Watching Mount Baker Theatre's Repertory Series production of "My Fair Lady" is like opening a box of the chocolates that lures Eliza Doolittle to stick with the elocution lessons Professor Henry Higgins offers her.
Director Mark Kuntz has assembled a cast of actors from Whatcom County, the Seattle area (for Ashley Coates, as Eliza) and even Chicago (for Jeff Parker, who plays Higgins). Both lead characters play their parts with a bit of sass (and not without romantic chemistry) that's not found in the film version of the Broadway musical hit.
The inimitable Jim Lortz is at his gentlemanly best as Colonel Pickering, and Bainbridge Island actor Tim Tully plays Eliza's father, Alfred, with a sparkling gusto.
From the warmth (and lovely voice) of Skagit County's Beth Wallace, who plays Mrs. Pierce, to the sniggering of Freddy Eynsford-Hill (Tacoma's Matt Posner), the production clips along with the on-spot, 24-piece orchestra conducted by Ryan Dudenbostel and comprised of musicians from Whatcom Symphony Orchestra, Western Washington University and the Seattle area.
People who remember the play might even smile at Alfie Doolittle's timely reference to the "undeserving poor" and "middle-class morality."
The show takes place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27; 8 p.m. Sept. 28-29 and 3 p.m. Sept. 29-30 at the theater, 104 N. Commercial St.
BALLROOM DANCE CLUB INVITES NEW MEMBERS
My friend Karen Harris who, with her husband Stanley, is an avid ballroom dancer, let me know that Comus Club, a longtime Bellingham ballroom dance club, is inviting new dancers to join the group. Karen asked Stan Heimburger, club president, to contribute a short history of the club.
The club had its beginnings in 1929 when a group of husbands and wives who were regular members of Bellingham Bay Masonic Lodge No. 44 and who attended lodge meetings every Friday evening realized that when they left the Masonic Hall that they were all "dressed up" in tuxedos and long dresses with "no particular place to go!" So, once a month, they decided to put their elegant attire to good use by forming a dance-and-supper club!
After the lodge meetings that were held the second Friday of each month, the Masons would go to Bellingham Golf & Country Club, have an elegant dinner and dance to a live band. (Venues would vary from time to time over the years, but the golf club was always their favorite place.)
They named their new supper-and-dance club "Comus," after the mythical god of "festivity and revelry." Soon, the Masons would invite non-Masons to join, and the club quickly became detached from any and all of its original Masonic "roots."
After continuously operating for 83 years, Comus remains dedicated to upscale fun, carrying with it the same commitment to formality and festivity with which it was established. Heimburger says the organization continues to offer its members and their guests "the best opportunity in Northwest Washington to dress in formal attire, participate in an elegant social hour and dinner, visit with great people and dance the night away to fabulous live music."
The first dance is a costume ball on Oct. 19, with music by The Dagwoods. For details, contact Heimburger at 360-303-5782 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Details:comusclub.com.
BELLINGHAM THEATRE GUILD NAMES ANNUAL AWARD-WINNERS
Bellingham Theatre Guild held its annual Bentley Awards banquet Sept. 14 at Bellingham Golf & Country Club. Here are the winners, and the shows in which they participated:
Lead actor: Lucas Naylor, "Flowers for Algernon."
Supporting actor: Leon Charbonneau, "Annie Get Your Gun."
Character actor: Robert Muzzy, "Annie Get Your Gun."
Junior actor (under 17): Brad Anderson, "Plaid Tidings."
Musical director: Steve Barnes, "Plaid Tidings."
Set design: Andy Backus, "Annie Get Your Gun."
Best props: "Plaid Tidings."
Lead actress: Angela Mills Watson, "Annie Get Your Gun."
Supporting actress: Jenny Woods, "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee."
Character actress: Joan Prinz, "Becoming Eleanor."
Junior actress (under 17): Glenna McGarity, "Annie Get Your Gun."
Choreography: Michelle Vanleeuwen, "Plaid Tidings."
Lighting design: Ryan Goelzenleuchter, "Annie Get Your Gun."
Costumes: Judi Joyner, "Annie Get Your Gun."
Vocal performance by an actor: The Quartet from "Plaid Tidings."
Make-up and hair: Iris Likkel, "Annie Get Your Gun."
Vocal performance by an actress: Angela Mills Watson, "Annie Get Your Gun."
Stage Manager: Kim Moore, "Plaid Tidings."
Director: Marla Bronstein, "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee."
Best Show: "Becoming Eleanor."
Musical: "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"
Members' choice awards:
Best Actor: Lucas Taylor
Best Actress: Angela Mills Watson
Best Show: "Plaid Tidings"
The six waltzers in "Annie Get Your Gun"
Best trio: "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"
Best ensemble: "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"
Reach MARGARET BIKMAN at email@example.com or 715-2273.