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Classic Broadway production thrills audiences
Last Updated: 2016-05-11 08:12 | China Daily
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The Broadway musical My Fair Lady is touring the mainland as a celebration of its 60th anniversary.[Photo provided to China Daily]

The Broadway musicalMy Fair Ladyhas made its debut on the Chinese mainland as it celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.

The musical was first performed in Shanghai from April 29 to May 5, and will tour other cities, including Xiamen of Fujian province, Zhuhai and Guangzhou of Guangdong province, Chengdu of Sichuan province, Chongqing and Beijing, where it will be staged from June 9 to 19.

The eight performances of the show in Shanghai, which drew more than 10,000 people, impressed the audiences with its energetic cast, sets and timeless music.

The director, Jeffrey B. Moss, says that the experience so far has been overwhelming both for him and the cast.

Speaking of the audience response, Moss, who has been to China with smaller productions, says: "They have been so captivated by the show that they have been laughing and applauding all the way through. Sometimes they laugh in places we have not heard before. They give the company a wonderful ovation at the curtain-call bows."

The show, which first opened on March 15, 1956, at Broadway's Mark Hellinger Theater, is based on George Bernard Shaw's 1921 play, Pygmalion.

The musical, with lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, tells the story of Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, who was transformed into an upper-class lady by linguistics professor Henry Higgins.

After its success onstage, My Fair Lady was adapted into a film, starring Audrey Hepburn as Doolittle, which won eight Oscars awards in 1965.

Moss says that although the musical is 60 years old, it presents new challenges each time it is produced.

"Its story and characters are so well written and defined that finding new 'life' for the characters and interesting ways to present the story is a great joy and challenge for a director. But the authors, including Shaw, have provided a great wealth of material to draw from," he says.

Songs written by the lyricist Lerner and composer Loewe in the musical, including The Rain in Spain, Wouldn't It Be Lovely and Get Me to the Church on Time, are clever, witty and very specific to each moment. The music is emotionally telling and fits each characters' needs, says Moss.

"The proof is that 60 years later, most of the world is still singing or recognizing these wonderful songs," he adds.

In the latest version of the musical, Sarah Cetrulo makes her international debut by starring as Doolittle. The linguistics professor Higgins is played by Chris Carsten.

The director believes that the musical's longevity also lies in its story, which could happen in real life, especially today, as more and more women, like Doolittle, look to improve themselves and move to better places in their lives.

"Each audience member can find their own message in this story. But I hope, at least, to present the story in an entertaining way, so that the tale of a smart young woman who tries to improve her situation in life can clearly be seen and enjoyed by all," says Moss.

If you go

2:30 pm, June 9 and 18. 7:30 pm, from June 9-19.

Tianqiao Performing Arts Center, 9 Tianqiao Nandajie (South street), Xicheng district.

400-615-5111.

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