COAL CITY — Acting, singing, dancing and numerous talented actors and actresses are all what make up a musical. Coal City High School opens its doors of dedication to their production of the popular musical, “My Fair Lady.”
This story concerns a young woman who takes lessons from a professor so that she may pass off as a well-born lady. Based upon George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion,” this 1956 production became a hit.
To the young actors and actresses of CCHS, taking on major roles like in this musical gives new experiences, an up-close and personal view of characters and opens a lot of doors.
“I was talked into trying out and wasn’t expecting anything like this,” says sophomore Olivia Kosch. “When I found out I got the lead for this musical, I almost fainted.”
Kosch plays the lead role as the young, cockney Eliza Doolittle, a flower girl from Lisson Grove that works outside of Convent Garden. Her ambition to become a lady puts her in the middle of a bet by two gentlemen who teach her the ploys of becoming proper.
“She’s so improper,” Kosch says. “She gets frustrated when she can’t do something right, and it’s so funny to act like someone who’s your exact opposite.”
Director Benjamin Baer takes great pride and hope in Kosch to her role as Eliza.
“This is her first musical production,” says Baer. “She plays a very nice and fulfilling role and acts it out just as you would expect. She brings the personality. I think she’s definitely going to surprise a lot of people.”
Junior Charles Frese plays the uptight and boastful Henry Higgins, a British bachelor and phonetics expert. His bet against his friend Colonel Pickering to turn Eliza into a satisfying woman is what drives him into helping her.
“I started participating in school productions my freshmen year and I wanted to do it ever since,” Frese explains. “Higgins is a really interesting character. He studies all the time so he thinks that because he knows all there is to do about phonetics, he can easily teach someone how to speak proper English.”
“Charles is like the season veteran,” says director Baer. “He participates in a lot of different theater productions like the summer shows with our community theater group. As a junior, he has a lot of experience.”
Colonel Pickering is played by sophomore Juan Munoz, who makes a bet with Higgins that he can’t possibly turn Eliza into a proper lady. This retired British officer soon assists in helping Higgins with his teaching.
“Pickering is the character that holds everything together and brings out so much comedy,” explains Munoz.
“He throws problems in other characters’ faces and he doesn’t take everything seriously. I have a lot of fun playing him. My participation in the speech team is what drove me to wanting to be in this musical. I like the idea of making something your own that also helps bring people together. I saw many plays and musicals when I was younger and I wanted to be part of something like that.”
“This also Juan’s first production,” Baer says. “He brings all the humor to the entire musical and I think he’s going to make a lot of people laugh.”
These three students have practiced since the beginning of January and have shown extreme amounts of dedication.
“With the play being as long as it is, our practices usually last around three hours,” says Munoz. “Sometimes they go for eight hours.”
Munoz, Kosch and Frese also have their favorite scenes from the production.
“I love when I get to sing the song ‘Just You Wait,’” Kosch exclaims. “I get to be really angry and I put a lot of energy into it.”
“I like when Pickering and Higgins start training Eliza,” says Munoz. “It’s the funniest part of the entire musical because we’re trying to get her to be very proper, but everything just goes wrong.”
“The finale was definitely my favorite,” Frese says. “This is the moment where my character actually shows who he is and how much he cares about Eliza.”
The three students are said to plan on participating in more high school theater productions through the rest of their high school career.
Baer is greatly looking forward to this production.
“This is a classic musical, “Baer says. “Every generation enjoys it and every scene is entertaining. This whole production was a group effort and the students are ready.”
CCHS’ production of “My Fair Lady” will open its curtains Friday, March 16 at 7 p.m., Saturday, March 17 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 18 at 2 p.m. The price of admission is $5.