Review: 'My Fair Lady' a wonderful surprise

DOWNEY - "My Fair Lady," once called "the perfect musical," returned to the Downey Theatre last Thursday for a series of performances that ends on Oct. 18. Executive producer Marsha Moode said it was being staged in Downey for the first time in 17 years.The opinion of this reporter is it should be staged oftener than that. There seemed to be nothing wrong with the production values, and the songs and the singing were wonderful, as were the choreography and the acting. The familiar favorite tunes, such as "Wouldn't It Be Loverly," "The Rain in Spain," "I Could Have Danced All Night," "Get Me to the Church on Time," and "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face," with the lively "With a Little Bit of Luck" interwoven through the scenes - as sung by Charlotte Carpenter's Eliza, George Champion's Alfred Doolittle, and Joseph Culliton's Henry Higgins - were worthy versions of those performed in the movie version starring Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn which I've enjoyed innumerable times. I can just imagine what the 1956 Broadway musical starring the same Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews must have been like: its 2,281 run broke all existing records. Today "My Fair Lady" is regarded as "one of the world's best-loved musicals." Thursday night Jason Marquez was in particularly good form, I thought, as Freddy Hill, whose resonant "On the Street Where You Live" caught the ache and the Zombie-like trance of infatuation. "My Fair Lady" is, of course, famously known as taken from George Bernard Shaw's play, "Pygmalion," rooted in the myth of a sculptor who carved a stature so lifelike that he falls in love with it. A little research reveals that the story has metamorphosed over the centuries into a multitude of versions, all entertaining, all infused with the same familiar life- and love-affirming themes. The lyricists Lerner & Loewe have done a great service by chiseling and hammering a musical version of "Pygmalion." It comes to life at the Downey Theatre. Go see it.

********** Published: October 9, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 25