VIDEO: Tony and Oscar Winner Tony Walton Talks Directing MY FAIR LADY in Oklahoma
Tony and Oscar winner Tony Walton is directing a production of My Fair Lady in Edmond, Oklahoma. The set and costume designer sat down for an interview with NewsOK.com to talk about his experience thus far.
Walton is the guest director and designer for UCO's Broadway Tonight and Edmond Summerstock Productions' new staging of "My Fair Lady," which opens Friday at Mitchell Hall Theatre.
"It's a great treat to be involved in this," Walton says. "It's especially special for me because I was around for the original production in 1956 on account of Eliza in those days being my fiancé. So, I saw the show about 300 times between Broadway and the West End of London. And it's fascinating as they do it to have it all come back."
Summerstock Productions took off last summer for renovations to Mitchell Hall, including a new 17,000 square foot addition that houses two new rehearsal spaces, dressing rooms, classrooms, a green room, a costume shop, makeup lab, and more. Walton says that this theatre is what enticed him to come direct the production.
"It originates from almost the time of the play 'Pygmalion,' on which, of course, 'My Fair Lady' is based," he says. "So it's the most perfect theater to perform it in. You feel as if you're back then. You don't have to make that up."
Watch the full interview below and read more on NewsOK.com.
My Fair Lady plays 7:30 p.m. Friday and June 8, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and June 9 and 2 p.m. June 3 and 10, at Mitchell Hall Theatre, 100 N University Drive, Edmond.
Tickets and information: 974-3375 or www.mitchellhalltheatre.com.
Over his six-decade stage career, Walton has designed sets and costumes for numerous productions, including "Anything Goes," "Lend Me a Tenor" and "The Will Rogers Follies," earning 16 Tony nominations and winning three Tony Awards: for his sets for "Pippin" (1973), "The House of Blue Leaves" (1986) and "Guys and Dolls" (1992).
He also has garnered acclaim for his television and film work, including an Emmy Award as production designer for "Death of a Salesman" (1986), an Academy Award for art direction for "All That Jazz" (1980) and Oscar nominations for his costume designs for "The Wiz" (1978), "Murder on the Orient Express" (1974) and "Mary Poppins" (1964).
My Fair Lady is a musical based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe. The story concerns Eliza Doolittle, a Cockneyflower girl who takes speech lessons from professor Henry Higgins, a phoneticist, so that she may pass as a lady. The original Broadway and London shows starred Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews.
The musical's 1956 Broadway production was a notable critical and popular success. It set a record for the longest run of any show on Broadway up to that time. It was followed by a hit London production, a popular film version, and numerous revivals. My Fair Lady has frequently been called "the perfect musical".