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Kennedy Center "My Fair Lady"
Posted by lynnetoomey 2013-02-26 20:30:17

So happy that a US audience will be seeing Laura Michelle Kelly's Eliza. BLISS!

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Posted by Evita@theBroadway 2013-02-27 10:20:56

Im actually not that excited about this concert version. This will be the second My Fair Lady to play DC in a span of 6 months, the first one being Arena Stages misguided production.

I just wish that if the Kennedy Center was going to do a concert version, they would choose a musical that isn't performed quite as often.

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Posted by aasjb4ever 2013-02-27 10:21:54

I had heard from a very close source that it was a different Lady that was set to star...

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Posted by MCfan2 2013-02-27 10:55:18

Arena Stage's production was anything but misguided, IMHO.

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Posted by Evita@theBroadway 2013-02-27 11:25:28

MCfan2, the Arena Stage Production cut the overture, miscast the role of Alfie Doolittle (which resulted in many of the shows best lines falling flat) and deflated the energy in showstoppers such as "Get Me To The Church On Time." The production had high and low moments, and very little in between.

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Posted by RaisedOnMusicals 2013-02-27 11:32:55

Manna Nichols played Eliza at Arena and I thought she was wonderful.

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Posted by DottieD'Luscia 2013-02-27 11:36:01

The Kennedy Center also hosted the Cameron MacIntosh tour of the show a few years ago.

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Posted by Lefou 2013-02-27 12:06:06

Aasjb4ever...don't leave it there!

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Posted by beautywickedlover 2013-02-27 12:39:25

"So happy that a US audience will be seeing Laura Michelle Kelly's Eliza. BLISS!"

I wish I could be in DC to see this.

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Posted by rorschach37 2013-02-27 13:13:06

I'm buying tickets as soon as they become available!!!!

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Posted by MCfan2 2013-02-27 14:14:00

Well, I quite enjoyed it myself. (Perhaps it helped a little that I saw an understudy go on as Alfie. ) Anyway, this is one of my all-time favorite shows, so I'm very happy to see it twice in six months!

Kennedy Center
Posted by beautywickedlover 2013-04-23 15:11:16

After this today and remembering that Kelly is playing Eliza I really do hope there will be some footage of it released here at BWW. Songs that have been famously sung by Julie Andrews and Marni Nixon fit Kelly like a glove as well.

Kennedy Center
Posted by SweetLips 2013-04-23 18:15:32

Michael York was such a spunk in the movie 'Something for Everyone'[do I have that right?] now as Colonel Pickering-could he have been a Prof.Higgins? Would have been wonderful if Anthony Warlow could have been Higgins again for this.

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Posted by MCfan2 2013-05-05 23:42:57

Well, that was an interesting evening.

In the pre-show announcements, they made a point of telling us that the cast had only had four days of rehearsal. Unfortunately, it showed. Everyone was in excellent voice (I wouldn't mind having a recording with this cast), the energy and chemistry were good -- but even though everyone but Laura Michelle Kelly and Cloris Leachman was working with book in hand, the whole thing was full of mistakes and bloopers. (Ironically, Kelly was nearly the only one who never blew her lines! Max von Essen was the other one.) Some were funny but some were really awkward.

-- Gregory Jbara got his coat caught on a blanket on Higgins's couch and had to be freed by Florence Lacey. The audience was laughing over it, so he made a joke about it, then lost his place and had to be helped by Jonathan Pryce. (That one was mostly just funny. It took the actors forever to get their own laughter under control.)

-- Michael York walked straight offstage after "Rain in Spain" and had to be called back by Pryce. ("Pickering, come back, I want to tell you something!") Honestly, I don't know what happened to York. He started out fine, but then it seemed like he fell apart -- missing cues and blowing lines left and right.

-- I think Pryce was supposed to dismiss the servants immediately after "You Did It," but forgot. They all stood there frozen as Lacey and York were saying their good nights and going out, until he looked up and said something like, "Oh, you probably should go!"

-- Leachman really, really should have had her book. She had a lot of trouble with her lines; Kelly had to give her major help with the scene at Mrs. Higgins's house. She still has great presence, though, and the audience adored her.

I am happy I got the chance to see Kelly's Eliza -- she was glorious. And Jbara turned in a magnificent performance, blanket trouble notwithstanding. Max von Essen was great as Freddie, and though Pryce had some rough spots, he did a very nice job as Higgins.

The evening zipped by fairly quickly, as several scenes were condensed or cut. Eliza and Higgins's scene at Mrs. Higgins's house, in particular, was slashed to the bone. Oddly, though the program listed the Embassy Ball scene, they didn't do it.

The costumes were good and the set very simple but effective. There were times that I thought the show didn't know quite what it wanted to be, a concert staging or an outright play, and I think that hurt it -- if they had thought of it as a full-on play and rehearsed it as such, or if they had just made it a concert with chairs and microphones and everyone able to look at their script as much as they needed to, everything would have gone so much more smoothly.

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Posted by SondheimFan5 2013-05-06 12:09:13

Mr. York had a stroke recently, if I recall?

Was there dancing? Or did they just sing/play the big numbers?

And only 4 days of rehearsal??!

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Posted by Mamie 2013-05-06 12:53:52

They did the full show - with some choreography. (Most of that was done by Greg Jbara and the street folks). It looked like all the time was spent on learning the musical numbers (as you'd expect) which explained the use of scripts for all the dialog. I didn't know about Michael York's stroke and considering that, he did wonderfully. I agree with MCFan2's review. I expected Kelly to know her part and she didn't disappoint at all. von Essen sang beautifully, which is about all you can expect from that part. It would be unfair to compare his ability to play his part without a script against any of the others. The part is just too small.

Greg Jbara just comes alive when he gets in front of an audience. He and Jonathan cracking each other up just brought me back to Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - when I saw them do the same thing. I hope I don't have to wait so long to see him on stage again!

Edit to add: I just read that Michael York has multiple myeloma. That's a form of blood cancer. The medicines (chemo) you have to take for this can have many debilitating side effects. My admiration for him is growing by leaps and bounds. I'm not sure how many would have even tried such a task as this!

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Posted by sanda 2013-05-06 13:15:37

Wow, just wow. I thought he looked a lot weaker than a couple years ago when I saw him in Camelot tour. I thought it was aging but now it all makes sense. The man is a trooper!

And Maime, I know what you were talking about. We must catch the same show in DRS. Still laugh when I recalled it.

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Posted by MCfan2 2013-05-06 13:35:41

I didn't know about Michael York being sick and on meds. That does explain a lot. Poor guy, I wish him the best.

I think Max von Essen did have a script for part of the time -- at least in the first act. At any rate, he really did a nice job. A touch too passive during "Show Me," I thought (not that responsive to Eliza), but he sang the role just beautifully.

Totally agree with Mamie about Jbara playing brilliantly to an audience. This was my first time seeming him live -- hope there'll be more!

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Posted by Christoph 2013-05-06 17:01:05

All in all it was a nice evening. I did not spot as many missed lines as some, but it was a decent staging of the show. Kelly, Jbara and von Essen were particularly strong. I wish Cloris Leachman's part had been larger, although I was prepared for that. The only really bad experience of the night was that the many first tier side seats in the Concert Hall at the Kennedy Center were excruciating. Half the stage is cut off from view and people were having to stand up and bend out to see what was happening on stage right. I was ready for someone to pitch out over the side and into the orchestra seats below. The only comfort was that I was glad not to be in the left side tier seats because it looked like their view of Higgins' study where so much of the action occurs was obliterated from their view. I was also surprised to see that the Embassy scene mentioned in the program had been deleted.

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Posted by RippedMan 2013-05-06 17:06:01

Seems like an Encores version of a hit show? Seems kind of silly. Why not take all that talent and star power and put it into a show one rarely gets to see.

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Posted by PTOPhan 2013-05-06 22:11:05

I tried desperately to get tickets (as a Kennedy Center donor, I get early bird opportunities), but they were sold out even before they were released to the general public. I found myself wondering why yet another production cast a man past middle age as Higgins. He's apparently supposed to be around 40, but the recent versions put him at around 60. Just because Rex Harrison continued playing the role into his 70s doesn't mean that it works. I'd really like to see an actor play Higgins who is young enough to be sexy. That way, it's believable that Eliza would fall for him. My dream cast (for the men) is Gerard Butler or Hugh Jackman as Higgins, Johnny Depp as Alfred P. Doolittle, Patrick Stewart as Pickering, and Aaron Tveit as Freddy.

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Posted by MCfan2 2013-05-07 08:44:04

Review (with photo) from the "Washington Post." The reviewer was really gung-ho about Jonathan Pryce. I liked him, but I agree with PTOPhan that the age difference was something of a problem. (Also, I have to disagree that "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" was "the choicest ear candy"; I'd give that honor to "I Could Have Danced All Night." Kelly's version of that song was sublime.)