Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Photo: Stan Egi, Ellen Crawford, Paige Lindsey White, Bruce Turk, Greg Watanabe and More in Jessica Kubzansky helmed PYGMALION at The Pasadena Playhouse through April 12; PYGMALION Themed Activities

Pictured: Sarah Hollis, Carolyn Ratteray, Lynn Milgrim, Paige Lindsey White, Alex Knox, Mary Anne McGarry, Stan Egi and Bruce Turk. Photo by Jim Cox.

Pictured: Sarah Hollis, Carolyn Ratteray, Lynn Milgrim, Paige Lindsey White, Alex Knox, Mary Anne McGarry, Stan Egi and Bruce Turk. Photo by Jim Cox.

Stan Egi

Stan Egi

The Pasadena Playhouse (Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director and Elizabeth Doran, Executive Director) is presenting George Bernard Shaw’s PYGMALION, the fifth production of its 2014-2015 Season. PYGMALION began preview performances on March 17, with the official press night on Sunday, March 22, 2015. Peformances will continue through – April 12, 2015, at The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101.

Directed by Jessica Kubzansky (Theresa Rebeck’s Mauritius at The Pasadena Playhouse), the cast of PYGMALION features Ellen Crawford (Broadway: Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? Off Broadway: The Misunderstanding, A Touch Of The Poet, NBC’s “E.R.”) as Mrs. Pearce, Stan Egi (Broadway: Anything Goes, Off Broadway credits include The Public Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, Playwrights Horizons) as Colonel Pickering, Sarah Hollis (FOX’s “24”) as Ensemble, Alex Knox (Antaeus’ Macbeth d. Jessica Kubzansky, South Coast Rep’s Euridyce) as Freddy, Mary Anne McGarry (AMC’s “Mad Men”, TNT’s “Major Crimes”) as Mrs. Higgins, Lynn Milgrim (Broadway: Bedroom Farce, Otherwise Engaged, international tour of Brighton Beach Memoirs, Trip to Bountiful and many more at South Coast Rep) as Mrs. Eynsford-Hill, Carolyn Ratteray (Off Broadway’s Hecuba and The Cherry Orchard) as Clara Eynsford-Hill, Tom Shelton (eleven seasons with L.A.’s Hillside Repertory, In The Next Room, Italian Straw Hat and many more at South Coast Rep) as Ensemble, Bruce Turk (Broadway’s The Green Bird and Juan Darién as well as six seasons at San Diego’s Old Globe) as Henry Higgins, Greg Watanabe (Off Broadway’s Golden Child, HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm”) as Ensemble, LA Drama Critic’s Award winner Paige Lindsey White (Trying (International City Theatre), Other Desert Cities (Arizona Theatre Company and Indiana Repertory Theatre, Jessica Kubzansky’s R II (Boston Court) as Eliza Doolittle and Time Winters (Broadway’s Amadeus, Yes, Prime Minister (Geffen Playhouse) as Alfred Doolittle.

PYGMALION remains Shaw’s most popular play, which is most widely known for being the inspiration behind the highly romanticized Broadway musical and film My Fair Lady. In this delicious and gritty interpretation of PYGMALION, phonetics professor Henry Higgins bets that after he finishes transforming Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle, her flawless speech and delicate facade will allow her to pass for a duchess at an ambassador’s garden party. Centering on language as a defining characteristic, social satire about class barriers and the stifling of female independence, PYGMALION manages to be both playful and heartbreaking with a narrative whose relevance to our world today is as profound as ever.

Jessica Kubzansky (Director) last directed the West Coast Premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s Mauritius at The Pasadena Playhouse. She has been the Co-Artistic Director of The Theatre @ Boston Court in Pasadena since its inception. Her most recent productions there were the world premiere of Sheila Callaghan’s Everything You Touch, and RII, her own three-person adaptation of Shakespeare’s Richard II. She is also an award-winning director working nationally in a wide variety of venues such as Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, the Cherry Lane, South Coast Rep, Pasadena Playhouse, The Geffen Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Silk Road, The Aurora, The Publick, La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, The Laguna Playhouse, Antaeus, ICT, The Colony, East/West Players, A Noise Within, Theater 150, 24th Street, EST-LA, Playwrights’ Arena, and more. She has also directed numerous productions, which have toured both nationally and internationally. Kubzansky does a great deal of new work development, and has had the privilege of developing work by an amazing group of playwrights, including Luis Alfaro, Bill Cain, Sheila Callaghan, Julia Cho, Jordan Harrison, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, Zayd Dohrn, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, David Wiener, Ken Urban, Christina Anderson, Carlos Murillo, Laura Schellhardt, Jean-Claude van Itallie, Diana Son, Nick Salamone, and many other wonderful writers in many new play development settings, including Ojai Playwrights Conference, Portland Center Stage JAW Festival, South Coast Rep’s Pacific Playwrights Festival and NewSCRipts, the Playwrights Center of Minneapolis, the Taper Labs, and many others. Kubzansky has received numerous awards and honors, among them the Los Angeles’ Drama Critics’ Circle’s Margaret Harford Award for Sustained Excellence in Theatre. Proud member of SDC.

Check out the before and after-show activities to be offered during the run of George Bernard Shaw’s PYGMALION:

LitFest (http://litfestpasadena.org/) Artistic Director and Public Editor of the Pasadena Star-News, Larry Wilson, will be discussing the dialect in literature and its affect on the societies and cultures we create. Guests are invited into the Makineni Library of The Pasadena Playhouse for an engaging conversation on Wednesday, March 25 and Wednesday, April 1 from 7:00-8:00pm. Lecture admission is free and space is limited.

High Tea at The Playhouse, provided by T -Neer (http://www.tneer.com) Enjoy a cocktail-style high tea in the luxurious Makineni Library featuring finger sandwiches, scones and dessert with select members of the cast and crew and learn about the history of tea throughout the ages and the world from T –Neer’s founder Aruna Kumar. High Tea dates are on Sundays between the matinee and evening performances March 29, April 5, and April 12, at 5:00 pm. Price: $20 per person and space is limited. Advance purchase on the PYGMALION ticketing page on The Playhouse website is suggested.

A Floral Arrangement Workshop hosted by Flower Duet (http://flowerduet.com/ ) will be offered from 2:30-3:30pm in the Carrie Hamilton Theatre on Saturday, April 4, before the 4:00pm performance of PYGMALION. Playhouse guests may participate in a lecture on how to identify the freshest cut flowers, where to buy fresh flowers in Los Angeles, and how to condition them to last as long as possible. Learn all about how to create your own beautiful bouquet and take it home after the show! Price: $15 per person and space is limited. Advance purchase on The Playhouse website is suggested.

A special Victorian Dance Demonstration will be provided by The Victorian Tea and Dance Society (http://www.victorianteaanddance.org/) on Saturday, April 11 at 3:00pm in The Playhouse’s Engemann Family Courtyard. The Victorian Tea and Dance Society will provide a fun and engaging introduction to the world of Victorian Dance. They will introduce Playhouse guests to Victorian era music, dances, and etiquette, complete with traditional costumes and audience participation! Free of charge for all patrons.

TALKBACK TUESDAYS at The Playhouse is a post-show series in which a panel of community experts and esteemed guests discuss and explore selected themes of the show with the audience. Topics for PYGMALION will include:

• March 24, 2015 – THE HIGGINS & PICKERING EFFECTS — Talkback Tuesday series considers Professor Higgins & Colonel Pickering’s roles as teachers and mentors. Hear a panel of local leaders who manage opportunity-development programs and whether PYGMALION resonates and reflects their experiences today.

• March 31, 2015 – REFLECTIONS ON ELIZA — Liberated woman? Caged bird? What’s to become of Eliza? Join our panel of women leaders reflecting on Eliza, her allies, feminism and access to more resources.

• April 7, 2015 – ARE THE POOR REALLY DO-LITTLES? – Explore how Alfred Doolittle and Eliza Doolittle give a picture of the urban English poor of a hundred years ago. The panel also explores current challenges with the rising wealth gaps in the United States – and hopes of Los Angeles County’s poor and working class residents.

The Georgia T. McClay Friendship Center at The Pasadena Playhouse hosts interactive exhibits, dramaturgical material and conversation surrounding the Main Stage productions. Running March 17 – April 12, 2015, artist and spatial designer Ellen L. Sandor invites guests to come explore the Pygmalion myth and the era of George Bernard Shaw’s play through photos, archival material and other visual images (Fans of Downton Abbey may recognize the era where the play is set.) Sandor uses Shaw’s words and contemporary questions to provide patrons with an opportunity to explore how language impacts access today. This is a free exhibit that is open to all patrons free of charge one hour before performance time and 30 minutes after the show.

Post-Show at The Playhouse on Sunday, March 29 following the 2:00pm performance of PYGMALION features members of the cast, crew and artistic team and breaks down the barrier between the audience and the artists. Participation of the artists is completely voluntary. The Playhouse thanks them for sharing their time, talents and providing audience members with a glimpse into the theatermaking process. This event is free to patrons who have purchased tickets to the performance preceding the talk-back.

The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena. The performance schedule is Tuesday through Friday at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Tickets, priced from $30.00 to $75.00, plus premium seats at $125.00, are available online at PasadenaPlayhouse.org; by calling The Pasadena Playhouse at (626) 356-7529; or visiting The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office, Tuesday – Sunday from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. during non-performance dates. Tickets for the High Tea at The Playhouse and the Floral Arrangement Workshop may also be purchased online, by phone, or in person at The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office. On performance dates the Box Office is open Tuesday – Saturday from 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit PasadenaPlayhouse.org.

cropped-lia-chang_photo-by-carlos-flores-3.jpgLia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.

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Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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