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Actors from Westhavens Young Actors class attended a dress rehearsal of Studio Tenns production of My Fair Lady.

On May 15, five young actors, ages 7 to 10, were invited to watch the final dress rehearsal of Studio Tenn’s production of “My Fair Lady,” that continues its run at the Franklin Theatre through June 2. 
 
Young Westhaven actors preview ‘My Fair Lady.’ Photo by Helen Meeley

Even at such a young age, these young thespians from Westhaven’s Young Actors Class are serious about acting. Trip Wright, 9; Madeline Lake, 7; Emma Erhlick, 8; Grace Craig, 9; and Lilly Duke, 7; have all been in several school productions. At Christmas, these kids also perform with others, in an original play for their neighborhood in the community clubhouse. However, at present, they are currently making their first film, “The Curse of the Golden Bunny.”
 
But on Wednesday night, they stepped off their stage, thrilled to sit on the front row at the Franklin Theater, to watch Eliza Doolittle in England, in 1912, learn to speak and sing correct English, surrounded with her fellow actors, dancers and sets that came and went as part of the end of musical numbers.
 
The kids were fascinated with the unusually proper and restrained Ascot horse race scene, but were a little confused in the end when she dropped her proper English diction to enthusiastically cheer on her horse, as Grace and Trip asked, “What does she mean by, ‘Move your blooming Arse?’”
 
The young girls, especially, Lilly and Madeline, were glued to Laura Metula’s Eliza, when she went into the lovely solo, “I could have danced all night.” Their eyes widened as she danced cross the stage. Entranced, Emma, whispered out loud, “She’s not a fair lady, she’s beautiful!”  
 
During intermission, Trip, cornered producer Jake Speck, to congratulate him on the show, and to also ask his professional advice, “So, how did you get your agent?” 
 
After the show was over, Madeline, whose bedtime had long since passed, still waited eagerly to meet the Eliza actress, Laura Matula. Thrilled, she told Laura how much she loved her performance, and then invited her new friend to see her perform at her elementary school talent show on Monday. Laura, who has her own 7-year-old daughter, was lovely to her. Madeline found out Laura’s parents are missionaries, and that Laura spent most of her early life growing up in Indonesia, Germany and Siberia, finally settling down in Nashville in 2004, wanting a career in music. 
 
As the kids left the theater, still buzzed by the magic of the evening, I recalled the last line in the 1940 musical, “Meet me in St. Louis.” Judy Garland was mesmerized, watching all the lights turn on illuminating the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. “Just think,” she said. “All this is right here, in our own hometown!” 

Posted on: 5/24/2013

 
 

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