(center) Sam Simahk as Freddy Eynsford-Hill, Shereen Ahmed as Eliza Doolittle, Kevin Pariseau as Colonel Pickering
and Leslie Alexander as Mrs. Higgins in Lerner & Loewe's MY FAIR LADY
Photo by © Joan Marcus
By Nyla Arslanian
My Fair Lady held the record of the longest run on Broadway up to that time from 1956 to 1962. Based on George Bernard Shaw's 1913 Pygmalion, the book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe did GBS justice. Followed by the Warner Bros. movie in and so many memorable songs, (winning Best Selling Album of 1956), it's a tough act to follow.
However, the Lincoln Center production that arrived at The Dolby on October 16 proved to be just what the musical theatre audience craved-a beautifully mounted road production with an ingenious rotating set and marvelous cast.
It doesn't hurt when the songs and the story are so familiar but reviving a show so well-known is a challenge. Both Shereen Ahmed as Eliza with her amazing voice and Laird Mackintosh as Professor Higgins quickly erased any comparisons to Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison.
Seated at the back of the orchestra, I had the opportunity to experience The Dolby's sight lines and acoustics and was pleasantly surprised. The sound was perfect, balanced, not overly loud and spoken lines easily understood.
I'd never seen the live show before and, I must admit, occasionally with even the best of musical theatre, ensemble production numbers sometimes seem to be added to stretch the length of the show. This was certainly not the case with My Fair Lady. The Ascot Race scene was a joy to behold and the raucous "Get Me to The Church On Time" number was fun and entertaining complete with can can hijinks.
About two-thirds into the second act, during one of the most serious moments of the play, it was obvious that the cast had the audience in the palm of their hands. There wasn't a sound, a cough or shuffle. Just absolute silence-always a wonderful "pin drop" theatre moment.
It has been nearly two years since the Nederlander Organization launched Broadway in Hollywood's productions at The Dolby, which, of course, were unceremoniously halted due to the pandemic. This production is the 4th Broadway revival, still it is a fresh and delightful evening. If you love musical theatre and want to experience it at The Dolby, home of The Oscars, this is a production that will leave you not only humming the familiar songs but being very satisfied that your dollars and time were well spent.