Theater Review: “My Fair Lady”


  • The Kaufman Center for the Performing Arts
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • February 7, 2023
My first musical was “A Chorus Line,” in 1980, which I saw here in Kansas City with a then unknown Bebe Neuwirth as Cassie.  My first musical on Broadway was “42nd St.”  In the four plus decades since I’ve done my best to see what could be called THE CLASSICS.  My bucket list includes such critically acclaimed shows as “The Music Man” and “West Side Story.”  I love the music.  I love the films.  I’ve just never had the opportunity to see them live.  I was able to cross a major show off my list this week when I caught an outstanding production of “My Fair Lady.”
For those who may be unaware of the story, it centers around Eliza Doolittle (Madeline Powell), a brassy flower “merchant” whose loud and abrasive accent annoys the ears of Professor Henry Higgins (Jonathan Grunert), who claims that he can take a common guttersnipe and present her to royalty in six months.  Soon Eliza is spending all of her time working on her vowels and pronunciation.  The classes are interrupted by some of the greatest songs in musical theater history, and this is where the show shines.  Such classics as “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “Get Me to the Church on Time” and “On the Street Where You Live” are performed by a top-notch cast of performers.  The two leads are well supported by an ensemble cast whose enthusiasm radiates from the stage.
Ms. Powell is both annoyingly brash and quietly shy as Eliza while Mr. Grunert is both pompous and assured.  They compliment each other well and keep a show that, with intermission, runs almost three hours, moving along.  Standouts in the supporting cast include John Adkison as Colonel Pickering, Nathan Haltiwanger as the love-sick Freddy and the true audience favorite, Michael Hegarty as Eliza’s father, Alf.    The show has a cast of (28) and each and every one of them help bring the show to life.
The sets are beautifully designed and, as mention above, the music is amazing, brilliantly performed by a top notch orchestra, which plays so beautifully you may find yourself singling along (I know I did.)
“My Fair Lady” runs in Kansas City through Sunday, February 12th.  For tickets at this stop or later on the tour, click HERE.  

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