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Photo by Ken Abbott

Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society presents the much-loved musical My Fair Lady at the Theatre Royal Bath from Tuesday 20th to Saturday 24th February featuring a famous score which includes the songs I Could Have Danced All Night, Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?, The Rain in Spain, On the Street Where You Live and Get Me to the Church on Time.

 

Professor Henry Higgins and his friend Colonel Pickering come across Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower seller, in Covent Garden. When Higgins remarks that he could train her to speak like a lady, Pickering challenges him to do so. Although difficult and frustrating for both Eliza and Higgins at first, the lessons soon begin to work wonders, and produce results that neither could ever have anticipated.

 

Based on Bernard Shaw’s 1913 play Pygmalion, Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady broke all box office records in London and New York where it was the winner of a 1957 Tony Award for Best New Musical. The 1964 film version, starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison, was nominated for twelve Oscars, winning eight, and remains a classic to this day.

One of the most acclaimed and well established amateur companies in the region, Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society’s (BODS) returns to the Theatre Royal Bath following their recent acclaimed productions of Sweet Charity, West Side Story and Hairspray, with a 40-strong cast of local performers who hail from Bath, Bristol, Wiltshire and Somerset.

 

Director Tristan Carter returns to the helm after directing the company’s productions of Sweet Charity, West Side Story, The Witches of Eastwick and their Rose Bowl Award-winning staging of The Mikado at the Theatre Royal Bath. Head of Acting at Bath School of Acting and Curtain Up Theatre School, Tristan trained in Musical Theatre at Guilford School of Acting before working professionally. Choreography is by Maisie Carter and Annette Wilshire.

 

The lead role of Eliza Doolittle is played by Madeleine Woolgar, a resident of Carlingcott near Peasedown St John, who by day works with autistic children and their parents in home-based Son-Rise Programs®. An English Literature and Drama and Theatre Arts graduate from the University of Birmingham, Madeleine performed in musicals in her home town of Oxford before moving to the South West. This is her second show with BODS, having played Nickie in Sweet Charity last year.

 

Professor Henry Higgins is played by Bath local Steve Huggins, who has performed with BODS for almost 20 years, including roles in Chess, Me & My Girl and Anything Goes. After playing everything from pantomime dames to Shakespearean villains with numerous local societies over the years, Steve decided to leave his day job last year to focus on his acting career. His recent professional work includes Reindeer on the Roof for Hodgepodge Theatre and the roles of Wolfie in Revolting Rhymes and Snowman in The Snowman for Crescendo Concerts on tour across the UK.

 

Also playing principal roles are BODS veterans Huw Morgan, as Colonel Pickering, who has performed in every BODS show since 2006, including the title role in the award winning 2013 production of The Mikado; and Dave Key-Pugh, as Alfred Doolittle, who delighted audiences with his portrayal of Herman in last year’s BODS’s production of Sweet Charity. Making her debut performance with BODS is Anna-Marie Manley in the role of Mrs Pearce. Originally from Taunton, Anna-Marie moved to Bath to become a writer and was enticed back to the stage by the role of Nellie in Yeovil Amateur Operatic Society’s recent production of Jekyll and Hyde.

 

My Fair Lady features a professional orchestra conducted by musical director Peter Blackwood, who has directed music for over 200 theatre productions. His many credits include the acclaimed community play, The Day That War Broke Out in Bristol which was staged at Temple Meads. He has worked extensively with BODS, most recently as Musical Director for Jesus Christ Superstar, Oliver!, The Witches of Eastwick, West Side Story and Sweet Charity.

 

Established in 1894, and originally called Bath Amateurs, Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society’s (BODS) illustrious history includes many acclaimed performances.  In 2013 BODS won the Rose Bowl Award for Best Opera for their production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, and in 2014 they were nominated for The Witches of Eastwick.

 


My Fair Lady appears at the Theatre Royal Bath from Tuesday 20th to Saturday 24th February. Tickets are available from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 01225 448844 and online at www.theatreroyal.org.uk