Nov. 26, 2007
Photo: Lisa O'Hare as Eliza Doolittle and Christopher Cazenove as Professor Henry Higgins. Photo credit: Michael Le Poer Trench
Award-winning revival of 'My Fair Lady' comes to Hancher Dec. 12-15
The Cameron Macintosh opulent 50th-anniversary revival of Lerner and Loewe's "My Fair Lady," winner of five Olivier Awards in London, will come to the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium for five performances as part of its first North American tour. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12; an early-bird performance at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13; at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14; and at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15.
Hailed as "the revival against which all others will be measured" by London's Daily Mail, this new production brings back to the stage one of Broadway's most beloved scores, including "The Rain in Spain," "I Could Have Danced All Night," "Wouldn't It Be Loverly," "With a Little Bit of Luck," "Get Me to the Church on Time," "On the Street Where You Live" and "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face."
It also brings together the original U.K. artistic team with direction by four-time Tony Award winner Trevor Nunn ("Les Miserables," "Cats"), choreography and musical staging by two-time Tony winner Matthew Bourne ("Mary Poppins," "Edward Scissorhands") and production design by Anthony Ward ("Gypsy").
And, of course, it is produced by Cameron Macintosh, who pushed touring theater to unprecedented heights of quality and sophistication with shows including "Les Miserables" and "Phantom of the Opera."
The cast includes a direct connection to the original production: Sally Ann Howes, who took over the lead role from Julie Andrews on Broadway in 1958 and later starred in the film "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," is featured in the 50th-anniversary production as Mrs. Higgins. Prof. Henry Higgins is portrayed by Christopher Cazenove, a veteran British actor who was a regular on TV's "Dynasty," And Royal Ballet-trained Lisa O'Hare, who won rave reviews in the U.K., alternates in the role of Eliza Doolittle with young American actress Dana DeLisa.
Macintosh says, "'My Fair Lady' has always had a special place in my heart ever since I saw Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison in the original Drury Lane production when I was 13. It inspired me to produce two hugely successful new productions of my own: the first in 1979, directed by Alan J. Lerner himself; and the recent triumphant reinvention by Trevor Nunn, Matthew Bourne and Anthony Ward, which broke box office records at Drury Lane.
"In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the show's creation in 1956, I am delighted to bring a wonderful new cast to thrill new audiences and old friends with its brilliant, witty and timeless score and even more timely story of a girl from the gutter being given the chance to prove that she's naturally the fairest lady of them all," he added. "'Pop Idol,' eat your heart out!"
Since the North American tour began this fall, the press reviews have stopped nothing short of adoration. The critic of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel wrote, "Without a doubt one of the year's best musicals regardless of vintage. The cast is splendid, from impressive feature performances down through the smart execution of the chorus." And the critic of the Tampa Review stated, "It's hard to limit the adjectives to describe the show's quality."
A review in the Tennessean observed: "'My Fair Lady' entrances audiences with terrific performances and breathtaking production values. The entire cast is simply superlative. A stellar piece of work!"
The Pittsburgh Tribune review emphasized the show's "gloriously detailed sets" and "stunningly beautiful costumes." And Matthew Bourne's choreography caught the eye of the Tampa Tribune critic: "Matthew Bourne's choreography raises the bar for future musicals. His work is perfect!"
"My Fair Lady," based on George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion," opened on Broadway in 1956, starring Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison, and directed by Moss Hart. That production, which set what was at that time the record for length of a theatrical run (2,717 performances), won six Tony Awards and was followed by a hit production in London that ran for 2,281 performances.
In the 1964 Academy Award-winning film, Harrison reprised the role of Prof. Higgins opposite Audrey Hepburn, a controversial choice whose singing was dubbed by Marni Nixon. The same year Andrews, who was bypassed for the film role after starring both in New York and (handing off the Broadway role to Howes) in London, won the Oscar for "Mary Poppins."
The "My Fair Lady" performances are supported by Oaknoll Retirement Residence; Hills Bank and Trust Company; Meardon, Sueppel and Downer P.L.C.; McComas-Lacina Construction L.C.; Douglas and Linda Paul; Shive-Hattery Architecture-Engineering; John and Sue Strauss; and Universal Climate Control, Thomas and Kathryn Nereim, owners, through the University of Iowa Foundation.
Tickets are $55/$45/$30.
Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial 319-335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.
Tickets may be ordered online 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher's website: http://www.hancher.uiowa.edu.
Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to http://list.uiowa.edu/archives/acr-news.html, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073 (office), 319-430-1013 (cell), email@example.com
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