Splash Magazines

My Fair Lady at the Orange County Performing Arts Center Review - A Story & Performance You Will Fall in Love With!

By Amanda Cortez

View the Full Article | Return to the Site

Liza O'Hare as Eliza Doolittle

COSTA MESA, CA – Cameron Mackintosh and the National Theatre of Great Britain’s new production of Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady visits the Orange County Performing Artscenter June 4 – 15 during its national tour. The production comes to America direct from its 2001 West End run and U.K. national tour that began fall 2005.

Liza O'Hare as Eliza Doolittle

It’s sort of boy meets girl, but instead, professor meets prospective student. Basically Professor Henry Higgins ( Christopher Casenove),who studies phonetics, makes a bet with Colonel Hugh Pickering ( Tim Jerome) that he can make a lady out of a young, uncultivated, unschooled girl who sells violets on the streets. This young lady is Eliza Doolittle ( Lisa O’Hare). Although she’s not educated and talks with a dreadful accent. Professor Henry Higgins, a self-absorbed and misogynist, ask her “Why can’ the English learn to speak.” He declares that he can turn Eliza into a lady by teaching her to speak properly.

(L to R)Christopher Cazenove as Henry Higgins and Lisa O'Hare as Eliza Doolittle

So she moves right in and begins her laborious tutoring where she repeats the vowels horribly and unlady-like. However, later, one early morning at 3 a.m. she finally says the phrase correctly “The rain in Spain stay in the Plains.” Wow, this actually made me so excited that tears came dripping down my eyes. I was so happy for Eliza and so was the audience.

Liza O'Hare as Eliza Doolittle

Lisa O’Hare, who was in the title role of Mary Poppins in London, was adorably funny, she was naive, she was sophisticated, she was defiant and dogmatic, but it was all these qualities that made me fall in love with her.

(L to R) Marni Nixon as Mrs. Higgins and Lisa O'Hare as Eliza Doolittle

Professor Henry Higgins ( Christopher Casenove) was also a main attraction. One of England’s most respected stage and screen actors best known to U.S. audiences as Ben Carrington on television’s Dynasty.  Yes he's much older, but still has the true makings of a true actor.

Liza O'Hare as Eliza Doolittle

The rest of the cast was also wonderful, Colonel Hugh Pickering ( Tim Jerome) who sweetly befriended Eliza was warm and delightful. But it was Eliza’s father, Alfred P. Doolittle ( Tim Jerome), as a dustman, drunk who brought much excitement to the crowd. He, charmed his way into Professor Higgins wallet since it was he who brought Eliza into the world. Tim Jerome is quite the dancer and made the audience cheer with great laughter throughout his performances. 

Tim Jerome as Alfred P. Doolittle

In the end, Eliza’s is no longer the uneducated flower girl, but she has became the perfect lady and everyone falls in love with her. And Professor Higgins realizes that he, too, has become quite accustomed to her.

Tim Jerome as Alfred P. Doolittle(C) and friends

My Fair Lady debuted in 1956 and remains one of Broadway's longest running musicals of all time, based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. The musical combines a Cincerella story with social commentary about class distinction and dismissive treatment of women. It's such a heartfelt production with a message and I'm sure this is the reason for its longevity. The show opened to record-breaking advance sales and went on to win five Laurence Olivier Awards, including Outstanding Musical Production and Best Theatre Choreographer for Matthew Bourne. In 2002, it received The Hilton Award for Outstanding Musical Production

The musical flowed flawlessly with engaging, comical, and endearing dialogue infused with unforgettable songs, i.e. “The Rain in Spain,” “I Could Have Danced All Night,” and “Get Me to the Church on Time.” The man sitting next to me lip synced almost each song.

Christopher Cazenove as Henry Higgins and Lisa O'Hare as Eliza Doolittle

With the direction by four time Tony®-winner Trevor Nunn, choreography and musical staging by two-time Tony®’winner Matthew Bourne, production design by Anthony Ward and lighting design by David Hersey. The musical supervisor is Stephen Brooker and the orchestrations are by William David Brohn, with the dance music arranged by Chris Walker. The sound is by Paul Groothuis. The associate choreographer is Fergus Logan. The associate director is Shaun Kerrison. This dream-team has brought grand life into this production and I was thrilled to be a part of it!

My Fair Lady won eight 1956 Tony Awards®, including Best Musical.  My Fair Lady subsequently opened in London with the same cast on April 30, 1958 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, and it enjoyed a record-breaking five and a half year run. The 1964 film version of My Fair Lady has become a beloved classic worldwide, winning eight 1964 Academy Awards®, including Best Picture. The Cameron Mackintosh/National Theatre of Great Britain production of Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady is produced by NETworks Presentations, David Ian for Live Nation and Cameron Mackintosh.

This new production was hailed by the London Daily Mail as “The revival against which all others will be measured,” and the London Daily Telegraph as “Probably the greatest musical of all time.” U.S. critics were equally unanimous in their praise: “A joyous smash revival” hails Ben Brantley of The New York Times and Richard Christiansen of The Chicago Tribune raves “Sumptuous and stunning! An inspired revival.”

Marni Nixon as Mrs. Higgins

The original production of My Fair Lady opened at the Mark Hellinger Theatre, New York on March 15, 1956 where it ran for 2,717 performances – the longest-running musical of its day and still one of the top fifteen longest-running Broadway musicals of all time. This has been my first live performance -  I laughed, I cried and I was entertained from beginning to end. This fantastic family musical is fun for the whole family. I was captivated by each actor's performance. I haven’t seen the movie in years, but I am excited to rent it! It’s a story that you can’t get enough of. 

For more information, please visit www.myfairladythemusical.com.

The cast as London Society at the Ascot Races

Orange County Performing Artscenter – Segerstrom Hall
June 4 – 15, 2008
June 4 – 8
Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m.
June 9 – 15
Wednesday–Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m.
The Saturday, June 14 performance at 2 p.m. will be sign-language interpreted.
Orange County Performing Artscenter – Segerstrom Hall
600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA
For more information, visit OCPAC.org

Published on Dec 31, 1969

View the Full Article | Return to the Site