First produced on a Broadway stage almost exactly 93 years ago, George Bernard Shaw's much beloved Pygmalion comes to life on the Great White Way for the sixth time at the American Airlines Theatre. Most notable is the casting of Jefferson Mays as Professor Henry Higgins and film actress Claire Danes as Eliza Doolittle.
So who exactly was Pygmalion? Why, he was a mythical sculptor king of Cyprus who fell in love with a statue of his own making, of course.
Some notable actors and actresses have filled the roles of the professor who sculpts a lady out of a common street urchin, including Peter O'Toole and Amanda Plummer in the revival from 20 years ago (Plummer was Tony nominated, while the play received a nod for Best Revival of a Play), as well as Raymond Massey and Gertrude Lawrence in the 1945 revival. During the four short performances of the 1938 incarnation, Frank Daly and Norma Downey had the honors. Reginald Mason and the legendary Lynn Fontanne portrayed the duo during the first revival in 1926.
All totaled, prior to the new 2007 revival, Pygmalion has enjoyed 561 regular performances on Broadway, a feat that has, of course, been significantly upstaged by the play's musical progeny: My Fair Lady, which has been produced four times on the Great White Way. In fact, the original run of the tuner alone enjoyed 2,717 regular performances!
With David Grindley (Journey's End) at the helm, this new Pygmalion also includes Boyd Gaines as Colonel Pickering, Jay O. Sanders as Alfred Doolittle, Kerry Bishé as Clara Eynsford Hill, Kieran Campion as Freddy Eynsford Hill, Helen Carey as Mrs. Higgins and Sandra Shipley
as Mrs. Eynsford Hill.
Will critics hail this latest creation? Find out tomorrow as I provide a critics' capsule. I'll also be providing my own SOB Review as well.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
Click here for tickets.
Pygmalion Revival: There Is Nothing Like A Danes? (July 10, 2007)