage, Milwaukee Rep, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Hartford TheatreWorks, and Capital Rep, among others. His Film and television credits include Kill the Poor, Ed, Chappelle's Show, All My Children, Guiding Light and some Movies of the Week. He holds a MFA from the University of Washington and a BA in English from Lafayette College, where he has occasionally returned to direct and teach. He is currently teaching acting at the University of Houston.

Melissa Pritchett (Clara Eynsford-Hill) is an Alley Company Artist recently appearing in Amadeus as Constanze Weber, Boeing-Boeing as Gretchen, Harvey as Betty Chumley and Miss Johnson, A Christmas Carol as Fred's Sister-in-Law, The Farnsworth Invention as Agnes, Rock 'n' Roll as Gillian and Magda, Eurydice as Little Stone, Cyrano de Bergerac as Lise, Othello as as Bianca, Death on the Nile as Louise, Treasure Island as Jim's Mother and Anne Bonny, Hitchcock Blonde as Blonde, Much Ado About Nothing as Ursula, Black Comedy as Clea, Witness for the Prosecution as The Other Woman, The Miser as Servant, The Pillowman as Mother, After the Fall as Nurse/Ensemble and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum as Panacea. Other theatre credits include Broadway 2003, directed by Ann Reinking at Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center; Beauty and the Beast; Brigadoon at Theatre Under the Stars; and Footloose at Great Caruso. As a dancer, she was a principal dancer for Longview Ballet Theatre and locally with Sparacino Company Dancers. Her training includes the Broadway Theatre Project 2003 with Ann Reinking and Ben Vereen. She holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Sam Houston State University.

Elizabeth Shepherd (Mrs. Higgins) is making her Alley Theatre debut. Elizabeth's distinguished theatre career has encompassed London's West End, Broadway, On and Off, and theatres across North America including Arena Stage in Washington DC, The Old Globe in San Diego, Cleveland Play House, Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, Actors' Theatre of Louisville, Arizona Theatre Company, Stratford and Shaw Festivals in Ontario, Centaur Theatre in Montreal and Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Her most recent roles include Fonsia in The Gin Game, Glora Humble in Humble Boy, Miss Havisham in Great Expectations, Lady Katherine de Bourgh in Pride and Prejudice, Gloria Temple in December Fools, Mistress Overdone in Measure for Measure, Honor in Honour, Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret, MAdam Armfeldt in A Little Night Music, Nanny in George is Dead. Her Television credits include over 500 appearances ranging from The Winter's Tale on PBS, for which she received an Emmy nomination, to All My Children and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, to Mrs. Margaret Thatcher in Shades of Black. Movies appearances include The Tomb of Ligeia; Damien: Omen 2; Criminal Law; Desire; Invitation to the Wedding; Kidnapping of the President; Double Negative; Hellboats; The Queen's Guards; and Amelia. When she is not acting on stage, she is teaching Shakespeare at the Stella Adler Studio for Acting in New York.

John Tyson (Alfred Doolittle) has appeared at the Alley in a wide variety of roles in his 12 seasons as an Alley Company Artist. Recent credits include The Storyteller in Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up, Mr. Paravicini in Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap, William R. Chumley, M.D. in Harvey, Man #1 in Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps, Simon Stimson in Our Town, George Everson in The Farnsworth Invention, Professor Metz and Banjo in The Man Who Came to Dinner, Praed in Mrs. Warren's Profession, Ragueneau in Cyrano de Bergerac, Inspector Thomas in The Unexpected Guest, The Librarian in Underneath the Lintel, Donny in The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Dr. Einstein in Arsenic and Old Lace, Canon Pennefather in Death on the Nile, Israel Hands and Blind Pew in Treasure Island, Ganya Ivoglin in Subject to Fits, Harry Roat Jr. in Wait Until Dark, Colonel Melkett in Black Comedy, Tupolski in The Pillowman, and Blair in Hapgood. Notable performances include Shelly Levene in Glengarry Glen Ross, Theo Maske in The Underpants, Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night, Polonius in Hamlet, Robert In Proof, Boris Kolenkhov in You Can't Take It With You, AEH in The Invention of Love, Dromios in The Comedy of Errors and Henry Carr in Travesties. At the Alley he directed The Woman in Black and his own play, Act Of Passion. He has also written an adaptation of A Christmas Carol and, with Santry Rush, written the musical, Happy Ending.

Todd Waite (Henry Higgins) is in his 10th season as an Alley Company Artist, appearing in over 40 productions including August: Osage County as Sheriff Deon Gilbeau, Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up as Gentleman Starkey, Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap as Christopher Wren, Intelligence-Slave as Hermann Pister, Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps as Richard Hannay, The Santaland Diaries as Crumpet, Our Town as Mr. Webb, Sherlock Holmes and the Crucifer of Blood as Sherlock Holmes, Rock 'n' Roll as Jan, Mrs. Warren's Profession as Sir George Crofts, The Goat or Who is Sylvia? as Martin, Arsenic and Old Lace as Mortimer Brewster, Hapgood as Kerner, Deathtrap as Sydney, Art as Ivan, Stones in His Pockets as Jake and The Devil's Disciple as Burgoyne. Previously, Mr. Waite spent six seasons with the renowned Shaw Festival, was the Enjolras in the Canadian premiere of Les Miserables and has guest-starred on all major U.S. and Canadian networks. His awards include the Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship, a Best Actor nomination for the world premiere of The Coronation Voyage and the Critic's Choice Award for Intimate Exchanges at Dallas Theater Center. He has directed several Canadian premieres, and was the resident director for Cirque du Soleil's "O" in Las Vegas. Mr. Waite is an adjunct professor for the University of Houston's Graduate Program in Theatre Education and is currently teaching at the High School for the Performing Arts. His private students attend Stage Door, Interlochen, Juilliard, DePaul, Yale and The Royal Scottish Academy.

Kay Walbye (Mrs. Pearce) is making her Alley Theatre debut. Her Broadway credits include the original companies of Urinetown as Josephine Strong, The Secret Garden as Rose, Titanic as Mrs. Beane and Mrs. Straus, Run For Your Wife as Mary and the revival of The Rose Tattoo as Bessie. Other New York credits include Bye Bye Birdie as Mayor's Wife and Juno as Mrs. Coyne for Encores! at City Center, The Women as Miriam at The Actors Company Theatre, The Great Nebula in Orion as Carrie at Circle Repertory Theatre, Once on a Summer's Day as Alice at Ensemble Studio Theatre, and At The Still Point as Sarah at Primary Stages. Her portrayal of Meg in Damn Yankees earned her a Helen Hayes Award nomination at Arena Stage and an IRNE nomination at North Shore Music Theatre. Regional credits include Oklahoma at Sacramento Music Circus, The Mambo Kings at Golden Gate Theater, How I Learned to Drive at Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Red Memories at NY Stage & Film, All In The Timing at Philadelphia Theatre Co., Lips Together, Teeth Apart, The House of Blue Leaves, and Jungle Rot at Cleveland Play House, All The Way Home and A Little Night Music at Berkshire Theatre Festival, and Starting Here, Starting Now at Denver Center Theatre. Her International appearances include Whitehall Theatre, Vienna's English Theatre and appearances in Prague and Bratislava. She has also appeared as Mrs. Santa Claus with National Symphony Pops 2004 at the Kennedy Center with Marvin Hamlisch, Conductor. Television credits include Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Matlock, The Bill Cosby Mysteries, all for NBC, and Tales from the Darkside.

TICKET INFORMATION
Tickets to Pygmalion start at $21. All tickets to Pygmalion are available for purchase at www.alleytheatre.org, at the Alley Theatre Box Office, 615 Texas Avenue, or by calling 713.220.5700. Groups of 10 or more can receive special concierge services and select discounts by calling 713.220.5700 and asking for the group sales department. The added convenience of reservations by phone or Internet is available for a nominal fee. Tickets purchased in person at the Alley Theatre Box Office have a $1 building restoration fee.

GIRLS, INC OF GREATER HOUSTON $10 TIX
Saturday, May 21
The Alley Theatre continues its efforts to make the theatre affordable to patrons. Partnering with other social non-profit organizations, the Alley seeks to generate in-kind donations and reward patrons with $10 Tix for select performances. The $10 Tix are available in person only on Saturday, May 21st and are limited to two tickets per person. With your donation, you can purchase two $10 tickets for either Saturday, May 21 at 2:30 p.m.; Tuesday, May 24 at 7:30 p.m.; or Thursday, May 26 at 7:30 p.m. Donate and purchase in person at the box office (615 Texas Ave.) on Saturday, May 21 only. Limited availability. The $10 Tix partner for Pygmalion is Girls, Inc. of Greater Houston. The date to donate and purchase is Saturday, May 21, beginning at noon. The donated item is multi-colored sharpies, brightly colored Post-It notes, or AA or AAA batteries.

CAPTIONED AND AUDIO DESCRIBED PERFORMANCE
Sunday May 22, 7:30 PM
The Alley Theatre is pleased to offer open captioning and audio description for many of our productions throughout the season. To ensure that your seats will accommodate your needs, please call the box office 713.220.5700 when ordering tickets to this performance. Discounted tickets are available for groups of ten or more.

TALKBACK
Tuesday, May 31, 7:30 PM
Members of the cast return to the stage following the performance to take questions from the audience. TalkBacks are led by a member of the Alley Artistic Staff.

ACTOUT
Thursday, June 2, 6:00 - 7:15 PM
Houston's premiere theatre group for gay and lesbian theatre fans and their friends celebrates the Alley Theatre's production of Pygmalion. This pre-curtain event is free with your ticket to the Thursday, June 2, 7:30 PM performance of Pygmalion. To buy a ticket, required for this event, use the promo code: ACTOUT. Purchase online at www.alleytheatre.org or call the box office at 713.220.5700.

Pygmalion is generously sponsored by Premiere Sponsor The Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts, Lead Sponsor Enbridge Energy Company, Inc., Honorary Producers Cynthia and Anthony Petrello and Supporting Sponsor Baker Botts L.L.P. The Alley Theatre is supported by the 2010-2011 season sponsor United Airlines, the official airline of the Alley Theatre.

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