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The Mass Media

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February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

My Fair Lady Experiences Another Transformation

The Boston Opera House has been transformed into foggy, early 20th century London, complete with lowly cockney and upper crust gentlemen as part of the Broadway Across America production of “My Fair Lady.” Lerner & Loewe’s legendary musical makes its triumphant return to the United States for a national tour, fresh off its 50th Anniversary London production and a successful run across the U.K.

Acclaimed British theatre actress Lisa O’Hare plays Eliza Doolittle, a poor, lower-class flower girl with modest dreams of working in a flower shop, rather than the cold and muddy streets of London. Her world is soon changed by Henry Higgins (Christopher Cazenove), an arrogant professor of phonetics, and his colleague Colonel Pickering (Walter Charles).

Higgins boasts that he can transform the dirty flower girl into a proper lady, one that could be passed off as a duchess in the company of princes and queens in mere weeks. Pickering takes the bet, and soon Higgins is putting young Eliza through endless drilling in the form of exhausting verbal exercises, including repeating the famous phrase “the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.”

Cazenove and O’Hare are amazing in their roles. Cazenove’s performance as the rational, almost unfeeling Professor Higgins provides a perfect balance for O’Hares energetic and passionate Eliza. It is the interaction between these two polar-opposite characters, as well as the unforgettable music, that makes “My Fair Lady” such a joy to behold. And this pair lives up to, if not surpasses all expectations. Not only is the chemistry there, but neither misses a note as they take on one of the greatest scores in stage history, including “Wouldn’t it be Loverly,” “The Rain in Spain,” and “I Could Have Danced All Night,” among others.

The timeless songs are given new life with some exciting new choreography that goes a long way in making this revival standout from all previous productions. These changes are most evident in the songs involving Eliza’s selfish, heavy-drinking father, Alfred P. Doolittle (Tim Jerome). Doolittle is one of the most entertaining characters in “My Fair Lady,” and his performances of “With a Little Bit of Luck” and “Get me to the Church on Time” are high points of the show.

The costumes that the cast are wrapped in are splendid. There are elegant gowns, impeccable suits, as well as torn and dusty rags. The quality costume design is exceeded only by the magnificently detailed sets. The elaborate sets add considerably to the spectacle of the performance. The lavishly decorated stage is complimented nicely by the venue, the exquisite and historic Opera House. The theatre itself is worth visiting whether you consider yourself a fan of musicals or not.

“My Fair Lady,” a musical reproduction of George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 play Pygmalion, was one of the most successful shows in Broadway history. It earned several Tony Awards when it made its debut in 1956 and spawned an Academy Award-winning film in 1964.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, “My Fair Lady” offers a chance for a memorable night out that everyone is sure to enjoy.

My Fair LadyWhere: The Opera House, 539 Washington Street Boston, MA 02111Writer: Alan Jay Lerner, Frederick Loewe (music)Director: Trevor NunnWhen: Now – Feb. 17, 2008Tickets: $30-$91