Any fan of musical theatre will tell you that MY FAIR LADY is something very special, and incredibly it is 66 years old. But with one of the most sumptuous productions ever staged, including a cast of over 30 members and a full orchestra, this new tour will exceed all expectations.
In fact, this is the first major revival of the classic tale for over 15 years, but this Lincoln Theatre production promises to be a ‘loverly‘ way to celebrate its return.
The cast for the tour includes TV royalty with EastEnder ADAM WOODYATT and opera superstar LESLEY GARRETT leading the multi award-winning production, coming to Cardiff’s Wales Millennium Centre next week as part of a UK and Ireland tour. CHARLOTTE KENNEDY, who made her professional debut in Les Miserables in the West End and most recently played the role of Cosette will star as Eliza Doolittle.
More on the cast shortly.
Just in case you don’t know the story of Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady, it follows Eliza Doolittle, a young Cockney flower seller, and Henry Higgins, a linguistics professor who is determined to transform her into his idea of a “proper lady”. But who is it that is really being transformed?
Directed by Bartlett Sher, (acclaimed for the recent Tony Award-winning productions of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I and South Pacific), the musical features Frederick Loewe’s beautiful score and a book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner. The songs have gone on to become classics in themselves – I Could Have Danced All Night, Get Me to the Church on Time, Wouldn’t It Be Loverly, On the Street Where You Live, The Rain in Spain, and I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face.
This sublime production, which premiered in 2018 at the Lincoln Center in America, went on to win the Tony Award for Best Costume Design, 5 Outer Critics’ Circle Awards including Best Musical Revival, the Drama League Award for Outstanding Musical Revival, and the Drama Desk Awards for Best Musical Revival and Costume Design.
“Getting a chance to revisit Shaw’s extraordinary story of class and privilege in a new age is a rare and special event and I am thrilled to be able to take this epic musical on tour for audiences up and down the country to enjoy.”
Adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s play and Gabriel Pascal’s movie Pygmalion, MY FAIR LADY burst onto the Broadway stage in 1956, immediately collecting 6 Tony Awards including Best Musical, that success kept it on stage for many years, making it the longest-running musical in Broadway history at the time.
The production then transferred to London in 1958, where it played in the West End for five and a half years. I have to say, my pride and joy amongst a collection of theatre programmes is the one I inherited from the London production. Back then, they were printed in hardback, and definitely worth keeping.
Of course, you can’t mention MY FAIR LADY without a nod to the acclaimed 1964 film starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison, which won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
As we mentioned, it’s been a while since a production has been on tour. Cameron Mackintosh’s revival at Theatre Royal Drury Lane won three Olivier Awards, and later toured across the UK and Ireland in 2005. So to say we are more than ready for this new production would be an understatement.
MY FAIRL LADY played a limited run at the Coliseum in London, with a top notch cast, including DAME VANESSA REDGRAVE as Mrs Higgins.
And that brings us nicely onto the cast who will grace the Donald Gordon stage this November, and I can tell you, it’s as good a line up as you’ll find in any production.
Award-winning West End and Broadway star and two-time Olivier Award nominee MICHAEL D. XAVIER will play Henry Higgins. Michael spent an incredibly successful year on Broadway in 2017, starring as Joe Gillis opposite Glenn Close in Sunset Boulevard and in Hal Prince’s hit show Prince Of Broadway. Michael was nominated for two Olivier Awards in 2011; ‘Best Supporting Performance in a Musical’ (Wolf/Cinderella’s Prince – Into The Woods at The Open Air Theatre) and ‘Best Actor in a Musical’ (Oliver – Love Story at The Duchess Theatre & Chichester Festival Theatre).
CHARLOTTE KENNEDY will star as Eliza Doolittle. Charlotte made her professional debut in Les Miserables in the West End and most recently played the role of Cosette.
Best known for playing Ian Beale in EastEnders, ADAM WOODYATT will play Alfred P. Doolittle. Ian has played the character of Ian Beale since the programme started in 1985 appearing in over 3460 episodes. Before joining EastEnders as a 16 year old, Adam had enjoyed a successful start to his career in the theatre with roles in Oliver! (Albery Theatre now Noel Coward), On the Razzle (National Theatre) before playing Shiner in the Baker Street Boys (BBC) and Dave Firkettle in Witches and the Grinnygog (TVS).
HEATHER JACKSON will reprise her role as Mrs Higgins which she is currently playing at the London Coliseum. Star of multiple roles all over the UK and Europe, Heather played the part of Madame Giry in the West End production of The Phantom of The Opera for a total of nine years, leaving the show in 2009.
JOHN MIDDLETON will play Colonel Pickering. John is best known for his part in ITV’s Emmerdale as Ashley Thomas, a role which he remained in from 1996 to 2017. After this he starred in a highly successful theatre tour of Strangers on a Train where he appeared as the American detective Arthur Gerard, alongside Christopher Harper, Jack Ashton and Hannah Tointon.
Opera superstar LESLEY GARRETT will play Mrs Pearce. Lesley is Britain’s best-known soprano, regularly appearing in opera, music theatre, concert, on television and CD. For more than 30 years she has enjoyed one of the most successful and idiosyncratic careers of any modern-day, classically trained soprano, winning both critical acclaim and the affection of many fans and music lovers through the breadth and diversity of her work. Internationally Lesley has performed throughout Europe, the USA, Australia, Russia, Brazil, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea.
TOM LIGGINS made his professional debut in the West End run of My Fair Lady at the London Coliseum. On tour he will play the role of Freddy Eynsford-Hill.
They will be joined by Dammi Aregbeshola, Bernadette Bangura, Joseph Claus, Jordan Crouch, Jamie Cruttenden, Francessca Daniella-Baker, Barry Drummond, Bethany Huckle, Emma Johnson, Sinead Kenny, Jenny Legg, Rebekah Lowings, Carl Patrick, Tom Ping, Dominique Planter, Joseph Poulton, John Stacey, Joshua Steel, Oliver Tester, Adam Vaughan, Annie Wensak and Paul Westwood as the ensemble. Further casting will be announced in due course.
MY FAIR LADY gets to the Wales Millennium Centre from Tuesday 8th till Saturday 26th November. Performances are at 7pm, Tuesday to Saturday, with 2pm matinee performances on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. To find out more, and get tickets go HERE.
We understand the show is around 2 hours and 55 minutes long, with an interval.