November 17, 2022


 I saw "My Fair Lady" Tuesday, opening night of its two-week Denver run at the Buell Theatre. It had been scheduled to pass through Denver in 2020 ... but then COVID hit.


I noticed it morphed into a non-Equity production in the post-COVID tour. I don't pretend to understand all the ins and outs of that. In New York, the Lincoln Center Theater Production ran at the Vivian Beaumont Theater from April 2018 to July 2019. 


In this incarnation, Madeline Powell wins over the audience as Eliza, and she's only a year out of Oklahoma City U. It's a tough role; she's more than up to it.

As Henry Higgins, Jonathan Grunert is strong. Close your eyes and you think it's Rex Harrison, or at least an adept imitation, and that's not a bad thing.

Unsophisticated notes:

1, The Cockney accents are so thick in places, I didn't understand what they were saying. That's on me, unless it's excessive caricature.  (I'm not an expert on Cockney.) I'll concede others laughed at lines I couldn't decipher.
2, It's a terrific show, but it's long -- nearly three hours. There are places -- particularly a long Eliza-Henry exchange -- where you might catch yourself saying, "Can't we get to another song?" But you'll be humming as you're on the way home. It's not "Les Miz," which even its longest original form never seemed to be testing your patience. This does. (During its Broadway run, "Les Miz" was cut to get it under three hours and get union-related costs down, enabling it to stay open in its original run longer than it otherwise would have.) Now go ahead and tell me I probably haven't ever seen "Pygmalion," didn't like "Sunday in the Park with George" and have "Memphis" among my top five stage musicals. (I haven't. I didn't. And I do.)

3, I'm mostly open-minded about non-Equity. But I do wonder how to justify ticket prices of non-Equity touring productions that essentially are the same as for the Equity shows passing through. I also wish all involved -- including the DCPA -- would be more open about whether this is or isn't an Equity tour. That said, the "Rent" 20th anniversary tour, starring Lyndie Moe (Doug's granddaughter) as Maureen for several years, was a blast. Lyndie's going to be a star. The non-Equity touring production of "Tootsie" here recently was well-done and Drew Becker in the title role did a terrific job. (Unlike the great Dustin Hoffman, he had to sing -- both as a man and a woman.) The tour schedules for non-Equity productions can be eye-catching, with one-nighters mixed in with longer runs. The 20th anniversary Rent tour came through Denver multiple times and then later did consecutive one-night stands in Hays, Kansas; Greeley and Cheyenne. Perhaps Equity production tours might have similar challenges, too. But when you're in the audience, you tend not to care about any other performance. Just the one you're seeing.

By the way, the rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain.

Info, including cast bios and tour schedule:






Bob Bell's Mile Hi Property 


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(303) 741-9245


Big Bill's Big Heart


JoAnn B. Ficke Cancer Foundation 



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