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Review Roundup: The National Tour of MY FAIR LADY

The national tour of My Fair Lady is currently making its way across the country with stops in Washington DC, Nashville, Charlotte and more!

The cast features Shereen Ahmed as Eliza Doolittle, Laird Mackintosh as Professor Henry Higgins, Adam Grupper as Alfred P. Doolittle, Wade McCollum as Professor Zoltan Karpathy and Sam Simahk as Freddy Eynsford-Hill.

The cast also features: Leslie Alexander as Mrs. Higgins, Kevin Pariseau as Colonel Pickering, Gayton Scott as Mrs. Pearce, Mark Aldrich, Rajeer Alford, Colin Anderson, Polly Baird, Mark Banik, Michael Biren, Shavey Brown, Anne Brummel, Henry Byalikov, Mary Callanan, Jennifer Evans, Nicole Ferguson, Kaitlyn Frank, Juliane Godfrey, Colleen Grate, Patrick Kerr, Brandon Leffler, Nathalie Marrable, William Michals, Rommel Pierre O'Choa, Joanna Rhinehart, Sarah Quinn Taylor, Fana Tesfagiorgis, Michael Williams, and John T. Wolfe.

Let's see what the critics have been saying...


Washington, DC

Peter Marks, The Washington Post: You do sometimes in a national tour have the disappointing intimation of reasonable facsimile, the feeling that you sought a designer brand but wound up with a knockoff. Not on this occasion. Sher, with exuberant assists from costume designer Catherine Zuber and choreographer Christopher Gattelli, among others, gives audiences the same resplendent experience as was offered by Lincoln Center Theater in its Broadway house, the Vivian Beaumont. Thankfully, Michael Yeargan's revolving set of Henry's Wimpole Street townhouse in London retains its Edwardian luster - even if the traveling version does not look strictly fit-to-size in the Opera House. To your greater relief, sound designer Marc Salzberg has seen to it that Lerner's immaculate lyrics are audible at all times in a massive space not always conducive to musicals.

Lynne Menefee, MD Theatre Guide: Thankfully, this is not a "lite" tour version. The musical is done in the grand, Broadway tradition. The costumes by Catherine Zuber are breathtaking, as is the set design by Michael Yeargan, complemented by Donald Holder's lighting design. The revolving and scrupulously detailed, Edwardian townhouse of Professor Higgins is utilized like one would a continuous shot in a film to brilliant effect in "Just You Wait" and "The Servants' Chorus." The ensemble is vocally tight and masters the exuberant choreography of Christopher Gattelli.

Bob Ashby, DC Metro Theatre Arts: Ahmed sings the role beautifully, whether in the plaintively ambitious "Wouldn't it Be Loverly," the angry "Just You Wait," the joyously exhilarated "I Could Have Danced All Night," or the defiant "Without You." Ahmed makes every song an expression of her character, in sometimes delightfully subtle ways. In the lines leading to "The Rain in Spain," she sounds out the words right for the first time, slowly and carefully, realizing as she says them that she has made a breakthrough. At the beginning of "Without You," she quietly thinks out loud about her situation in her first two lines before launching into her declaration of independence.

Charlotte

Lawrence Toppman, Charlotte Observer: The leads handle the complexities given to them in this new staging. Laird Mackintosh reveals Higgins' vulnerability earlier than we're used to; he makes the character a spoiled, immature boy, rather than a true misogynist. Adam Grupper's lustily sung Doolittle seems equally capable of conning money out of Higgins and Pickering when sober or beating it out of Eliza when drunk. Kevin Pariseau sounds Pickering's lone note of vigorous, slightly clueless kindness, and Sam Simahk's lovely singing almost makes Freddy sympathetic instead of simpering. Shereen Ahmed crowns the show with a performance of fire and dignity, whether as the grungy caterpillar who sells violets or the social butterfly who conquers society. Even standing silently to the side as Higgins and Pickering exult boorishly over their transformation of her, this Eliza reveals a deeper soul than any of the men in her life.

Perry Tannenbaum, BroadwayWorld: Sher also judges keenly in giving us a more youthful Higgins, for Mackintosh can react to Ahmed emotionally as she wins his admiration, almost sweeping away thoughts of her desirability as a maidservant or private secretary. That youthful casting gives Ahmed more to be giddy about when Higgins shows her his first glimmer of approval and pride. In "I Could Have Danced All Night," Ahmed's whole body seems to awaken to undreamed-of possibilities that surpass the prospect of becoming a private secretary or a flower shop owner. Ahmed does sing superbly, showing steel and vitality in her bellicose songs, "Just You Wait," "Show Me," and "Without You." Helped along by Catherine Zuber's smashing costumes, Ahmed also transforms magnificently from the grubby Cockney we meet in the opening scene into a vision of regal elegance that credibly explodes Higgins' wildest expectations of success for his phonetic experimentations - and his gentlemen's bet with Colonel Pickering.

Nashville

William Shutes, Out & About Nashville: My Fair Lady is often called one of the "perfect" musicals. Created in the Golden Age of the American musical, it balances a witty book with songs worth their weight in gold. And, though it's a hard claim to make, this may be as close to the perfect production of the show as you'll ever see. It's a big show, boldly staged, beautiful to look at, and has more talent per square inch than that 40-foot stage deck can hold.

Helen Meeley, Williamson Herald: The excellent cast included the two delightful leads - Shereen Ahmed as the young flower girl and Eliza Doolittle, unhappy with her cockney accent and her place in life - and Larid Mackintosh as Eliza's teacher, the misogynistic, gruff Professor of Linguistic Henry Higgins. Together, with witty humor, great songs and funny vocal exercisers, they end up finding more in each other than perfect English. Several characters also stand out, including the hysterically funny linguistic con artist Professor Zoltan Karpathy, played by Wade McCollum, and Freddy Eynsford-Hill, the young upper crust gentleman in love with Eliza, played by Sam Simahk. Simahk's lovely voice is perfect as he performs the beautiful classic, "On the Street Where You Live."


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