A delightful, energetic, and entertaining production has arrived at the Hippodrome Theatre, bringing a little bit of London to Baltimore. Until Nov. 18, an incredibly talented cast of Broadway and London stars will be performing Lerner and Loewe's classic My Fair Lady with energy and vigor.
The legendary Broadway musical, My Fair Lady, is based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion and tells the story of a speech professor, Henry Higgins, who bets that, by teaching a lowly flower girl to speak proper English, he can pass her off as a princess.
The young flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, initially hates the professor, who is constantly belittling her, but as her English improves, Henry Higgins begins to realize that he is essentially creating his idea of the perfect woman. Understandably enough, he falls in love with his creation. Lerner and Loewe wrote a rapturous score and clever lyrics for this adaptation.
Appealing to avid fans, who are familiar with the play can be difficult, but the director and cast do a superb job in replicating the lovable play.
This production is incredible. The sets and scenery will leave you dumbfounded, and everything is constantly in motion. Every song and transition went seamlessly, and no one in the audience was bored even for a moment. The actors were wonderful. Lisa O'Hare (Eliza Doolittle) was a wonderful flower girl who never forgot which accent she was supposed to be using, which can sometimes be tricky even for the most seasoned actresses. She had a beautiful voice and really played up her relationship with
Christopher Cazenove (Henry Higgins), who struck the perfect balance between obnoxious and witty. While the original Henry Higgins, Rex Harrison, spoke almost all his lines, it's nice to know that Cazenove doesn't try to conform to this style. He sang much more than Harrison did, and it's nice change of pace to actually hear the melodies.
The rest of the cast was equally superb. Tim Jerome played an adorable Alfred P. Doolittle, Justin Bohon was a likeable and energetic Freddy, and every other smaller character was just that ??- a character! Most of the cast members have experience on Broadway or in London; O'Hare recently played Mary Poppins in London, and Cazenove is also no stranger to the West End along with many of the other cast members.
The incredible acting only adds to Shaw's clever plot, Loewe's beautiful music, and Lerner's witty lyrics. The pit orchestra got off to a rough start, but they improved throughout the production. By Act Two, everyone was entranced by the show. Ultimately, this enchantment led to an incredibly enthusiastic standing ovation.
My Fair Lady is one of Broadway's most well-known musicals. It was even made into a movie starring Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn. And now, it's possible to see this legendary show at the Hippodrome. From the booming opening chords of the overture, the entire audience knew that they were about to have an enjoyable night. A lively and energetic cast ran around the stage with a million different things were happening all at once. However, it wasn't at all chaotic. In fact, the entire story was easy to follow and well told. The constant action and motion merely reflected the lively city of London, in which "My Fair Lady" takes place.
In the show, urban poor run around whistling "Wouldn't It Be Loverly," snobby upper-class people watch the horse races at Ascot, a flower girl dances at a ball fit for a queen, and a speech professor runs around an office wondering "Why can't a woman be more like a man?"
There is no end to the action and entertainment in this production. It is the kind of show in which one might expect to notice something new every night.
After the hustle and bustle subsides, and the audience hears about Eliza's dreams and Henry Higgins's bet, the plot really starts moving.
The humor intensifies as Higgins continues his lessons and Eliza hates him more and more. When he tests her at the horse races at Ascot and Freddie falls in love with her, it only gets funnier.
Overall, "My Fair Lady" is always a good time, but this production makes it even better. With a stellar cast, a ton of wonderful scenery, and energetic choreography, "My Fair Lady" takes on new meaning.