Album Review: My Fair Lady (2018 Broadway Cast Recording)

I succumb to the charms of My Fair Lady once again with this 2018 Broadway Cast Recording

“I’ll be off a second later and go straight to the theatre”

I wasn’t expecting to like this 2018 Broadway Cast Recording of My Fair Lady half as much as I did. Rumblings of discontent about Lauren Ambrose’s casting as Eliza stuck in my mind, as did the unlikeliness of Harry Hadden-Paton being her Henry Higgins, and who wants American versions of English accents? (I’m sure they feel the same!)

But there’s something rather delicious about this recording that makes it really shine. It helps of course to have a score and lyrics as gloriously evergreen as Lerner and Loewe’s, MD Ted Sperling’s treatment of the original orchestrations making them feel as fresh as a cockney sparrer, and his orchestra sound like a dream. – you really could listen to them all night. 

And perhaps unsurprisingly, Bartlett Sher’s production is cast more wisely than one might have expected. Ambrose and Hadden-Paton are much closer in age than many a previous pairing and so that lends a different, more piquant tinge to their burgeoning relationship. And both can sing. He has a wonderfully light musicality that makes his version of this character more charming than controlling.

Ambrose doesn’t quite have the same natural flow, there are moments when the diction feels forced though given the leaps this character has to make that’s no great shock. There’s a sweetness to her though that is hard to resist, particularly in a gorgeous string-drenched take on ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’ And Norbert Leo Butz and Jordan Donnica both also stand out as their respective cheeky chappies (Alfred Doolittle and Freddie). Will this follow The King and I back into the West End? I wouldn’t bet against it on this evidence. 

Photo: Joan Marcus

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