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The Rep serves up new version of Broadway classic.

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Arkansas Repertory Theatre founder Cliff Fannin Baker returns to direct a fresh new version of the Broadway and film classic “My Fair Lady,” officially opening Friday, Sept. 10. Baker will discuss the newest version of the Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe musical in a sneak preview on Thursday, Sept. 9, beginning at 7:15 p.m. Opening night festivities, which start at 8 p.m., include a cast party in the Rep’s main lobby after the show. All seats are $35, including for Thursday’s sneak preview. This update of “My Fair Lady” is a version that, according to Rep producing director Robert Hupp (who succeeded Baker), has been sweeping the country. Featuring an ensemble of 10 actors and using Loewe’s original two-piano musical arrangements — rarely heard before this new version began touring — “My Fair Lady” is returned to its dramatic roots in an intimate setting. But it’s still the twist on George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion,” in which Professor Henry Higgins (played by Joseph Graves, who has starred in several recent Rep productions) tries to change the life of common flower girl Eliza Doolittle (Catherine LaValle) by altering the way she speaks. The musical features such beloved songs as “On the Street Where She Lives” and “I Could Have Danced All Night.” Baker, who has directed “Gypsy” and “ Anything Goes” since he stepped down from his full-time job of running the rep, puts two baby grand pianos front-and-center on a stage designed by the Rep’s acclaimed regular scene designer, Mike Nichols. The musical is scheduled to run through Oct. 10. Performance times are 7 p.m. on Wednesday and Sunday nights and 8 p.m. on Thursdays through Saturdays. Sunday also features a 2 p.m. matinee. The Sept. 15 show will be sign-interpreted for the hearing-impaired. Call 378-0405 (1-866-684-3737 toll free) for tickets.
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