My Fair Lady | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

My Fair Lady, Drury Lane Oakbrook. "Those dear boys have lost their talent," declared Mary Martin after hearing the score of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's My Fair Lady. But the show went on to become the greatest Broadway hit of the 1950s. And audiences still delight in Loewe's lush, playful melodies, Lerner's witty lyrics, and the ingenious script that he adapted (with input from the musical's original director, Moss Hart, and star, Rex Harrison) from George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, about a phonetics teacher who transforms a flower girl into a well-spoken lady--and is shocked when she morphs into an irresistible independent woman.

This dutiful but tepid revival, directed by Ray Frewen with the help of Gary Griffin, communicates the work's enduring appeal. Frewen himself plays Henry Higgins--the misanthrope humanized by affection for his protege, Eliza--as a cozier curmudgeon than the complex character Shaw created but gives the production a solid core. Unfortunately, leading lady Cory Goodrich supplies a fine soprano voice but no spark of dramatic urgency. The supporting cast do well, however: Don Forston as Eliza's raffish father, Joe Lehman as her ardent young suitor, and Marilynn Bogetich as Higgins's droll, worldly-wise mother. The evening's best moments belong to the chorus, equally adept as Eliza's harmony-crooning cockney cronies and the snooty socialites whose rarefied world she eventually invades. Their lively singing almost compensates for the roller-rink quality of musical director Jeff Bell's synthesizer-heavy pit band.

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