A host of West End Stars will gather at the iconic St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, the location of Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins’ memorable first encounter, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the original Broadway production of one of the greatest musicals ever written, My Fair Lady.
Directed by Alastair Knights (Putting It Together at St James Theatre; Kings of Broadway at the Palace Theatre) with musical direction by Alex Parker (Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre; Kings of Broadway), the performance on Sunday 19 June will include rare material cut from the original 1956 production including two new songs – ‘Come to the Ball’ and ‘Say a Prayer For Me Tonight’.
The evening will also include classic scenes from My Fair Lady, its source material Pygmalion and excerpts from Alan Jay Lerner’s autobiography The Street Where I Live. Accompanied by an 18-piece orchestra, the concert will feature many of the much-loved songs of Lerner and Loewe’s timeless score including ‘Wouldn’t It Be Loverly’, ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’ and ‘On the Street Where You Live’.
The role of Eliza Doolittle will be performed by multiple West End leading ladies including Gina Beck (Show Boat at the New London Theatre, Wicked at the Apollo Victoria); Alexia Khadime (The Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales Theatre); Amy Lennox (Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre); Eva Noblezada (Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre); Laura Pitt-Pulford (Seven Brides For Seven Brothers at the Open Air Theatre) and Kara Tointon (Mr Selfridge; The Sound of Music Live, both on ITV).
The concert will also feature Anthony Andrews (My Fair Lady at the Drury Lane, TV’s Brideshead Revised) as Henry Higgins and comedian Frank Skinner as Alfred P. Doolittle. The widow of playwright and lyricist, Alan Jay Lerner, and star of the 1979 London production, Liz Robertson will narrate. More casting to be announced soon.
“I’m supporting this event because on a selfish level I realise it’s probably my only chance to play Doolittle, and on a less selfish level I’m happy to support any church that isn’t being turned into luxury flats or a gymnasium,” said Frank Skinner.
Liz Robertson commented: “My Fair Lady is possibly the most popular musical ever written and, as the meeting of Eliza and Higgins happens on the steps of St Paul’s Covent Garden, it is entirely appropriate that this gala to celebrate the 60th anniversary is to be held in that very church. Alan spent many a cold night wandering around Covent Garden market listening to the traders, mesmerised by the use of Cockney rhyming slang. This gala will be, in his words, absobloominlutely, loverly. All monies raised will be going towards the best of causes, the upkeep of St Paul’s Church.”
Reverend Simon Grigg, rector of St. Paul’s Church, said: “When I realised that 2016 was the 60th anniversary of the show, I immediately wanted to celebrate this landmark moment in the life of one of the greatest musicals ever written. So, Liz Robertson and I hatched the idea of this gala concert, and I’m just so grateful to Sir Cameron Mackintosh, and everyone in the profession, for their enthusiastic support for what promises to be a great night in the life of the Actors’ Church.”
The evening is generously supported by Cameron Mackintosh and produced by ebp. All proceeds from this charity gala will go towards the restoration of St. Paul’s Church and to improve disabled access.
To celebrate 60 years since the first Broadway performance in 1956, tickets are on sale from £19.56 and details can be found at www.myfairlady60.co.uk. Premium tickets are available at £80, which includes an exclusive champagne reception and a special surprise performance.