I took this photo with my iPhone while seated in Row X, I think one of the best rows in the House. Of course, the curtain hadn’t gone up, I would never take photos during any performance. But isn’t it glorious? The detail is amazing in its gilding. But I digress…I am going to talk about seeing my most favorite Musical of all time, at this marvel of an Opera House….My Fair Lady!
If you have been following nenasnotes you may recall the post I did on Cecil Beaton when I talked about seeing My Fair Lady the first time…oh, you say, you didn’t see that post…well here is the story!!! On my very first trip to New York (it was a graduation present from my Father and I went the year after I graduated high school and a year after I started working at Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago) I saw several Broadway shows one of which was my first Broadway show on Broadway (understand that Chicago either had pre-Broadway performances and thankfully we still do, think War Paint for an example, or we had the Original Casts think Yul Brenner in The King and I, which Lyric did brilliantly last year so excellent theater wasn’t new to me or to Chicago!) that show was My Fair Lady with Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews…I mean seriously…. It has been my favorite ever since. The Cecil Beaton costuming and staging, the marvelous music, all have remained in my memory after all these years. You can imagine that I was overjoyed when I learned that Lyric was going to mount a production for their 2017 Broadway at Lyric season.
My dear friends (and family!) Tom Hawley and Tom Mantel have been kind and included me for each of the past productions and once again they treated me to a wonderful afternoon of musical theater. One should never compare people, times and most certainly not new productions of old favorites and I must say I wasn’t disappointed. What made it special to me was that they didn’t try to copy the original in any way, except, of course, the music and the Shaw story.
The Ascot Scene
Henry’s Library getting ready to leave for the Embassy Ball.
The cast was excellent, the set actually very austere and minimalist, done in a neutral palette with the exception of the garments in the Ascot Scene, the gowns (with the exception of Elisa’s lovely white gown) in the Ball scene, Elisa’s dress in Mrs. Higgins’ home and the flowers in Covent Garden. It is set later in time, just before World War II the original just before World War I. The large Lyric stage was made more intimate and the scene in Mrs. Higgins’ I loved with its drapery and “Brancusi” sculpture.
Elisa giving her jewels back to Henry.
The story is based on the original Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw and the Gabriel Pascal movie, Pygmalion, not on the 1956 Broadway production. Do Henry and Elisa end up together, we will never know, but I certainly hope so being the romantic I am! Bravo Lyric for yet another superb production. If you haven’t seen it you have until Sunday, May 21st.
Can’t wait for next year’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar, April 27 through May 20, 2018, be sure to mark your calendars now, you know how quickly a year goes. It along with the 2017-2018 Lyric season information can be found at www.lyricopera.org and season tickets are already on sale…yay!!! I am beyond excited that Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers is on the bill, my favorite duet of all, it gives me chills just thinking about it…. conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, adore him, and the production (sets and costumes) is designed by Zandra Rhodes (I spent some time with her several years ago at a Costume Society of America Symposium in San Diego, she is an extraordinary talent)…it is a must see on my calendar it should be amazing!!!!
Other than the photo of the Lyric ceiling all photos I found on Pinterest. Just a reminder that, as always, all the thoughts are mine.
A new site for you to become engaged with Lyric especially if you love musical theater, the Broadway Benefactors Circle you can join at www.lyricopera.org/broadwaybenefactors