Friday, June 10, 2011

My Fair Lady

Well, I managed to do it again. I waited to see a show until it's closing night. Which is a total shame, because My Fair Lady, at the Cumberland County Playhouse, was beautiful and so much fun. I would have seen it again, and probably taken several more of my friends and family, had I seen it sooner.

As a little girl, I grew up on the movie version of My Fair Lady. Rex Harrison & Audrey Hepburn? Yes, please (and yes, I am aware that she was not the singing voice in the movie). My Fair Lady, along with The Sound of Music, probably qualify as my favorite musicals of all time. So to say I was excited when I found out that the Playhouse was doing a production of My Fair Lady is a slight understatement.
However, the show opened in early April and since that time I've had two trips to New York, a trip to the mid-west for a family function, my birthday, my sister's birthday, Mother's Day, and a million other things going on...which lead to me only seeing the show last night. But in a way, I think that was a good thing. I believe that most actors put more into the last show because that's the end. That's saying goodbye to a character they've nurtured and created for weeks or months. A last hurrah, of sorts.

Needless to say, I loved the show. For those of you who don't know the story, it's a basic rags to riches story. A rich man makes a bet that he can turn a poor, ill-spoken flower girl from the streets into a true lady. And how many teen movies have we seen with a very similar plot line? I think every teen movie from my high school and college years followed that same plotline. The difference: this one includes song, dance, and British accents.

The scenery was beautiful. I've come to expect nothing less at the Playhouse. But the true winner on this show was the costuming. Maybe it's because I'm partial to the dress of that time period, but I truly think the costumes helped make the show top notch. My favorite costumes were the in the scene from the horse races at Ascot. They were so much like those from the movie; everyone in black and white.

Jason Ross played a fantastic Henry Higgins. His comedic timing never fails and it was no different with this show. Nicole Bégué Hackmann played Eliza Doolittle. She was beautifully crass when needed and amazingly elegant as her character progressed. And her singing voice is nothing short of perfection. I love to hear her sing. In every production I've seen her in, her voice has caught my attention, sometimes even before the character has.

The Cumberland County Playhouse has a fantastic group of regulars as well. Many of the ensemble members are often leads in other shows. It is great because you have top notch actors even in the ensemble cast. They had some amazing dancing in this show as well, helped in large part I'm sure, by choreographer Leila Nelson. One of the best numbers in the show was "Get Me To The Church on Time." I loved all of the dancing in this number.

So many of the songs in this show are classics, such as "I Could Have Danced All Night" and "Wouldn't It Be Lovely." I found myself mouthing the words of the songs during the show. I had to remind myself that the actors could see me (I was in the second row) and that I probably shouldn't be moving my lips. No worries of me singing, however. I would never be that rude. And I've been known to throw a death glare or two when I've heard other audience members singing during a show.  

Honestly, the only thing I'm kicking myself is for not seeing it sooner. It was beautiful from start to finish.

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