Many Broadway fans have been waiting on pins and needles to find out who will be starring in Bartlett Sher’s Lincoln Center revival of My Fair Lady. The news is in and this revival of the Lerner & Loewe classic (itself based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion) looks to be a star-studded affair. In the role of cockney flower girl-turned-duchess Eliza Doolittle is actress Lauren Ambrose. Ambrose is best-known for her television work on the series Six Feet Under. She has also appeared in many films including Can’t Hardly Wait, Psycho Beach Party, and Where the Wild Things Are.
Joining Ambrose at the Vivian Beaumont will be Harry Hadden-Paton in the role of the chauvinistic phonetics professor, Henry Higgins. Hadden-Paton is familiar to American audiences for his roles on TVs Downton Abbey (as Herbert Pelham) and The Crown (as Martin Charteris). As Alfred P. Doollittle, Eliza’s loafing and drinking father, two-time Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz will take on the part. Butz has appeared on Broadway in Wicked, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Catch Me If You Can (among many others). Perhaps the most exciting bit of casting is longtime stage and screen actress Diana Rigg (Game of Thrones, The Avengers, Follies) as Henry’s formidable mother, Mrs. Higgins.
My Fair Lady originally opened on Broadway in 1956, with Julie Andrews, Rex Harrison, and Stanley Holloway in the leads. The story follows a cockney flower girl from Covent Gardens who happens upon a phonetics professor who makes a bet that he can turn this “squashed cabbage leaf into a duchess at the embassy ball.” Featuring some of Broadway’s most-beloved songs, including “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “On the Street Where You Live,” “The Rain in Spain” and “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face”, My Fair Lady won six Tony Awards including Best Musical. It was turned into a film starring Harrison, Holloway, and Audrey Hepburn.
The new production will begin previews on March 15 with an April 19, 2018 opening at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre. My Fair Lady will feature direction by Bartlett Sher (The Light in the Piazza, South Pacific, The King and I) who has masterfully directed in the Beaumont’s enormous thrust space.
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals and maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.