Theatre is back and I couldn’t be happier about it! The vaccinated can now attend BroadwaySF and they’ve got a great lineup of shows heading our way. To kickoff my personal return to the theatre I was provided complimentary tickets to write about the latest show to hit the stage at the Orpheum. My Fair Lady comes to BroadwaySF with an empowering twist you can’t miss!
Amongst the things I missed in 2020 was musical theatre and Broadway. Thursday night was my first night back at the Orpheum Theatre, for opening night of My Fair Lady, starring Shereen Ahmed as Eliza Doolittle and Laird Mackintosh as Henry Higgins.
I first saw My Fair Lady when I was in the 7th grade, with my mom. This was my first experience with Broadway musicals and I fell in love. I watched the movie starring Audrey Hepburn when I was in college, but hadn’t seen My Fair Lady since. I’d forgotten how many well known songs come from this show and I must say I’ve been singing them nonstop since the show.
In case you need a refresher on the story:
Boasting such classic songs as “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “The Rain in Spain,” “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” and “On the Street Where You Live,” MY FAIR LADY tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a young Cockney flower seller, and Henry Higgins, a linguistics professor who is determined to transform her into his idea of a “proper lady.” But who is really being transformed?
The revival has the same songs and a similar story, but with some much needed modern updates. The most fun scene was when Eliza’s dad is singing, “Get me to the Church on Time.” Bring out the drag queens, y’all!!! Talk about an absolute riot! We were laughing and grinning through the whole song. That’s not the only thing that was updated though.
In the original Shaw version of the show, Eliza spends her time taking insults off of Henry Higgins and also as the one making all the changes. It’s a Cinderella story of sorts, but in today’s age, women are being more empowered to stand up for who they are and most of all, not to accept less than they deserve. Bedlam’s version shows a much stronger Eliza who doesn’t go crawling back to Higgins just because he can’t live without her. After all, he’s not willing to change or to even express his love for her. Many feel unsettled by the way the show ends because we all want our happy romantic ending, but Shaw gives us a different ending with Eliza walking off on her own. Eliza has improved herself and can take her ambitions to new heights, with or without a man should she choose to. I’d love to hear your take on the new ending once you see it.
My Fair Lady is a must-see in San Francisco. The costumes are outstanding, the vocals and acting are incredible and you’re in for a lot of laughs along the way. Catch the show by November 28th at the Orpheum.