My Fair Lady: In Concert
Join us for a jaunt through one of America’s favorite musicals: My Fair Lady! In association with Chaplin Entertainment, UIA Presents you with the elegance and enchantment of this classic romantic story, performed live with a lush symphonic score, celebrity talent, and all the best show-stopping My Fair Lady moments. This season, My Fair Lady: In Concert was seen with The North Carolina Symphony and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and starred Primetime Emmy Award winner Peter Scolari (Girls, Newhart, Polar Express), Elena Shaddow (The Visit, Bridges of Madison County, The Sound of Music Live!/NBC), and many more exciting Broadway and concert stars!
“Just like an experience at the Ascot Opening Day, “My Fair Lady” in concert ’twas a thrilling, absolutely chilling night at the theater. It’s safe to say that I could have stayed all night and still have begged for more.” – On Milwaukee
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Photo Credit: Jonathan Kirn
By Caitlin Elftman, Arts and Entertainment Contributor
If all you want this weekend is a room somewhere far away from the cold night air, that room should without a doubt be Uihlein Hall, as the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra presents the beloved musical, “My Fair Lady.” But seeing this performance shouldn’t merely be an escape from the nasty February snowstorms and cold. It really is a loverly nightout on the town.
As you may have guessed from the fact that this is a Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra presentation, “My Fair Lady” is a concert version of the Broadway musical countless fans know and love. Although the set and most scenes of dialogue are eliminated in this production, don’t worry. Under the masterful direction of conductor Yaniv Dinur, the lush score and the exceptional vocals become even more apparent in this concert setting, almost as if you’re hearing the gorgeous melodies for the first time. Based on the George Bernard Shaw’s masterpiece “Pygmalion,” “My Fair Lady” is a tale as old as time: unrefined girl (Eliza Doolittle) meets polished man (Professor Henry Higgins), polished man makes cruel bet to turn unrefined girl into a lady, girl becomes lady, complications and a little romance ensue. Basically, it’s Cinderella, but with show tunes. Really good show tunes. If this plot sounds familiar to you, you aren’t wrong. Everything from 1958’s Academy Award winning “Gigi” to 1998’s teen romance “She’s All That” (a very big deal for me in my tween years) checks these plot boxes. I’m not complaining –it’s a story formula that’s universally appealing. After all, it’s true what they say: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But I would argue that no one tells this story of boy unconventionally meets girl quite as beautifully as Lerner and Loewe, the minds behind “My Fair Lady.” And few companies play their elegant, romantic score as gracefully as our very own Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
Of course, no matter how you are seeing a production of “My Fair Lady,” its success and failure all lies on the shoulders of its Eliza Doolittle. Eliza must be a combination of pliable and self-assured,sympathetic and relatable, despite her ridiculous cockney accent (at least for the first half of the story). Keep in mind that this is the musical that first made Julie Andrews, the original Eliza onstage, a household name. And, of course, it’s a role that further immortalized Audrey Hepburn as the screen legend she is today. Long story short: Talk about pressure for whoever plays this role. Fortunately, this pressure is something Elena Shaddow effortlessly handles. She is a beautiful vocalist, a spirited performer and a true pleasure to watch. “I Could Have Danced All Night” and “Show Me” particularly stood out as gripping, absolutely ripping performances. Confession: “I Could Have Danced All Night” is one of my go-to shower songs (on a good morning, I can squeak out the concluding high notes) but Shaddow’s effortless, dazzling belt puts my shampoo-filled rendition to shame. Hearing her near-perfect version truly did inspire me … to retire my pathetic version.
Equally striking and swoon-worthy is Charlie Tingen’s interpretation of besotted Freddie Enynsford-Hill, a dashing (and more age-appropriate) love interest for Eliza. His rendition of “On the Street Where You Live,” to quote the beautiful song, “completely doneme in.” Let’s just say if I was Eliza, I would have happily run out into that street and jumped into his arms. In all honesty, I really couldn’t find one flaw in the evening. Even Peter Scolari’s Professor Henry Higgins, a character I personally have mixed feelings about (after all, he sings about his fears of letting a woman in his life for a good five minutes), managed to give an impressive performance that was arrogant without being unsympathetic. It was a pleasure to see a visible transformation in him during the show’s final number, “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,” as he finally accepts that he loves Eliza. (“I think he’s got it! I think he’s got it!”)
Just like an experience at the Ascot Opening Day, “My Fair Lady” in concert ’twas a thrilling, absolutely chilling night at the theater. It’s safe to say that I could have stayed all night and still have begged for more.
On Milwaukee – Feb 2018
Emmy Award winner Peter Scolari is best known for his roles as Henry Desmond in ABC’s Bosom Buddies and Michael Harris in CBS’ Newhart in which he received three Emmy nominations. Most recently, his recurring role as Tad Horvath in the HBO series Girls won him the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series. He has also appeared on Broadway in Wicked, Hairspray and Lucky Guy; which reunited him with his Bosom Buddies co-star, Tom Hanks.
Broadway star Elena Shaddow‘s credits include The Visit, Les Miserables, Sweet Smell of Success, Fiddler on the Roof, La Cage aux Folles, Nine and The Woman in White. She has performed twice at the Tony Awards, on The Today Show, and on The Rosie O’Donnell Show. She can be heard on the original cast recording of Sweet Smell of Success among others and has been nominated twice for a Helen Hayes Award for Best Actress. She starred in the world premiere of Jason Robert Brown’s new musical, The Bridges of Madison County, alongside Steven Pasquale at Williamstown Theatre Festival, and next will be joining the National Tour of The King and I as Anna.
ALFRED P. DOOLITTLE
CHARLES EDWARD HALL
Charles Edward Hall has been renowned for his iconic role as Santa Claus in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular which he has played for over 30 years and is a member of the Santa Claus Hall of Fame, culminating in the release of his book Santa Claus is For Real! In addition, he created the role of the Wicked Witch in the Broadway production of Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and appeared in Barnum with Jim Dale and Glenn Close, as well as Pippin with Ben Vereen. He has portrayed Scrooge at Radio City Music Hall and recently Ben Franklin in the new movie LIBERTY 360 in Philadelphia.
Charlie Tingen recently made his Off-Broadway debut as Thomas in Whiskey Pants: The Mayor of Williamsburg, a new contemporary operetta, hailed by the New York critics as “a cross between Mad Max and Hamilton“. For his NYC debut, he originated the role of John Wilkes Booth in Gaybraham Lincoln: The Musical and was awarded “Best Actor in a Musical” at Thespis Theatre Festival. He has performed as the “Springtime for Hitler” Tenor in The Producers National Tour; Enjolras in Les Miserables at New Huntington Theatre, Tony in West Side Story and Padre in Man of La Mancha at Bigfork Summer Playhouse; and Young Scrooge in A Christmas Carol: The Musical in Arizona Broadway Theater.
Michele McConnell is a Broadway legend, recently completing a 7-1/2 year run in the Broadway cast of The Phantom of the Opera, performing in the starring role of Carlotta for a record breaking 6 years. With over 2200 performances as Carlotta, she holds the Broadway record for performances of this role! She was privileged to perform as Carlotta in both the 10,000th Broadway performance and the 25th Anniversary performance of Phantom. Other credits include the National Tour of Camelot, NYGASP at City Center among many others and can be heard on the original Broadway cast recording of Anna Karenina.
With an active career in both opera and musical theatre, baritone Curt Olds is best known for his portrayal of the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance and his signature role as Ko-Ko in The Mikado, for which he has some 21 productions to his credit. Recent credits include; Harold Hill in The Music Man; Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls; Will Parker in Oklahoma!; Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady; and Voltaire/Pangloss in Candide. Other credits include Monsieur Baurel in the workshop of An American in Paris directed by Tony Award winner Christopher Wheeldon; Gus in the Original German Company of Cats; Mr. Lindquist in A Little Night Music North Shore Theatre; Bob Wallace in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas at Theatre on the Square; and spent two years in the Broadway company of Riverdance.