It’s been called the perfect musical, and if it’s not first on most lists of best Broadway shows, it certainly ranks in the top five: Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s My Fair Lady is returning to Broadway in the spring, staged by Bartlett Sher (a Tony winner for South Pacific and nominee for The King and I) with the just-announced Lauren
Ambrose (Six Feet Under) as cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle and Harry Haddon-Paton as (Downton Abbey, The Crown) as puerile phonetics professor Henry Higgins, who picks her up in Covent Garden and grows accustomed to her face. Diana Rigg (Victoria) will play Higgins’ abashed, if accommodating mum, and Norbert Leo Butz (Catch Me If You Can, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), will play Eliza’s reprobate-turned-unlikely-paragon Alfred P. Doolittle.
Still to be cast: Higgins’ bromantic partner in crime, Colonel Pickering, and feckless Freddy Eynsford-Hill, who levitates several stories high whenever he’s on the street where Eliza lives.
The Lincoln Center Theater production, mounted with an assist from Nederlander Presentations Inc., is slated to begin previews March 15 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater and opening April 19. The creative team includes choreographer
Christopher Gatelli, music direction by Ted Sperling, sets by Michael Yeargan, costumes by Catherine Zuber, lighting by Donald Holder and sound by Marc Salzberg.
My Fair Lady ran from 1956 through 1962, made a star of Julie Andrews and went on to become one of the most acclaimed musicals of all time. Adapted from Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion, the show concerns Henry Higgins’ challenge to turn yowling Eliza from street urchin into a lady who can pass in the upper social strata of his mother and his fellow academics, especially Zoltan Karpathy, who also is waiting to be cast.