Thursday, March 01, 2007
My Fair Philly
At long last, the absolutely dazzling London revival of My Fair Lady is bound for the United States. The tuner will enjoy its North American premiere at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center's Academy of Music, March 11-16, 2008.
The wonderful West End production that was produced by Cameron Mackintosh, directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Matthew Bourne first opened at London's Lyttleton Theatre in 2001 before transferring to the city's Theatre Royal Drury Lane later that year. In 2002, it went on to earn five Olivier Awards including for Outstanding Musical Production.
In the heady months after 9/11, I flew to London specifically to see this production, and it ranked among my top five favorite shows of the 2001-02 Theatrical Season. That, despite the fact that its Eliza Doolittle (Martine McCutcheon) was out the evening I attended; fortunately, her standout understudy, Alexandra Jay, perfectly complemented Jonathan Pryce's brilliant turn as Professor Henry Higgins.
Stateside, it's been 51 years since My Fair Lady made its auspicious Broadway debut with Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews in the pivotal roles of Henry and Eliza, respectively. While the third and last Great White Way revival was staged in 1993-94, it lasted a mere 165 regular performances.
Earlier, hopes had run high that the London success of the Mackintosh-Nunn revival would eventually strike gold on Broadway, but it now appears that My Fair Lady must settle for a North American tour instead.
I can tell you that if the production values remain anywhere near as high as they were in London, this deserves packed houses all across America.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).