A Few Words About A few words about...™ My Fair Lady (Take Two) -- in Blu-ray

Paul Rossen

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Theater to continue to function and stay relevant must change or it becomes a museum piece. I’m sure that the upcoming Spielberg WSS will be different from the 1961 version. I’m also sure that the just announced new film of Fiddler on the Roof will be different than the 1970 ish version. By the wAy if you love musical and did’t see the 3 productions I mentioned you really missed some exciting works. The King and I was breathtaking. Also, if you’ve ever seen Lauri Benati perform you know what a marvelous voice she has...
 

Paul Rossen

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Don’t know if it is widely known but a number of years ago Emma Thompson wrote a new MFL screenplay. This new take on MFL was to star either Kiera Knightly or Carey Mulligan. Nothing came of this movie but one never knows...
 

Jack P

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Glad nothing came of it.

I have enjoyed multiple cast versions of many Broadway shows, but always it's the actors doing justice to the integrity of the material and not actors leading to changes in the *storyline* to suit agendas. That is not staying "relevant" it's pandering at its lowest common denominator. The whole reason why "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face" is a memorable number is because Lerner did the impossible of giving us a love song without the word love. Finding the only way a character like Higgins can express how he really feels about Eliza. It's not going to give us an ending in the conventional sense but as Lerner's libretto states, when Higgins says, "Where the devil are my slippers?" Eliza's reaction is "she understands." For me, that's intelligent writing and a great payoff to the greatest of musicals. The new ending comes off as organically ridiculous. (Is Eliza that petty and vindictive she'd follow him back just to do that after she gave him her exit in "Without You?" The whole thing smacks of the ultimate breaking of the fourth wall to pander to select members of the audience.)

I for one reject the notion that those of us who don't applaud such revisions are perpetually locked in the past and are not being "relevant."
 

Keith Cobby

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I don't object to remakes unless the original films have definitive leading roles. So for me Fiddler on the Roof (Topol) and The Sound of Music (Andrews) can't be bettered whereas the leading performers of West Side Story and My Fair Lady can be (also dislike the ending of MFL).
 
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Garysb

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If you think about it, why would Eliza love Higgins other than it is the way Alan J Lerner wrote it based on the 1938 movie. One of the most telling lines in the original play and included in "My Fair Lady" was after Eliza walks out of Mrs. Higgin's home, Henry asks his mother "What am I to do" and she answers "Do without."
I saw the Lincoln Center production and I agree its odd for Eliza to come back to Higgin's home just to walkout again. Its essentially replaying the end of the previous scene at Mrs. Higgin's home when she walks out. The logical thing would be to end the musical where Shaw ended the play. That would require moving or removing "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face" That would require the permission of the Lerner and Lowe estates . There were no actual line changes in the Lincoln Center production. Or perhaps there were very few, I am no expert. Mostly the change was in stage directions. I assume they couldn't change the libretto.
 

Rob W

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I've seen Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady on 70mm film & blu-ray, and Hello Dolly! on film & stage ( with Walter Matthau & David Hyde Pierce.) I love both shows, but have never been 100% satisfied with either as I can never quite understand why anyone would fall in love with either Henry Higgins or Horace Vandergelder, aside from the plot requiring it.
 

Jack P

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There were people even in Shaw's day who thought "Pygmalion" should have ended with Higgins and Eliza together. Including the actor who originated the part of Higgins on stage Herbert Tree who kept changing the ending himself. In the interests of consistency I'll note that such conduct was improper then for "Pygmalion" as it is now for MFL. But I make the point to note that it wasn't simply Lerner's own instincts guiding him but a sentiment that had been underlying for quite some time (which was why even the 1938 film felt the need to give us the ending that Lerner felt he could build on).

I have thought about whether as filmed and performed by Audrey Hepburn (she deserved an Oscar nomination and they should have kept her vocals for "Loverly") can let one interpret feelings within Eliza for Higgins and after viewing the film again last year I do think there is room to interpret that.
 

KPmusmag

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At the performance I attended there was a gasp. I was completely surprised as was my wife. We thoroughly enjoyed this production. I'm afraid that the Lincoln Center productions of South Pacific, The King and I and MFL will never be duplicated.
Fortunately, those productions of South Pacific and K&I were recorded for PBS. Both videos rotate in and out of BroadwayHD.com (K&I is available right now). There is a fee for that site, but there is a free trial period, you just have to cancel before it expires. Both South Pacific and K&I are true to the original libretto and score, and beautifully staged and acted.
 

bujaki

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Theater to continue to function and stay relevant must change or it becomes a museum piece. I’m sure that the upcoming Spielberg WSS will be different from the 1961 version. I’m also sure that the just announced new film of Fiddler on the Roof will be different than the 1970 ish version. By the wAy if you love musical and did’t see the 3 productions I mentioned you really missed some exciting works. The King and I was breathtaking. Also, if you’ve ever seen Lauri Benati perform you know what a marvelous voice she has...
The incomparable Laura Benanti. I'm told that she's a wonderful mother and human being as well. Does she have to be perfect?
 

Paul Rossen

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I've seen Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady on 70mm film & blu-ray, and Hello Dolly! on film & stage ( with Walter Matthau & David Hyde Pierce.) I love both shows, but have never been 100% satisfied with either as I can never quite understand why anyone would fall in love with either Henry Higgins or Horace Vandergelder, aside from the plot requiring it.
Since both Julie Andrews and Audrey Hepburn supposedly loved working with sexy Rexy I gather he was easy to fall in love with... Walter Matthew and Barbara Streisand are another story. MFL Higgins is too old for Eliza. Check. Movie Hello Dolly is completely miscast. So be it.

As a fan of the Broadway musical of the 50’ and 60’s I’m pleased to see folks having striong views in what they like or not.

One thing is clear is that for these shows to continue to successful the authors do have to change them etc. I was looking forward to Sondheim’s Company though I’ve seen many productions including the original. I’ve seen many productions of Gypsy including Ethan Merman’s original.
Each production and cast brings something to the plate.
 
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Rob W

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Since both Julie Andrews and Audrey Hepburn supposedly loved working with sexy Rexy I gather he was easy to fall in love with... Walter Matthew and Barbara Streisand are another story. MFL Higgins is too old for Eliza. Check. Movie Hello Dolly is completely miscast. So be it.
I thought I made it clear that I was referring to the characters of Henry Higgins and Horace Vandergelder, not the actors playing them.
 

Ken Koc

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My Fair Lady is based on Shaw's Pygmalion. The recent production honors the original play...

"At the end of the play, after an enormous battle of wills, Eliza decides to strike out on her own. “If I can't have kindness, I'll have independence,” she declares. Then, according to Shaw's final stage directions, Eliza "sweeps out."
 

Paul Rossen

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The incomparable Laura Benanti. I'm told that she's a wonderful mother and human being as well. Does she have to be perfect?

At the performance of MFL I attended ms Benanti stopped the show in its tracks for about 5 minutes after a cell phone went off in the audience. I had never encountered such an moment. She wasn’t acting and was clearly upset about the lack of courtesy etc at the end of her speaking she got back into character explaining that she really didn’t have a British accent.
 

KPmusmag

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At the performance of MFL I attended ms Benanti stopped the show in its tracks for about 5 minutes after a cell phone went off in the audience. I had never encountered such an moment. She wasn’t acting and was clearly upset about the lack of courtesy etc at the end of her speaking she got back into character explaining that she really didn’t have a British accent.
I was at the performance of "Shows for Days" when Patti Lupone snatched a cell phone from a woman's hand as Patti made her exit. The woman had been looking at her phone for a long while, and the screen was bright enough to illuminate the stage slightly during scene changes. So rude. This was at the smaller theater on the lower level of the Vivian Beamont building, the front row of the audience is almost on the stage. After the curtain call, an announcement came over the loudspeaker saying "You may retrieve your phone at the box office." We all laughed and some applauded.
 

DVBRD

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At the performance of MFL I attended ms Benanti stopped the show in its tracks for about 5 minutes after a cell phone went off in the audience. I had never encountered such an moment. She wasn’t acting and was clearly upset about the lack of courtesy etc at the end of her speaking she got back into character explaining that she really didn’t have a British accent.
She learned well from Patti LuPone.
 
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Jack P

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After seeing Betty Buckley at Paper Mill, no other production of "Gypsy" would ever measure up for me.
 

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