by Donna Klein
Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of My Fair Lady
It’s an exciting time for the Rogers City (Michigan) Community Theatre (RCCT). I’ve been involved with RCCT for more nine years as an actor, director, and techie. The Lerner and Loewe musical, My Fair Lady came up every year as the group looked at the upcoming season’s programming. Unfortunately, the rights were not available – until this year! So, RCCT took advantage of the small window of opportunity and will present the play in May. The group is also excited to be working with Recollections for our costumes. How lucky we are to have them right here in our own backyard!
My Fair Lady is the musical adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s stage play, Pygmalion, which is an adaptation of the Greek myth of Pygmalion, who creates an ivory statue and falls in love with it. The play was first adapted for film in 1938, starring Leslie Howard (Ashley Wilkes in Gone with the Wind) and Wendy Hiller. However, it wasn’t until it made its debut on Broadway (with Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle) in 1956, that it became a part of the American fabric. It’s place in history was sealed with the release of the film version starring Rex Harrison as Professor Henry Higgins and Audrey Hepburn as Eliza in 1964.
Everyone has a favorite song or scene from this iconic musical. What is yours? I love Eliza as the flower girl singing ‘Wouldn’t it be Loverly.’ The green jumper she wears when singing ‘The Rain in Spain’ has always been one of my favorite costumes from the movie. That’s probably because I can see myself wearing it! When Eliza is presented at Court, she is absolutely stunning in that white gown that draped in all the right places over her slim silhouette. But, my absolute favorite scene is the race as Ascot. That stunning black on white gown with that glorious hat has stood the test of time for more than 50 years. Once you see it, you never forget it!
The wonderful costumes that Ms. Hepburn wore were designed by Cecil Beaton. In addition to being an outstanding costume designer, Cecil Beaton was known as an extraordinary photographer who is remembered for his striking portraits of celebrities. He was also famous as a set designer, too.
Watch a snippet of the movie featuring ‘The Rain is Spain’ and that wonderful green jumper