George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion Comes to Long Beach Playhouse Mainstage

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Wilhelm Peters as Henry Higgins and Tiffany Topner as Eliza Doolittle Photography by Mike Hardy

Wilhelm Peters as Henry Higgins and Tiffany Topner as Eliza Doolittle Photography by Mike Hardy

Long Beach Playhouse brings George Bernard Shaw’s Masterwork, Pygmalion to its Mainstage

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.

Directed by UCI, third year MFA in Directing student Sarah Butts, Pygmalion is, like so many other Shaw works, a jumping off point for discourse on the subjects of class, gender and education.

“Something I find most compelling is how this play illuminates the power of education,” stated Sarah Butts, director, “Eliza, a woman on the fringes of society is able to advance herself through education and as she says in Act 5 ‘you can’t take away the knowledge you gave me.'”

Many returning actors take the stage in this new production. Mitchell Nunn who boasts over fifty shows on the Playhouse boards takes on the role of Alfred Doolittle while Newcomer Deva Marie Gregory makes her debut after such roles as  Meg in Little Women the Musical, Olivia in Twelfth Night, and Madeline in The Women of Lockerbie.

Steven Biggs who has appeared at LBP in The Lion in Winter and Waiting for Godot takes on the unflappable Colonel Pickering while Carmen Tunis, the woman who brought Amanda in The Glass Menagerie to the Mainstage plays Mrs. Eynsford-Hill.

Tiffany Toner, who breathes life into Eliza Doolittle has had her times on Playhouse stages, most notably in The Studio’s production of Machinal and Wilhelm Peters who came to the Playhouse a little over the year ago and has become an audience favorite embodies the role of Professor Henry Higgins, you might remember him for last year’s critical success, The Real Thing.

Rounding out the talented cast are newcomer to LBP, Austin Springer; Amara Phelps, last seen as the incredibly funny and dangerous lead in Psycho Beach Party; Martha Duncan, last seen in The Graduate; and Susie McCarthy, last in the hilarious Hay Fever.

This is a special show to produce at LBP,” said Andrew Vonderschmitt, executive and producing artistic director, “Not only do we all love it, it speaks so clearly to so many things worth talking about in the human condition.” Vonderschmitt said that Pygmalion is one of those shows that can make to laugh and think in the precise same moment, “And I, no matter how many times I see it, am always rooting for Eliza to throw those ‘damn slippers’ right in Henry’s face.”


  • Pay what you can Thursday February 25
  • Two for One Preview Friday February 26 – Tickets are $12.00
  • Opening Night Champagne Reception with cast on February 27 – Tickets are $27.00
  • Adults are $24.00, seniors $21.00, and Students $14.00.

Tickets are available at, or by calling 562-494-1014, option 1.

Long Beach Playhouse is located at 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach, CA, 90804, right across from the Long Beach Recreation golf course. The Playhouse is community-supported theatre with programs and events that cut across age, gender, ethnic, and cultural boundaries.

Performances are 8 p.m. Friday, and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The box office is open Wednesday-Saturday from 3:00-8:00 pm and Sundays from 1:00-2:00 pm on scheduled matinees.

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