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My Fair Lady
2018 Broadway Cast Recording


Music: Frederick Loewe
Lyrics: Alan Jay Lerner
Book: Alan Jay Lerner
Performed by: Lauren Ambrose, Harry Hadden-Paton, Norbert Leo Butz, Diana Rigg, Allan Corduner, Jordan Donica, Linda Mugleston and Manu Narayan
Label: Broadway Records
RRP: £12.99
Release Date: 08 June 2018

Broadway Records release the 2018 Broadway Cast Recording of Lincoln Center Theater’s new production of Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady. The album is produced by David Lai and Ted Sperling and boasts a score that contains such now-classic songs as 'I Could Have Danced All Night', 'Get Me to the Church on Time', 'Wouldn’t It Be Loverly', 'On the Street Where You Live', 'The Rain in Spain' and 'I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face'...

Even if you're not a fan of musicals, chances are you've at least seen the 1964 movie of My Fair Lady starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison or at the very least will know at least a couple of the now famous songs. In fact, as a very young boy (in the early '70s) the 1964 movie was one that made quite an impression on me (despite the fact I wasn't overly fond of movies that contained singing) and instantly fell in love, like the majority of the world, with Hepburn.

Under the direction of Bartlett Sher, Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady features a cast of 37 including Lauren Ambrose as Eliza Doolittle, Harry Hadden-Paton as Henry Higgins, Norbert Leo Butz as Alfred P. Doolittle, Diana Rigg as Mrs. Higgins, Allan Corduner as Colonel Pickering, Jordan Donica as Freddy Eynsford-Hill, Linda Mugleston as Mrs. Pearce, and Manu Narayan as Zoltan Karpathy.

The production’s ensemble features Cameron Adams, Shereen Ahmed, Kerstin Anderson, Heather Botts, John Treacy Egan, Rebecca Eichenberger, SuEllen Estey, Christopher Faison, Steven Trumon Gray, Adam Grupper, Michael Halling, Joe Hart, Sasha Hutchings, Kate Marilley, Liz McCartney, Justin Lee Miller, Rommel Pierre O’Choa, Keven Quillon, JoAnna Rhinehart, Tony Roach, Lance Roberts, Blair Ross, Christine Cornish Smith, Paul Slade Smith, Samantha Sturm, Matt Wall, Michael Williams, Minami Yusui, and Lee Zarrett.

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 Frederick Loewe, premiered on Broadway on 15 March 1956. The legendary original production won 6 Tony Awards including Best Musical and ran for 2,717 performances making it, at the time, the longest-running musical in Broadway history.

I also managed to track down a copy of the 1956 Broadway Cast recording starring Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews so that I could compare this new recording to the original show as well as the movie.

Lincoln Center Theater’s production has a lot to live up to. And, for the most part it does a spectacular job of keeping the spirit of the original. It's been a long time since I saw the movie, but I was convinced that Harry Hadden-Paton's Henry Higgins was as close as possible to Harrison's movie portrayal. So, I dug out a copy of the soundtrack from the movie and was slightly disappointed to discover that Harrison pretty much "talks" his way through most of the songs. Hadden-Paton is a far better Higgins.

Ambrose's singing is also more engaging than Marni Nixon's (who if you don't already know.... SPOILER ALERT! over dubbed Hepburn in the movie). Ambrose's version of 'I Could Have Danced All Night' is particularly powerful. Ambrose's performance, for me, was also more polished than Andrews's original Broadway Cast Recording.

My one gripe? We'll it's a pretty obvious one really. Ambrose's Doolittle has the most gorgeous singing voice, however her cockney accent is up there with Dick Van Dyke's infamous Bert from Mary Poppins. This is rather sad, because it means that, for me at any rate, the emotional impact of the 'Finale' is lost a little. Likewise, her cockney singing in the early songs is too "upper class" with the occasional slip into cockney. It's not just Ambrose who suffers at the hands of the cockney accent. Almost all of the cast, that attempt it, fall flat to some degree or another. But then this seems to have been the case, for the most part, on the original Broadway show and the movie.

However, if you can overlook this slight quibble, this is an impressive and thoroughly enjoyable recording. It's interesting to see how very little has changed - although 'Without You' is more powerful - and I was impressed that the production tries to stick as close as possible to Lerner & Loewe’s original stage version.


Darren Rea

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