Theatre Review: “My Fair Lady” Is A Glorious Staging Of An American Classic

“Scenic designer Wendy Searcy-Woode has created Eliza and Higgins' 1910 London with such exquisite detail, it is nearly impossible not to be completely pulled into the story as soon as you enter the theater.”


 

A misogynistic and snobbish phonetics professor agrees to a wager that he can take a flower girl and make her presentable in high society.

Artisan Center Theater earns a feather in it’s cap with their lavish Main Stage production of “My Fair Lady.”

In 1956 the curtain went up for the first time on “My Fair Lady.” It would set a record for the longest run of any show on Broadway up to that time. It was followed by a hit London production, a popular film version, and numerous revivals. “My Fair Lady” has frequently been called the perfect musical. This classic American musical is based on George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion,” with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe. The story concerns Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl who takes speech lessons from Professor Henry Higgins, a phoneticist, so that she may pass as a lady.

Artisan Center Theater is celebrating a triumphant season with “My Fair Lady” being presented on its Main Stage venue with extraordinary talent and style. The production staff and actors have earned Artisan a truly lavish feather for its cap. As with most of the shows at Artisan, “My Fair Lady” is being performed in the round. Scenic designer Wendy Searcy-Woode has created Eliza and Higgins’ 1910 London with such exquisite detail, it is nearly impossible not to be completely pulled into the story as soon as you enter the theater.

Having originally played Henry Higgins at Artisan in 2009, Stan Graner brings grace and style to Professor Henry Higgins as he revives one of his favorite characters.

Talia Fischer as Eliza Doolittle brings a real spark and charm to the character along with a near pitch perfect voice. Supporting cast members Richard Buswold, Damian Gravino, and Katy Hill as Col. Pickering, Alfred Doolittle, and Mrs. Pearce, all add charm and distinct comic relief with their multi dimensional character development and performance timing. However, Gravino absolutely won me over with his line delivery and amazing dancing skill.

My only disappointments were with the costuming inconsistencies and occasional vocal imbalance of the ensemble. It was unfortunately obvious which costumes were rented and which were pieced together with what could be found. Although the story is set in 1910, costuming seamed to take liberty, especially where the men were concerned. Please note however, that the minor choral imbalances were seldom and that as a whole, the performing company of “My Fair Lady” brings a completely entertaining and extremely well-produced show.

“My Fair Lady” will be on Artisan Center Theater’s Main Stage through Saturday, March 11th. Tickets can be purchased online at www.artisanct.com or by calling the box office at (817) 284-1200.

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