Eliza Doolittle Will Transition Into Elijah in Transgender Pygmalion | Playbill

News Eliza Doolittle Will Transition Into Elijah in Transgender Pygmalion Off-Broadway troupe uses Shaw to examine “transgender identity.”
George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw

The Off-Broadway theatre company Always Love Lucy Theatre has scheduled a gender-reversed production of George Bernard Shaw's classic Pygmalion—the source material for My Fair Lady—that will offer a hymn to him and him as it transforms Eliza Doolittle into Elijah Doolittle.

Production notes observe that the play offers a “classic tale of transformation, that will in this production spotlight the issue of Transgender identity—at a time when voices in support of trans rights are increasingly heard across the nation and the globe."

Shaw's original 1913 script examined British class differences as reflected in language. It's the story of a cockney flower girl who seeks to transform into a "lady" by changing the accent of her speech.

Directed by Anthony D. Pound the upcoming production promises to show “Eliza Doolittle changing from a common flower girl to a high-class gentleman named Elijah—and with almost no changes to the original script.”

The production has scheduled five performances May 4-8 at Theatre 54 @ Shetler Studios, 244 West 54th Street, 12th floor.

Saima Huq, the producing artistic director of the company, will take on the role of the transitioning Eliza. She issued a statement saying, “As a South Asian woman taking on the role of Eliza, I kept thinking about the fact that many South Asian women are good friends with members of the LGBT community and that’s because we face similar patterns of expectations —How we should be, what a ‘real’ Indian/LGBT person is and does. We figure out how to be Indian/LGBT every single day, we don't have all the answers from day one. Neither does our Eliza/Elijah. So in thinking about Eliza’s transformation, I asked myself why couldn’t she become a gentleman? There is more than one kind of minority and I thought that this particular change might be a very powerful and supportive route to take.”

The rest of the cast includes Christopher Romero Wilson, David Burfoot, Bette Schifman, Tony White, Kristi Cini, Nikki Chawla, Harsh Lochan, Sabrina Zara and Vincent Bivona.

Tickets cost $20 and are available online at Alwayslovelucy2016.brownpapertickets.com.

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