Diana "My Fair Lady" Media Review

July 14, 2022





By: Diana Brang-Scott

MY FAIR LADY is the winner of 5 Outer Critics Circle Awards including Best Revival of Musical and was nominated for 10 Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival, 5 Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical Revival and 3 Drama League Awards including Best Musical Revival.
The musical is adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s play and Gabriel Pascal’s motion picture Pygmalion, MY FAIR LADY, with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Fredrick Lowe first premiered on Broadway in 1956 starring Julie Andrews and won 6 Tony awards. Then in 1964 a film by the same name cast Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle and Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins and it was a critical and commercial success winning eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director.

For those of you who are not familiar with story it follows Henry Higgins (played by Laird Mackintosh) a professor of phonetics who makes a bet that he can teach a poor strongly accented Cockney girl Eliza Doolittle (played by Shereen Ahmed) who is selling flowers on the street how to speak proper English so well that she could pass as a Duchess in 6 months’ time. Eliza aggresses to the speech lessons to improve her job prospects (I know this sounds extremely misogynistic, a privileged man rescues and fixes young women, but stay with me, it is her drive and ambition, not Henry's, that sets the plot in motion).

From the moment the curtain opens you are enchanted by the orchestra, captivated by costumes, and the magical set designs. Set in Edwardian time visually you see the drastic differences between the classes of the characters. Eliza is among the poor and working-class people on the street, this is where she and Henry Higgins meet, he is a pompous elitist there observing and taking notes on the strong cockney dialects. He views her and the people as street trash. He is high society (picture Downton Abbey) his brilliantly designed home is a window into his world. It is a giant 3-dimensional set that rotates, and each turn reveals another section of his lavish home.

As we get to know the characters the dialogue between Eliza and Henry are at times cringe worthy. He is verbally abusive and treats her like property (I had to remind myself of the time period in which it was written during severely scenes) but do not fret Eliza is not helpless, she is a strong woman, and she knows what she wants and works diligently to achieve her dreams in this classic show. (But it is a poignant reminder about how far women have come to fight against oppression and misogyny and how far we still must go).

The brilliant score alone is worth the price of admission, the entire cast sings it superbly! You will fall in love with Eliza- Shereen Ahmed is warm, charming, and absolutely captivating. One of my favorite numbers is “I Could Have Danced All Night” and I could have listened to her sing that number all night, her voice is soaring! Shereen owns that stage. Laird Mackintosh is a perfect complement to Shereen, he effortlessly brings Henry Higgins to life. He is a fantastic singer he is funny and his comic timing makes it hard to completely dislike his character. Alfred. P Doolittle (played by Martin Fisher) has an incredible deep growling baritone voice that adds weight to his numbers “With a Little Bit of Luck” and “Get Me to The Church on Time” are showstoppers. Sam Simahk who plays the role of Freddy Eynsford-Hill is boyishly charming and brilliantly delivers “On the Street Where You Live” he is absolutely delightful.

The entire show runs just under 3 hours long with 15 min intermission. (The 2nd act feels a tad lengthy) As we watch the transformation and Eliza's escape from the "lower class”, it is a revolutionary act especially in that era, she dramatizes how "superiority" was inherited, and not earned. It is a lesson that resonates for all societies.

“The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she’s treated.” Eliza Doolittle Tickets for Lerner & Loewe’s MY FAIR LADY are on sale now and can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com, by phone at 800-982-2787, and in person at the Fisher Theatre Box Office.

For more information on MY FAIR LADY visit Facebook: “My Fair Lady on Broadway” Twitter/Instagram: @MyFairLadyBway #MyFairLadyTour www.myfairladyontour.com www.BroadwayinDetroit.com