Broadway Beyond Louisville Review: MY FAIR LADY at The Aronoff Center

Running Now - February 20th at The Aronoff Center in Cincinnati, OH

By: Feb. 11, 2022

Broadway Beyond Louisville Review: MY FAIR LADY  at The Aronoff Center Lincoln Center Theater has a vast and now legendary history of producing lavish revivals of some of the most amazing golden age musicals. In recent years they brought us splendid productions of South Pacific, The King and I, and Falsettos. However, this is nothing new as they flourished in the 80s and 90s with groundbreaking productions of Anything Goes and Carousel. It's only fitting that they would eventually get around to producing the classic musical version of Pygmalion, My Fair Lady. Their version of the show opened on Broadway in 2018 and is now touring the country, currently in Cincinnati.

For those who may be unfamiliar with the story, it follows Eliza Doolittle. Eliza is a poor flower seller on the streets of London, and a chance meeting with an expert in phonetics named Henry Higgins sets her on a course to become an upstanding member of society. Higgins along with his colleague Colonel Pickering decide in a test of their own skills that they will turn Eliza into a proper lady by changing her speech from droll cockney to respectable English.

The role of Eliza is coveted by many, in the current national tour Shereen Ahmed takes on the role quite splendidly. From the minute she opens her mouth to speak you learn so much about her version of Eliza Doolittle, she's sharp and spunky but still idealistic and not entirely jaded. She embodies the traits of the character flawlessly and her vocals are sheer perfection. Laird Mackintosh as Henry Higgins makes a great match for Ahmed's Eliza, watching them go back and forth matching wits is delightful, and their rivalry is truly what fuels the dynamics of this production which at times is deeply rooted in how much they absolutely loathe each other.

The rest of the cast is uniformly strong. Supporting players Kevin Pariseau and Leslie Alexander as Pickering and Mrs. Higgins respectfully are right at home in director Bartlett Sher's vision of this show. The ensemble is sharp, and really gets a chance to shine in the second act showstopper "Get Me to the Church on Time" alongside the wonderful William Michals stepping into the role of Eliza's deadbeat dad Alfred P. Doolittle for the opening night performance. Michals was truly fantastic and could easily be playing the role full time with the amount of charisma and charm he brought to the stage.

The design of the show is pure Lincoln Center magic. Not a penny was spared in its creation and it was well worth it. The costumes are absolutely to die for, each one a masterclass in the detailed artistry it takes to create gorgeous period wear. The sets were good on the whole, but the real treat is Henry Higgins' home where much of the show takes place. Again, the attention to detail and craftsmanship put into the show is downright jaw dropping.

The show itself is a classic for a reason, this production specifically puts it through the lens of modern times without ever feeling preachy. Even without the subtle social commentary this is just a damn good production of a golden age musical, something Lincoln Center Theater has always done extremely well. From the performances to the masterful designs, My Fair Lady is a pageant in spectacle and delight. As I've said with their shows before, this is sure to become a definitive version of this timeless work of musical theatre.

My Fair Lady

Now - February 20th

Aronoff Center For The Arts

650 Walnut Street Cincinnati, OH 45202.