REVIEW: My Fair Lady’s theme of transformation and growth is timelessNov 16, 2023 02:42PM ● By Peri Kinder
The Company of The National Tour of MY FAIR LADY performs at Eccles Theater through Saturday, Nov. 18. Photo by Jeremy Daniel
George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion has gone through many adaptions through the years, including movies like Pretty Woman and She’s All That. His story of a linguistic professor who takes on the challenge of transforming a lower-class lady into a refined woman continues to play to our love of transformation.
The most popular adaption by far is Lerner & Loewe’s musical My Fair Lady which opened on Broadway in 1956, starring Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews.
The Lincoln Center Theater Production of My Fair Lady graces the stage at Eccles Theater through Saturday, Nov. 18 with many favorite Broadway songs including “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” “Just You Wait,” “Get Me to the Church on Time” and “I Could Have Danced All Night.”
When Henry Higgins, played masterfully by Jonathan Grunert, hears the grating, uneducated voice of Eliza Doolittle, portrayed by understudy Evan Bertram (normally played by Anette Barrios-Torres), he can’t believe his ears. Her Cockney accent is an offense to his elite sensibilities and he makes sure to tell her.
To say the two main characters clash is an understatement, but Higgins accepts the challenge offered by his associate Colonel Pickering (John Adkison) to turn the lowly Doolittle into an elegant woman who can deceive people at the highest level of society. Doolittle reluctantly agrees.
What follows is a riotous, bright, lavish, funny and touching experiment of transformation, but who is doing the changing?
As Doolittle finds her voice, literally and figuratively, she also finds a strength and confidence she’s never known. Her father, played by Michael Hegarty, offers comic relief as he goes through his own socio-economic upswing, much to his chagrin.
The lavish costumes, designed by Tony-award-winning Catherine Zuber, and scenic design by Michael Yeargan offer a gorgeous backdrop to the show, with the curved staircase in Higgins’ home almost becoming a character itself.
The only drawback to the evening was the sound levels of the performers, which at times seemed much quieter than normal. But overall, the performance was a top-notch and fun adaptation to a story we’ve all heard so many times before.
Purchase tickets to the limited-engagement of My Fair Lady at ArtTix at 801-355-ARTS (2787) or artsaltlake.org.