Back only a few months ago, mid-March for those of you keeping score, theater producers in Australia mounted a full-scale revival of Lerner & Lowe's musical My Fair Lady. While that's not headline-making news, at least over on this side of the world, one thing about the production was -- the show was to be directed by the musical's original Liza Doolittle...Dame Julie Andrews!
(From what I can tell, the production opened in Sydney, but eventually toured around the country. For all I know, it may still be playing there.)
Here are a couple of initial videos of the production, and they all make it look absolutely wonderful. (And by "all," I include some coming tomorrow.) In interviews, Dame Julie talked about wanted to be as true to the 1956 original, 61 years ago, though adding a few necessary tweaks with the passage of time, and allowing the actors leeway to bring their own craft to the work. The results are great. It's really full-scale -- in the sets, costumes and orchestrations, not barebones versions that easily breaks down to pack up for the road. And from the performances I've been able to find, it all looks spot on.
This first video gives a hint of all that. It's a "First Look" that includes videos and some extended clips of the final performances.
By the way, strong as all the performances are, the real stand-out from all I've seen is that of Anna O'Byrne who plays Liza. It's not just that she's really terrific here -- not just singing, but triple-threat dancing and acting, as well -- but the pressure of not turning into a ball of mush when being directed in your role by the legendary actress who came to fame creating that very character must have been hellish. That she ended up as strong as she did speaks volumes.
More to come tomorrow, schedule permitting...
This second video gives a full performance of an early rehearsal for the song "Wouldn't It Be Loverly," opening with the sequences where Henry Higgins (played by.Charles Edwards) meets Col. Pickering. Despite the identification below calling this a "dress rehearsal," it's not. In fact, that's part of its charm -- this is clearly from the rehearsal hall and without costumes. Yet the staging and choreography is pretty much in place. The actors are still feeling their paces, so it's not at "final performance level," but they're getting there. And it's here that you get a chance to see what I was referring to above, your quite-wonderful Anna O'Byrne is.
And for thems interested in reading a good article on the production, you can check out this piece here from the Sydney Morning Herald