Review Roundup: Lisa O'Hare and Richard E. Grant Take the Stage in MY FAIR LADY at Lyric Opera
Lyric Opera of Chicago presents the American premiere of a new production of Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady, starring Richard E. Grant and Lisa O'Hare as Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle. The production runs tonight, April 28, through May 21 (press opening April 29) at Lyric's Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago. BroadwayWorld has a first look at the cast in action below!
Principal casting for My Fair Lady also includes Bryce Pinkham (Freddy Eynsford-Hill), Nicholas Le Prevost (Colonel Pickering) and Donald Maxwell (Alfred Doolittle). All make their Lyric debuts with My Fair Lady.
Let's see what the critics had to say!
Chicago Reader (Jack Helbig): My Fair Lady is very durable. Low budget, no budget, it still flies and sings. But rarely does it soar the way it does at Lyric. And that is all the doing of director Robert Carsen and his team. Carsen directed the original production of this particular version for the Paris-based Théâtre du Châtelet in 2010. The Chicago revival is staged by Olivier Fredj, who worked with Carsen on the original. If you peruse videos of the show on YouTube, you'll see that Fredj has re-created it with loving attention to detail. (He previously directed a revival of Carsen's My Fair Lady at the Mariinksy Theatre in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in 2012.)
Chicago Theatre Beat (Catey Sullivan): In terms of musicality, the show is a rip-roaring success. My Fair Lady sounds amazing, thanks in large part to Chorus Master Michael Black and Conductor David Chase. The harmonies of the Cockney Quartet don't just blend, they mesh so tightly you cannot tell where one voice ends and the next begins. Ditto the laments of Higgins' robust team of household servants. And when the entire chorus joins voices for the "Ascot Gavotte," it's with equally fine seamlessness.
Chicago Tribune (Chris Jones): Whether or not you think the Lyric should be doing Broadway musicals - I am all for it - it's hard to argue that this "My Fair Lady" - which is a singularly book-heavy piece, not an original Lyric production, comes from a smaller auditorium than the Civic Opera House and takes few, if any, risks - really leverages the advantages of the operatic production in the way, say, that the Lincoln Center Theater and the director Bartlett Sher, did brilliantly with its "South Pacific" or even the Paramount in Aurora with its own "My Fair Lady" a couple of years ago. The Lyric needs to emphasize sweep, vision and progressive ideas. Ally that with this great opera company's traditional strengths and spring will be yet more welcome here.