My Fair Lady Extends West End Run by Five MonthsDate: 7 December 2001
My Fair Lady - which from this week features its new leading lady, Joanna Riding, taking over from Martine McCutcheon - has extended its run at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, by five and a half months. Following its original four-month, sell-out run at the National, the musical transferred to the West End theatre in July. It was originally booking to 16 March 2002, but is now taking bookings up to 31 August 2002.
Though the show received popular and critical acclaim, this was undermined somewhat by the unreliability of McCutcheon, who originally starred as Eliza Doolittle but missed nearly half her performances due to ill health. Though she was contracted to stay with the production until April 2002, McCutcheon's announced her departure in early November, citing doctor's orders. The star role was then given to Olivier award-winning, West End veteran Riding, with understudies Alexandra Jay and Kerry Ellis taking over in the interim. Riding's previous credits include Guys and Dolls, Carousel and, most recently, The Witches of Eastwick.
The 1956 musical, with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, is adapted from George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion. An opinionated linguistics professor, Henry Higgins, sets out to prove that he can turn anyone into a lady. He chooses as his specimen one cockney flower girl, Eliza, and introduces her to high society. The famous score includes "I Could Have Danced All Night", "Wouldn't It Be Loverly", "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face", "Why Can't the English" and "The Rain in Spain."
This revival of My Fair Lady is directed by NT artistic director Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Matthew Bourne, with design by Anthony Ward with lighting by David Hersey and sound by Paul Groothuis. The musical supervisor is David White, musical director Nick Davies and orchestrator William D Brohn, with original orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett. It is produced in the West End by Cameron Mackintosh.
My Fair Lady has been nominated for four 2001 the Whatsonstage.com Awards - Best Actor in a Musical (for Pryce), Best Supporting Performance (Le Prevost), Best Choreographer (Bourne) and Best Musical Revival. (Click here to vote.)
- by Terri Paddock