BWW Review: A Glorious Production of MY FAIR LADY at the Ohio Theatre
With the recent pandemic sweeping our world, it was so refreshing to be whisked away by this glorious production of Lerner & Loew's MY FAIR LADY. Brilliantly directed by Bartlett Sher, this version embodies everything a musical should be -- lavish costumes, exquisite sets, superb acting, effortless dancing, and intoxicating voices anchored by a classic love story with a timely twist. It's no wonder that Lincoln Center's revival was nominated for 10 Tony awards and won the Drama Desk Award for outstanding musical revival.
MY FAIR LADY is the story of Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl, who takes speech lessons from a cocky phonetics professor Henry Higgins, who is determined to turn her into a "proper lady." Higgins and Eliza clash in a battle-of-the-sexes joust where gender equality is tested and ultimately redefined.
Shereen Ahmed is spirited and fiery as Eliza Doolittle with curves of grace and vulnerability to round out her character. Ahmed possesses a purely angelic voice that pierces the audience with powerful tones. In an era of defined social classes, Eliza courageously transforms herself into a well-spoken, refined, independent woman with applaudable self-respect and dignity.
Laird Mackintosh is perfectly pompous as Henry Higgins, lacking self-control and demanding attention like a petulant child, yet his ignorance and warm heartedness at the core make him loveable and harmless. On one hand, he calls Eliza "baggage," then pronounces, "You are a tower of strength!" This complexity is a great internal struggle which he openly reveals in a vulnerable and oddly charming way. Mackintosh is a true force on stage, giving a compelling performance with impeccable vocals.
The entire supporting cast is phenomenal in their respective roles. The costumes by Catherine Zuber are breathtaking and add visual dimension like a George Seurat painting. Michael Yeargan's set design and lighting by Donald Holder are exceptionally detailed, allowing the audience to transport themselves into another world. Choreography by Christopher Gattelli is remarkably captivating and the brilliant orchestra under the direction of John Bell permeates impressive sound throughout the theatre.For those of you who were lucky enough to attend Wednesday's opening at the Ohio Theatre, you were able to witness the magnificence of this brilliant piece of musical theatre. Unfortunately, given the recent pandemic, the remaining performances at the Ohio Theatre have been halted. For more information, please read the latest announcements on CAPA's website here: https://www.capa.com/blog/detail/a-message-to-our-patrons-regarding-virus.
For more information about the U.S. National Tour, visit: https://www.myfairladyontour.com/
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus