Review: ‘My Fair Lady’ with New Stars is Loverly at Vivian Beaumont Theater

By Jonathan Spira on 19 February 2019
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It’s been anything but “rather dull in town” at the revival of “My Fair Lady” at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, which, ten months after it opened, now welcomes four new stars as principals.

The production is still as glorious as ever, and continues its evolution.  Based on George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion,” which is considered to be one of the most erudite comedies in the English language, Bartlett Scher’s version of Lerner and Loewe’s “My Fair Lady” welcomes Laura Benanti as Eliza along with Danny Burstein as her father, Rosemary Harris as Prof. Henry Higgin’s mother, and Christian Dante White as Freddy Eynsford-Hill, Eliza’s suitor.

Two principals remain – Henry Higgins (Harry Hadden-Paton) and Colonel Pickering (Allan Corduner).

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Despite all the changes, the story remains essentially the same but how it is presented did change.

We find the monstrously scientific Professor Henry Higgins  outside the portico of the church at Covent Garden in the show’s opening scene, documenting the speech proclivities of its denizens, when he encounters a common flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, whose cackling noises result in a boast by Higgins that he can turn her into a duchess or a lady with six months of lessons. The sniveling guttersnipe moves to 27A Wimpole Street and the rest is history.

It remains that story today, but there are some differences and “My Fair Lady,” which catapulted Julie Andrews to stardom in the original version and brought Audrey Hepburn eight Academy Awards for the movie version, has always been a hard act to follow.

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