David Grindley (Journey's End) directs the show, which began performances Sept. 2 at the American Airlines Theatre for a limited engagement through Dec. 16.
Well-known as the inspiration for the Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe musical My Fair Lady, the Shaw drama is based on the classical myth of the same name. "When Professor Henry Higgins (Mays) comes across a poor and uneducated Cockney girl named Eliza Doolittle (Danes), Higgins makes a bet that he can take Eliza from the gutters of London and pass her off as a society lady, by simply teaching her the right dialect in which to speak," according to press notes.
Joining Danes and Mays — who take on the roles of Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins — are Tony Award winner Boyd Gaines (as Colonel Pickering) and Jay O. Sanders (Alfred Doolittle). The ensemble also features Helen Carey (Mrs. Higgins), Brenda Wehle (Mrs. Pearce), Kerry Bishé (Clara Eynsford Hill), Kieran Campion (Freddy Eynsford Hill), Sandra Shipley (Mrs. Eynsford Hill), Jonathan Fielding (Bystander), Robin Moseley (Bystander) and Karen Walsh (Parlour Maid).
Both Danes and Mays recently told Playbill.com they have never seen My Fair Lady, which is based on Shaw's Pygmalion. "We're the only two people on the planet, I think, [who haven't]," said Danes. Mays also said he hopes audiences won't come to this new staging of Pygmalion with expectations. "The play is so different from both the movie and the musical," he said. "I'd love for them to come to the piece fresh." (For more from the stars, visit Playbill.com's In Awe of Shaw feature.)
The design team for Pygmalion includes Jonathan Fensom (sets and costumes), Jason Taylor (lights) and Gregory Clarke (sound). Majella Hurley serves as dialect coach. Danes is known for her screen work in "William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet," "Stage Beauty," "Little Women," "Les Misérables" and the television series "My So Called Life." In recent years, though, she has appeared at P.S. 122 in the dance pieces Edith & Jenny and Christina Olson: American Model as well as in Off-Broadway's The Vagina Monologues.
Mays earned the Tony Award for his turn in Doug Wright's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama I Am My Own Wife. He recently appeared in Broadway's revival of Journey's End and the New York City Center Encores! staging of Of Thee I Sing. The actor has also been seen in Moe's Lucky Seven, Lydie Breeze and Quills and regionally in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, Misalliance, The Importance Of Being Earnest, The Cherry Orchard and more.
Roundabout continues its association with the works of Shaw following last season's Heartbreak House. Previous Shaw productions also include Major Barbara (2000-2001), Arms and the Man (1999-2000), You Never Can Tell (1997 1998) and Misalliance (1996-1997).
Pygmalion first hit the Broadway stage in 1914 at the Park Theatre and has been revived on Broadway four times since. The most recent (in 1987) starred Peter O'Toole as Higgins and Amanda Plummer as Doolittle.
Tickets to Pygmalion at the American Airlines Theatre, 227 West 42nd Street, are on sale by calling Roundabout Ticket Services at (212) 719-1300. For more information visit roundabouttheatre.org.