O'Hara, Grammer to Star in NY Philharmonic's My Fair Lady

The New York Philharmonic presents Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady in four semi-staged performances, March 7-10, 2007. The musical - a New York Philharmonic premiere - will star Kelli O'Hara (Eliza Doolittle); Kelsey Grammer (Professor Henry Higgins); Charles Kimbrough (Colonel Hugh Pickering); Brian Dennehy (Alfred Doolittle); Marni Nixon (Mrs. Higgins, Henry's mother); and Tim Jerome (Professor Zoltan Karpathy), all of whom will perform the musical along with the musicians of the New York Philharmonic on the stage of Avery Fisher Hall. Award-winning Broadway conductor Rob Fisher will lead the performances. Thomas Z. Shepard is the producer. My Fair Lady replaces Company, which was previously announced for these dates. Additional casting and production credits will be announced.

On Wednesday, March 7, 2007, the New York Philharmonic's Spring Gala will celebrate My Fair Lady. The Gala Chairmen for this black-tie benefit are Mr. and Mrs. Stephen S. Crawford, Mr. and Mrs. Charles V. Schaefer, and Mr. and Mrs. Stanford S. Warshawsky. For information about the pre-concert reception, concert, and post-concert dinner with the artists, please contact Eve Helfstein, (212) 875-5757, or e-mail her at helfsteine@nyphil.org.

My Fair Lady, the multi-award-winning musical, with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, first appeared on Broadway on March 15, 1956.

Adapted from George Bernard Shaw's 1912 play and Gabrial Pascal's motion picture, Pygmalion, the musical sported songs such as "Wouldn't It Be Loverly," "With a Little Bit of Luck," "The Rain in Spain," "I Could Have Danced All Night," and "On the Street Where You Live." The show starred Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins, Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle, and Stanley Holloway as Alfred P. Doolittle, and ran for 2,717 performances, winning numerous Tony Awards and other kudos. The story, about a Cockney flower girl who is trained by a bachelor linguistics expert to speak proper English in six months' time as part of a daring challenge, was also made into a 1964 film that starred Audrey Hepburn - whose singing voice was dubbed by Marni Nixon - with Rex Harrison and Stanley Holloway reprising their stage roles.

The musical received numerous awards and nominations, including 1957 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Actor in a Musical (Rex Harrison), Best Scenic Design (Oliver Smith), Best Choreography (Hanya Holm), Conductor and Musical Director (Franz Allers), and Best Direction (Moss Hart).

Musicals at the New York Philharmonic

The Philharmonic's last semi-staged presentation of a Broadway musical was Leonard Bernstein's Candide, in May 2004, conducted by Marin Alsop and starring Kristin Chenoweth, Patti LuPone, Paul Groves, Stanford Olsen, and Sir Thomas Allen, with Lonny Price directing; its telecast on Thirteen/WNET New York's Great Performances earned it an Emmy nomination. In May 2000 the Philharmonic presented three concert performances of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, starring Patti LuPone, George Hearn, Audra McDonald, John Aler, Davis Gaines, Heidi Grant Murphy, Neil Patrick Harris, Stanford Olsen, and Paul Plishka. Andrew Litton conducted and Lonny Price directed. A recording of the live performances was released on the Philharmonic's Special Editions label and was nominated for a Grammy Award. In September 1985, the Orchestra offered Stephen Sondheim's Follies, conducted by Paul Gemignani and directed by Herbert Ross, with a cast that included Licia Albanese, Carol Burnett, Liz Callaway, Betty Comden, Barbara Cook, Adolph Green, George Hearn, Howard McGillin, Erie Mills, Liliane Montevecchi, Phyllis Newman, Mandy Patinken, Daisy Prince, Lee Remick, Elaine Stritch, and Andre Gregory. The concert and a recording of the live performance were produced by Thomas Z. Shepard, and a BBC Television documentary about the making of the show was later combined with parts of the performance for DVD release.

Artists

Kelli O'Hara (Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl who becomes the object of a linguistics bet between Henry Higgins and Col. Pickering) was most recently seen on Broadway opposite Harry Connick Jr. in the 2006 Tony Award-winning production of Pajama Game, for which she was nominated for Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics awards. Other Broadway credits include The Light in the Piazza (Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations); The Sweet Smell of Success opposite John Lithgow; Stephen Sondheim's Follies; Dracula; and Jekyll & Hyde. Regional and Off-Broadway credits include My Life With Albertine at Playwright's Horizons; The Light in the Piazza at Seattle's Intiman Theatre and The Goodman Theatre; and Beauty at La Jolla Playhouse. Her film and television credits include The Dying Gaul, starring Patricia Clarkson and Campbell Scott, and Alexander Hamilton, starring Brian F. O'Byrne (PBS). In April 2007 Ms. O'Hara will perform a solo debut concert with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall. She has sung in concerts at Carnegie Hall with Barbara Cook; The Kennedy Center with Marvin Hamlisch and the National Symphony Orchestra; Lincoln Center; Town Hall; Joe's Pub; and with the Philly Pops conducted by Peter Nero. Her recordings include The Light in the Piazza (Nonesuch, Grammy nomination), The Pajama Game (Sony, Grammy nomination), The Sweet Smell of Success (Sony), Jule Styne Goes Hollywood (PS Classics), and an upcoming solo album. Ms. O'Hara has a degree in opera from Oklahoma City University, and won the Oklahoma State Metropolitan Opera Competitions. She studied drama at The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York City.

Kelsey Grammer (Professor Henry Higgins, professional bachelor and world-famous phonetics expert) has played Dr. Frasier Crane on three different television series (Frasier, Cheers, and Wings) over a span of 20 years. He has won four Emmy Awards, two Golden Globes, and a SAG Award for the role, and received a total of 16 Emmy nominations, eight Golden Globe nominations, and 16 SAG nominations. Mr. Grammer most recently played Dr. Henry McCoy, also known as 'Beast,' in the summer film, X-Men: The Last Stand. He also stars in the soon-to-be-released Even Money, a film by Mark Rydell. Mr. Grammer voices the character of Sideshow Bob on the Simpsons, for which he won an Emmy Award in 2006. He also lent his voice to the feature films Toy Story 2, Anastasia, Teacher's Pet, and the television series Father of the Pride, Animal Farm, and Gary the Rat, in which he also served as executive producer. His Paramount-based Production Company, Grammnet, has produced several television series, including Medium, Girlfriends, and The Game. Mr. Grammer studied at The Juilliard School, which was followed by a three year stint at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, where he performed works by Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw. Broadway credits include Macbeth and Othello. He also performed the title role in Richard II, and played Lucio in Measure for Measure at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.

Charles Kimbrough (Colonel Hugh Pickering, a retired British officer and the "author of Spoken Sanscrit") last appeared in New York in A.R. Gurney's The Fourth Wall. He has had a long association with Mr. Gurney, including his plays The Dining Room (Astor Place Theater), Later Life (Playwrights Horizons), and Sylvia (Manhattan Theatre Club). He made his debut on Broadway in John Guare's Cop Out in 1969, and the following year was lucky enough to be associated with Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's Company, for which he received a Tony nomination. Candide followed in 1974 at the Broadway Theater. He managed to finally close the long-running Same Time, Next Year, and then participated in E. L. Doctorow's Drinks Before Dinner at The Public Theater, directed by Mike Nichols. He appeared in the revival of Noel Coward's Hay Fever, directed by Brian Murray, and reunited with Stephen Sondheim in Sunday in the Park with George, written and directed by James Lapine. For 10 years he portrayed Jim Dial in Murphy Brown on CBS television.

Brian Dennehy (Alfred Doolittle, Eliza's father - a dustman and a scoundrel) has received two Tony Awards - for Best Actor in a Play for Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night in 2003, and in 1999 for the 50th anniversary production of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. He also starred in Death of a Salesman at the Lyric Theatre in London's West End in 2005, and in Brian Friel's Translations on Broadway. At Chicago's Goodman Theatre he appeared in leading roles in Robert Falls's productions of Long Day's Journey Into Night (2002), Death of a Salesman (1998), A Touch of the Poet (1996), The Iceman Cometh (1992), and Galileo (1986). Additional theatre credits include Peter Brook's 1988 production of The Cherry Orchard at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music. Mr. Dennehy has also starred in numerous television movies, mini-series, and feature films, including Semi-Tough 10, Rambo: First Blood, Gorky Park, Never Cry Wolf, Twice in a Lifetime, Cocoon, Silverado, F/X, Legal Eagles, Best Seller, Presumed Innocent, Tommy Boy, Baz Luhrman's Romeo and Juliet, and Peter Greenaway's The Belly of an Architect. He was recently seen at The Trinity Repertory Theatre and The Goodman Theatre in the title role in Hughie, and toured as Trumbo (the letters of blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo) as well as in The Exonerated.

Marni Nixon (Mrs. Higgins, Henry's long-suffering mother) has had a richly varied career that includes opera, chamber and symphony, oratorio, and Grammy-nominated recordings, both popular and classical. She made her New York Philharmonic debut in March 1960, singing the U.S. Premiere of Pierre Boulez's Improvisation on Mallarme, No. 1, conducted by Leonard Bernstein, and subsequently appeared in the Orchestra's Promenades series with Andre Previn and Franz Allers (the original Broadway My Fair Lady conductor). She has also recorded the complete vocal chamber works of Anton Webern and many of Stravinsky's vocal works, with Stravinsky conducting. Ms. Nixon is perhaps most famously known as the singing voice for Deborah Kerr, Natalie Wood, and Audrey Hepburn in the motion pictures and soundtrack recordings of The King and I, An Affair to Remember, West Side Story, and My Fair Lady. Her awards include four Emmys for Best Actress for her own children's television program, Boomerang; two Gold Records, for Songs for Mary Poppins and Mulan (voice of Grandma Fa); and two classical Grammy nominations. On Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in regional theater appearances she originated the roles of Sadie McKibben in Opal, Edna in Taking My Turn, Aunt Kate in James Joyce's The Dead, and Mrs. Willson in Richard Wargo's opera Ballymore. Other roles include Heidi Schiller in Sondheim's Follies, and Guido's Mom in Nine in Broadway revivals. In addition to her television and film work, Ms. Nixon teaches privately and gives master classes nationally.

Tim Jerome (Professor Zoltan Karpathy, a Hungarian and former phonetics student of Henry Higgins) was featured last season in Baz Luhrmann's Broadway production of La Boheme in the roles of Alcindoro and Benoit, and was nominated for Drama Desk and Tony Awards for his role as The Family Solicitor in Broadway's Me and My Girl. Also on Broadway, he was featured in Beauty and the Beast (as Belle's Father), Man of La Mancha (original production as Dr. Carrasco), The Rothschilds (Amshel, then Nathan), Grand Hotel (Mr. Preysing), Cats (Gus/Growltiger), The Magic Show (Feldman), and Lost in Yonkers (Eddie). He has appeared in numerous regional productions and was a member of the Arena Stage (Washington, D.C.) Acting Company for two years, originating roles in Tintypes, A 1940s Radio Hour, and David Hare's Plenty. Film credits include Streets of New York, Thirteen Days, Cradle Will Rock, Husbands and Wives, Everyone Says I Love You, Celebrity, and Deconstructing Harry (Woody Allen), A Price Above Rubies, Billy Bathgate, and Spiderman II. Mr. Jerome produced the long-running WBAI-Pacifica drama series The Radio, and appeared on SciFi.com's Seeing Ear Theatre presentations and in several audio dramas for WNYC's The Next Big Thing. He is the president and founder of National Music Theater Network, Inc., which presents live, public, staged readings of new musicals in a series called BroadwayUSA! Mr. Jerome currently appears on Broadway in Disney's Tarzan.

Rob Fisher (conductor) is a recognized authority on American music of all kinds, with a specialty in conducting classic musical theater. He is music director of The Apple Tree, starring Kristin Chenoweth, currently on Broadway. He was music director and conductor of the Tony Award-winning Encores! series at New York's City Center from its inception in 1994 through 2005, and in 1997 was presented with the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Special Achievement. The Broadway hits Chicago and Wonderful Town began at the Encores! series, and Mr. Fisher was instrumental in their successful transfers. Mr. Fisher conducted the Grammy-winning Chicago cast recording and the recently released Wonderful Town. For several seasons Rob Fisher shared concerts with Skitch Henderson and The New York Pops. In 2005 he made debuts with the Philadelphia and Cleveland orchestras, and has led other major orchestras in the U.S. Mr. Fisher was the music director for the New York premiere of Stephen Sondheim's Saturday Night in February of 2000; in 2001 he conducted Sweeney Todd with Patti LuPone, George Hearn, and the San Francisco Symphony, which was broadcast on PBS.

Mr. Fisher regularly creates evenings for the Lyrics and Lyricists series at the 92nd Street Y, and for four seasons he was music director of Garrison Keillor's American Radio Company. As a piano soloist he has played Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue numerous times, and has performed Gershwin's Concerto in F with orchestras across the country.

Thomas Z. Shepard (producer) is a producer/consultant for live theatrical and classical events, and a composer, arranger, pianist, and educator. As a recording executive, he is the recipient of 12 Grammy Awards for production of classical, children's, and theatrical albums, including Follies in Concert, Sunday in the Park with George, Sweeney Todd, and Ain't Misbehavin', and was the 1984 recipient of the NARAS Governors Award for

Lifetime Achievement. He has written five operas; a children's cantata; the score for the film, Such Good Friends, directed by Otto Preminger; and was the composer-lyricist for the PBS children's show, Among the Lions, for which he received an Emmy nomination. His music has been recorded or performed by William Bolcom, Lena Horne, Joan Morris, and Richard Tucker. MR. Shepard produced the New York Philharmonic's semi-staged productions of Stephen Sondheim's Follies, as well as a recording of the live performances. He has served as producer and director of CBS Masterworks, and vice president - classical and theatrical - for both RCA Red Seal and MCA Records.

These concerts are generously underwritten by The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation.

96.3 FM WQXR is the Radio Home of the New York Philharmonic.

Programs of the New York Philharmonic are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, the New York State Music Fund, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Single tickets for these performances are $$65 to $245. All tickets may be purchased online at nyphil.org or by calling (212) 875-5656, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily. Tickets may also be purchased at the Avery Fisher Hall Box Office, Lincoln Center, Broadway at 65th Street. The Box Office opens at 10:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and at noon on Sunday. On performance evenings, the Box Office closes one-half hour after performance time; other evenings it closes at 6:00 p.m. To determine ticket availability, call the Philharmonic's Customer Relations Department at (212) 875-5656. Ticket prices are subject to change.

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