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Actors Circle presents classic play ‘Pygmalion’ at Providence Playhouse in Scranton April 25-May 5

Actors Circle presents classic play ‘Pygmalion’ at Providence Playhouse in Scranton April 25-May 5
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From a press release:

Community theatre group Actors Circle will present the classic play “Pygmalion,” a romantic comedy by George Bernard Shaw that was later adapted into the musical “My Fair Lady,” at the Providence Playhouse in Scranton on Thursday, April 25 through Sunday, May 5.

Directed by Cathy Rist Strauch of Clinton Township, “Pygmalion” was written in 1912 and first presented on stage to the public in 1913. Professor of phonetics Henry Higgins makes a bet that he can train a bedraggled cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, to pass for a duchess at an ambassador’s garden party by teaching her to assume a veneer of gentility, the most important element of which, he believes, is impeccable speech.

The play is a sharp lampoon of the rigid British class system of the day and a commentary on women’s independence. In ancient Greek mythology, Pygmalion fell in love with one of his sculptures, which then came to life. The general idea of that myth was a popular subject for Victorian era English playwrights, including one of Shaw’s influences, W. S. Gilbert, who wrote a successful play based on the story called “Pygmalion and Galatea,” first presented in 1871. Shaw also would have been familiar with the burlesque version, “Galatea, or Pygmalion Reversed.” Shaw’s play has been adapted numerous times, most notably as the musical “My Fair Lady” and the 1964 film of the same name starring Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle and Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins.

The Actors Circle cast features David Hunisch and Emma Ross of Clarks Summit as Professor Higgins and Eliza Doolittle, respectively, along with Mark Fryer as Col. Pickering, Dominick Azzarelli as Alfred Doolittle, Lorrie Loughney as Mrs. Pearce, Carol Davis as Mrs. Higgins, Katie Von Bergen as Mrs. Eynsford Hill, Maddie Giardina as Clara Hill, David Alejandro Smith as Freddy Hill, and Jeff Ginsberg as Nepommuck. Additional cast members include Bernard Ott, Jane Foy, Tricia Henning, Amanda VanBuskirk, Lisa Chokola, Linda Chavez, Corey Kelly, and John McInerney. Carol Arena of Scranton serves as the costume designer.

Jill Wetzel and her husband, Gerhed, will be performing as ballroom dancers for the special ballroom gala scene in this production. Others dancers include Don Strasburger, Kathy Venne, John McInerney, and Carol Davis.

The cast and crew of ‘Pygmalion’ poses on stage.

“Pygmalion” runs at the Providence Playhouse (1256 Providence Rd., Scranton) on Thursdays though Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. on April 25, 26, 27, and 28 and May 2, 3, 4, and 5. Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for seniors, and $8 for students, with the exception of Thursday, April 25, when tickets are $8 for general admission and seniors and $6 for students.

For reservations, call 570-342-9707 or e-mail All reservations are held 10 minutes until showtime.

Actors Circle was formed in 1982. A group of actors was sitting in a circle on the floor of the University of Scranton auditorium and decided on the name for their organization before performing their first production, “The Crucible.” Originally, the group was known as the Jefferson Hall Players, but the University asked them to change the name because there was already a small theater group at the University with that same name.

Over the years, Actors Circle has also performed at other venues, such as the Scranton Cultural Center, the Century Club, the Jewish Community Center, Nay Aug Park, the Everhart Museum, the Lackawanna Children’s Library, the Lackawanna County Courthouse, and the Tripp House.

In 1984, Providence Playhouse became home to Actors Circle. In this small intimate theater, productions such as comedies, dramas, classics, musicals, plays from well-known authors, and obscure, but important playwrights have been performed. Actors Circle has also commissioned original works, such as the adaptation of “Frankenstein” by Scranton native Ted LoRusso and an original play by John McInerney. Other theatrical organizations have also been welcomed to perform in the home of Actors Circle, such as DGM Productions, Inc.

The founders’ mission was to keep live theatre accessible to the general public, as well as to educate and enlighten not only audiences, but actors, directors, technical crew, and stage managers as well. Actors Circle continues to strive to fulfill this goal by providing the community with laughter and thought-provoking performances.