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.
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
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.)
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.