The Lincoln Center Production of Lerner & Loewe’s musical MY FAIR LADY playing at the Mary Sommervold Hall at the Washington Pavilion is a work of perfect timing and fluidity in movement that captivates the audience from the opening moments to the ending scenes.
It is a pleasure to behold the scenic design elements of Michael Yeargan in this touring production. At times the movement of set pieces looked like choreographed dances with large pieces gracefully moving across the stage in and out of the wings, aided by a stellar ensemble of performers. The lighting design by Donald Holder created a myriad of mood and dimension to the scenes that enhanced the visual feast of this production at every turn. Costume Design by Catherine Zuber, were stunningly beautiful on the society women, and appropriately tailored visions of a time and place in the history of London that is no small feat to create for a touring production. The feathers and finery were all beautifully presented on stage.
The orchestra, under the direction of David Andrews Rogers was a flawless and inspiring ensemble of musical prowess. I love a show with a live orchestra and this one is one of the best I have ever experienced in a touring company musical production.
The story of My Fair Lady is adapted from the play PYGMALION by Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, but has surpassed the play in popularity due to the genius of book and lyrics of Alan Jay Lerner and music compositions of Frederick Loewe. The history of this musical in the theater world is rich and vast and it is always a delight to be in the audience when this production is on stage.
The principal cast of this production created the story with mastery in acting and musicianship that was impressive and emotionally satisfying. This show deserves the most stellar vocals and impeccable timing of the literature of the script. Madeline Powell as Eliza Doolittle has a pure and clear soprano voice, powerful, vulnerable and raging in all the appropriate places. Her presentation in the Embassy ball gown and coat at the end of Act One is a show-stopper in it’s brilliance and presence on the stage.
Daniel James Canaday as Alfred P. Doolittle, Eliza’s ne’er-do-well father was especially adept at managing to navigate the challenging cockney accent in such a way as to make the audience well aware of each nuance of his manipulation of those around him.
I could have listened all night to the musical stylings of Nathan Haltiwanger, performing as Freddy Eynsford-Hill.
He was mesmerizing in “On the Street Where You Live”. Music can evoke memories like no other auditory stimulus, and this song is among the “most romantic” of the broadway musical genre.
Jonathan Grunert as Professor Henry Higgins and John Adkison as Colonel Pickering had a nice rapport and kept the action moving with intentional and dramatic pace as the manipulators of the experiment and bet they wagered on Eliza’s ability to be transformed into a lady.
My two favorite musical numbers / scenes of the production are always “Ascot Gavotte” and “Get Me To The Church”, because they create a juxtaposition of the classes in the English society, both providing an amusing glimpse at the two very separated worlds that co-exist in one city. This production’s presentation of both were hilarious, visually stunning with color and textures, and the energies of tension and abandonment.
I am compelled to mention the beautiful blend of The “Loverly” Quartet, as formed by William Warren Carver, Richard Coleman, Mark Mitrano, and Charlie Tingen. The harmonies and emotional blend of your voices was simply angelic.
If you can get a ticket to MY FAIR LADY for any of their two remaining performances at 2 or 8 pm on March 11th, you should take advantage of this opportunity to be completely immersed and impressed with live theater.