A Smashing, Positively Dashing Spectacle! Dame Julie Andrews Directs MY FAIR LADY

My Fair Lady Sydney

Reg Livermore and Cast (photo by Jeff Busby)

A new production of MY FAIR LADY has just opened in Australia, under the direction of Broadway’s original Eliza Doolittle, Julie Andrews– and critics are raving!

Lerner and Loewe’s celebrated musical adaptation of Shaw’s Pygmalion made its Australian premiere at The Sydney Opera House this week, officially opening on September 6th. This special 60th Anniversary staging recreates design elements of the original Broadway production.

My Fair Lady Sydney

Anna O’Byrne, Robyn Nevin and Alex Jennings (Jeff Busby)

Jason Blake of The Sydney Morning Herald explains:

The set is a replica of 10-time Tony winner Oliver Smith’s original design for New York’s Mark Hellinger Theatre, supervised by Smith associate Rosaria Sinisi.

Cecil Beaton’s former assistant John David Ridge went back to Beaton’s original drawings for the show’s iconic costumes.

Richard Pilbrow’s lighting is a salute to Broadway legend Abe Feder, made with technology Feder could only have dreamed of.

An orchestra of 32 musicians from the ranks of the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, under musical director Guy Simpson, unleash the full color in Loewe’s score.

My Fair Lady Sydney

Anna O’Byrne and Alex Jennings (Jef Busby)

In his review of the production, Blake is generous in his praise, calling the show “fabulous” and “sumptuous.”

Chris Hook of The Daily Telegraph says, “It’s a glorious sensory experience,” adding “The idea to get Andrews to direct this recreated production was inspired, and it paid off big time.”

My Fair Lady Sydney

Anna O’Byrne and Mark Vincent (Jeff Busby)

Ben Neutze is equally effusive in Daily Review, saying, “Australian soprano Anna O’Byrne is everything you could hope for in the role…. O’Byrne is simply radiant, and almost everything in her performance is perfectly judged — she’s funny, moving, and resilient.” Neutze also commends the recreated designs, adding, “For musical theatre and design nerds (like myself) it’s an absolute treat to get a glimpse of this hugely influential staging.”

Julie Andrews My Fair Lady Sydney

Dame Julie Andrews, in 2016 and 1956.

And what is it like to work with Dame Julie, the original Eliza, at the helm? Alex Jennings, who plays Henry Higgins, says of director Andrews: “She is fan-tastic. Honestly. Just fantastic. Working with her is like a master class. It’s amazing. And very sort of touching to see her revisiting something she did sixty years ago. Her staging instinct is immaculate. Her notes are incredibly detailed. She is so fantastic and generous with the ensemble, and gorgeous to be around. She is amazing. Amazing. Amazing.”

MY FAIR LADY is playing at the Sydney Opera House through November 4th.