Cameron Mackintosh’s My Fair Lady Gearing Up for U.K. Tour and American Opening

News   Cameron Mackintosh’s My Fair Lady Gearing Up for U.K. Tour and American Opening
As long rumored, the National Theatre/Cameron Mackintosh production of My Fair Lady is set to return in a U.K. tour.

The show opened at the NT in 2001, before notching up two years at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

Publicity surrounding the show initially focussed on the controversial casting of its star — pop singer and TV actress Martine McCutcheon (who later went on to star in the film “Love, Actually”) — a controversy which intensified when she missed many performances, the reason given being health problems. Jonathan Pryce was her Higgins. Subsequent casts included Alex Jennings, Joanna Riding, Anthony Andrews and Laura Michelle Kelly. The production also launched the career of McCutcheon’s understudy, Alexandra Jay. McCutcheon, Jennings and Riding all won Olivier Awards. In all, this staging of Lerner and Loewe’s classic won five Oliviers.

The tour is scheduled to open on Oct. 5, 2005, at the Palace Theatre, Manchester (with previews beginning Sept. 28), before proceeding to Birmingham and ten further cities. An American opening is due in 2006, the year of My Fair Lady’s 50th anniversary.

The cast for the tour will include Christopher Cazenove as Higgins, Russ Abbot as Doolittle and Honor Blackman as Mrs. Higgins. Cazenove, a TV heartthrob in his “Dynasty” days, is a fairly regular theatre performer. His West End credits include, most recently, Brief Encounter opposite Jenny Seagrove. Abbot was, in the 1980’s, one of Britain’s most successful comedians with long-running popular TV shows including “Russ Abbot’s Madhouse.” He has since devoted more time to West End shows, including Fagin in Mackintosh’s production of Oliver! and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, both at the London Palladium. He also played Doolittle in My Fair Lady at Drury Lane.

Honor Blackman became famous for her work in two spy dramas — the long running series “The Avengers” and as Pussy Galore in the James Bond thriller “Goldfinger.” No word yet on the casting of Eliza. Trevor Nunn directs. Choreography is by Matthew Bourne. Designs for the staging are by Anthony Ward. The tour is co-produced by Clear Channel Entertainment.

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