Lincoln Center brings ‘loverly’ tour of ‘My Fair Lady’ to Hippodrome in Baltimore

 

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'My Fair Lady' at the Hippodrome (Part 1)

The original 1956 stage version won six Tony Awards on Broadway, including Best Musical, before the 1964 Hollywood adaptation won eight Oscars, including Best Picture.

This week, New York City’s Lincoln Center brings its tour of “My Fair Lady” to the historic Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland, from Tuesday, Jan. 10, through Sunday, Jan. 14.

“It sounds like such a fresh, new show, but nothing has actually changed,” Actor Jonathan Grunert told WTOP.

So while the rain stays mostly in the plain, to quote from one of the show’s famous tunes, “it will be briefly in Baltimore!” Grunert added

Based on George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 play “Pygmalion,” the story follows Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl in Edwardian London who takes speech lessons from a no-nonsense phonetician, Professor Henry Higgins, so that she may pass as a “proper lady.”

“‘My Fair Lady’ is a classic Cinderella story,” Grunert said. Beyond that, “It’s a story about two characters who are learning to speak the same language and a woman literally finding her own voice.”

While the role of Henry Higgins was made famous on stage and screen by Rex Harrison, Madeline Powell has big shoes to fill as Eliza Doolittle. The role was originated on Broadway by Julie Andrews, but she was replaced in the movie by “a bigger star” in Audrey Hepburn, who ironically lost the Oscar to Andrews for “Mary Poppins” (1964).

Grunert raved about Powell’s beautiful voice, which he said has a classic Broadway sound. “There’s a great moment in the show where I get to stand there and listen to her while she sings her song at me,” he said. “It’s like getting a private concert every night right on stage. It’s terrific.”

The Lerner-and-Loewe songbook is iconic.

“The audience just erupts” at the conclusion of “I Could Have Danced All Night,” Grunert said.

Other famous songs include “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?,” “With a Little Bit of Luck,” “Rain in Spain,” “On the Street Where You Live,” “Get Me to the Church on Time” and “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face.”

Directed by the acclaimed Bartlett Sher, the production’s visuals promise to be quite “loverly,” from the elaborate period costumes to the detailed London backdrops.

“It is a feast for the eyes,” Grunert said. “Every one of the original sets and costumes from the Broadway show, you are getting them live on stage now. Seeing them twirl around during the ballroom scene, seeing them dance across the stage across these beautiful sets under beautiful lights — it’s a classic, full Broadway musical brought to beautiful life.”

Find more ticket information here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'My Fair Lady' at the Hippodrome (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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