Bette Davis is back for another bow

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When I was a youngster, I would often hear my parents mention their favorite movie star, Bette Davis.  Decades later, I gravitated toward old films and I, too, became a huge Davis fan.

Jessica Sherr does 'Bette Davis Ain't for Sissies' at the Athenaeum Theatre. Photo courtesy of Jessica Sherr
Jessica Sherr does ‘Bette Davis Ain’t for Sissies’ at the Athenaeum Theatre. Photo courtesy of Jessica Sherr

As I watched ‘Dark Victory, ‘Now, Voyager,’ and her many other movies—some of them numerous times—I found myself reciting a few of her lines along with her. I thought I knew almost everything about Ms. Davis until I recently saw the captivating play ‘Bette Davis Ain’t for Sissies’ currently at The Athenaeum Theatre.

The one-woman show, written and performed by Jessica Sherr, is a fascinating look at Davis’s life and career. It only took a few seconds to actually feel that the actress and playwright on stage was the real Bette Davis.

Jessica Sherr not only resembles the actress in her early thirties but her voice, expressive eyes and mannerisms emulate Davis.  And the one-act play’s staging and set design are such that allow Sherr to change costumes while she continues talking to the audience, never missing a beat.

Often in just a sentence or two, Sherr takes the audience through various stages of Davis’s life, beginning with her relationship with her parents, especially her mother whom Bette called “Ruth” after her father left them when she was ten years old.

Sherr then touches on Davis’ career beginning when on stage in New York.  Not being a blonde and no taller than five-foot three, she fondly reminisces about her earlier years by commenting, “They don’t care what you look like!”

Invited by an agent who saw Davis on stage, she left New York and traveled to Hollywood to begin life as a movie star. Even though she became known as a Hollywood “hometown girl,” she still missed New York and has said, “I hate California—it’s so damn sunny it makes me sick!”

This show is for anyone who wants a closer look at Bette Davis – the ten-time Academy Award nominee and two-time Academy Award Best Actress winner for her roles in ‘Dangerous’ and ‘Jezebel.’

Along with a closer view of her career, you’ll learn about Davis’s marriages, her relationships, her Hollywood friends, the others she avoided and how she stood up for what she wanted, plus how it eventually turned out.  And there’ll be many laughs along the way.

Details: ‘Bette Davis Ain’t for Sissies” is at the Athenaeum Theatre,  2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. A last minute extension now continues the show through July 9, 2017. For tickets more information visit AthenaeumTheatre  or call 773-935-6875.

-Francine Pappadis Friedman

Familiar Chicago figure Laurie Metcalf wins Best Actress Tony

When the list of nominees for 2017 Best Leading Actress in a Play were read at the Tony Awards Sunday, June 11, Laurie Metcalf’s name would have sounded familiar to many Chicago theater-goers.

Steppenwolf ensemble member Laurie Metcalf in "Glass Menagerie" Steppenwolf photo
Steppenwolf ensemble member Laurie Metcalf in “Glass Menagerie” Steppenwolf photo

They also could have predicted she would win even though the field was extraordinary. The other nominees were  Cate Blanchett, “The Present,” Jennifer Ehle, “Oslo,” Sally Field, “The Glass Menagerie” and Laura Linney for “The Little Foxes.”

Metcalf was nominated for her outstanding performance in Lucas Hnath’s “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” a sequel to the Ibsen’s classic directed by Sam Gold.

But  Chicagoans who have been following Metcalf’s career with Steppenwolf Theatre likely know she was an original  ensemble member of the world-renown company.

They may remember that she was in the company’s critically acclaimed “Balm in Gilead” production in 1984 that won her the 1984 Obie for Best Actress.

However, even though she has been in more than 40 Steppenwolf productions, Metcalf is not just a familiar Chicago figure.

She received Tony nominations for “Misery, “November” and “The Other Place” and starred in the Steppenwolf production of “Domesticated” at the Lincoln Center Theater in 2014.

Her name would also have been familiar to TV and film watchers. Among other shows, Metcalf was in “Rosanne,” “Desperate Housewives,” 3rd Rock From the Sun,” “Desperately Seeking Susan,” “Toy Story” and “JFK.”

“We are incredibly proud of fellow ensemble member Laurie Metcalf on her much deserved Tony win.,” said Steppenwolf Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro. “She’s helped define the reputation and style that Steppenwolf is known for through her iconic performances and has become a legend in American Theatre.”

Shapiro added, “ She is riveting in every role she takes on, and it is such a pleasure to be able to celebrate her work with this Tony,”

For more about Steppenwolf, visit steppenwolf.org

 

Around Town this week in June

The sounds of the Blues will be wailing on State Street and in Millennium Park. On Clark Street magicians astound in Uptown. And the Chicago theatre community understands when a one-man show has to cancel.

 

Muddy Waters Mural

Muddy Waters Mural dedication is June 8, 2017. It's a good start to the Chicago Blues Festival. City of Chicago photo
Muddy Waters Mural dedication is June 8, 2017. It’s a good start to the Chicago Blues Festival. City of Chicago photo

 Stop by the west side of State Street between Randolph and Washington Streets noon Thursday, June 8, 2017 to hear about Muddy Waters and hear some fine blues.

The event dedicates the nine-story mural of blues legend Muddy Waters across the way at 17 N. State St.  He brought the Delta blues to Chicago where he turned it into his own Urban Blues sound that has influenced generations of musicians.

Along with some folks from the Department of Cultural Affairs and mural artist Eduardo Kobra,  Muddy Waters’ daughter, Mercy Morganfield, will be there plus the Muddy Waters legacy Band of Mud and Big Bill Morganfield.

Also on hand will be Chicago Blues Festival headliners Billy Branch and Che “Rhymefet” Smith. (See Blues Festival here).

A pop-up shop will sell limited poster editions and other merchandise to benefit the Muddy Waters Foundation.

 

Chicago Blues Festival

Considered the largest free blues festival anywhere, the Chicago Blues Festival will take over Millennium Park with five stages 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., June 9-11, 2017. The venue is a change from Grant Park where the festival began in 1984.

On June 9  the festival stars Billy Branch & The Son of Blues with special guests Lurrie Bell, Freddie Dixon, J.W.S. Williams, Carlos Johnson, Carl Weathersby, Bill McFarland and Chicago Fire Horns plus Mae Koen & The Lights.

Millennium Park hosts the Blues Festival June 9-11, 2017. Pritzker Pavilion photo by Jodie Jacobs
Millennium Park hosts the Blues Festival June 9-11, 2017. Pritzker Pavilion photo by Jodie Jacobs

Headliners June 10 are William Bell, Theo Huff and the New Agenda Band and Nellie Tiger Travis. The festival closes June 11 with Gary Clark Jr., Rhiannon Giddens and Ronnie Baker Brooks.

The Chicago Blues Festival attracts about half a million music lovers. For more information visit chicagobluesfestival.

 

Chicago Magic Lounge

Old timers might recall Frank Everhart’s Magic Bar at the Ivanhoe or remember when Chicago had other magic show venues. But the fascination that magic holds is still alive. The Chicago Magic Lounge has stepped in to fill the void.

Open now with shows every Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday night, the place is Uptown Underground at 4707 N. Broadway, Chicago.  Go Wednesday for the Mind Reading Show or Thursday or Saturday for close up magic and stage performances.

Admission is age 21 plus however age 16 will be admitted with guardian. For more information call (773-867-1946 and visit Chicago Magic Lounge.

 

Pamplona Update

Goodman Theatre plans to reschedule ‘Pamplona’ by Jim McGrath, according to a recently released statement.  A one-man show about Ernest Hemingway’s final years, ‘Pamplona’ was starring long-time stage and screen actor Stacy Keach. However, after a successful week of previews, the opening night performance stopped more than half-way through when Keach became ill.

Goodman spokespeople said medical testing showed that Keach had suffered a mild heart attack and that doctors expected him to fully recover after rehabilitation and rest.

Artistic Director Robert Falls said in the statement: “On behalf of Stacy Keach, his family and the Goodman, we would like to extend our gratitude for all of the generous support and concern shown to Stacy this past week. I remain awed by Stacy’s courage and strength after experiencing such a disturbing event; his spirits are high and he is resting and recovering comfortably. Jim, Stacy and I look forward to continuing our collaboration on ‘Pamplona.’’

People who already have tickets have a choice of a full refund or tickets to Eugene O’Neill’s ‘Ah Wilderness’ which runs June 17 through July 23, 2017. They will be contacted by ticket representatives and can call (312) 443-3800.

 

‘Parade,’ a powerful story of injustice relevant today

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

The Writers Theatre production of ‘Parade, a powerful, Tony Award-winning musical about the wrongful conviction and death of a Jewish factory manager, is so well acted and sung that many audience members seemed to have bought the false witnesses’ stories.

Patrick Andres and Brianna Borger in 'Parade' at writers theatre. Photo by Michael Brosilow
Patrick Andres and Brianna Borger in ‘Parade’ at Writers Theatre. Photo by Michael Brosilow

They must have believed the manager was guilty because there were gasps from the show’s opening night audience when in the second act the stories turned out to be no more than lies coached by a prosecutor with an eye on the governorship.

The story is a true tale of how Leo Frank, a Brooklyn Jew, is deliberately convicted and killed for the rape and death of a young Atlanta, GA factory girl in 1913.

Although married to a lass Georgia born and bred, Frank was a Yankee and a Jew. He appeared cold and unfriendly and didn’t appreciate his wife in the beginning.

 

Continue reading “‘Parade,’ a powerful story of injustice relevant today”

‘Ragtime’ still a social issues reminder

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

There is nothing ragged about this Griffin Theatre version of Tony Award-winning ‘RAGTIME.’

Katherine Thomas , center with cast of 'Ragtime.' Photo by Michael Brosilow
Katherine Thomas , center with cast of ‘Ragtime.’ Photo by Michael Brosilow

Re-imagined by Director Scott Weinstein, the 1996 musical with book by Terrence McNally, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty, has new orchestrations by Matt Deitchman and is perfectly scaled to the intimate Den Theatre stage.

A tight ensemble follows the adventures of three groups of individuals from various cultural and socio-economic strata at the turn of the 20th century by using the new music of the era – Ragtime. It has become the soundtrack of the age.

The new sound’s syncopation punctuates the changing rhythms of the increasingly fast-paced times that introduced industrialization along with such social challenges that defined pre-WWI America as European immigration, urban racial integration, unionization and women’s independence.

Taken from E.L. Doctorow’s novel, the musical throws together African American domestic worker Sarah (Katherine Thomas), her baby and the baby’s piano playing daddy, “Coalhouse Walker Jr. (Denzel Tsopnang), into the household of an upper middle class, white suburban (New Rochelle) family

“Father” (Scott Allen Luke) is a fireworks manufacturer and part-time world explorer who leaves his wife to manage the business. In the process she finds opportunities to explore her own independence.

This brings “Mother” (Laura McLain) into contact with “Teteh,” a recent Jewish immigrant (enthusiastically played by Jason Richards), and his pre-teen daughter (Autumn Hilava) who recently arrived in New York seeking the American dream.

“Little Boy” (Ben Miller) opens the play by introducing the characters to the title tune “Ragtime.” “The Little Boy” weaves among the characters throughout the rest of the production and is on some level the thread that pulls them together and toward one another.

The “Family” household additionally includes “Grandfather” (Larry Baldacci who also appears as industrialist J.P. Morgan). He just wants some quiet.

Then there is “Mother’s Younger Brother” (Matt Edmonds). He finds meaning in his life by embracing the plight of the underclass “Negroes” and mistreated workers.

There are appearances by historical notables Harry Houdini, Booker T. Washington, Henry Ford, Emma Goldman and “Specialty Entertainer/Celebrity” Evelyn Nesbit (Caitlain Collins), who provides periodic comic relief. Their vignettes supply political and social context of the time that drives the action.

Every character has a musical opportunity to shine resulting in a production with many glittering gems that come together like a charm bracelet; each with an individual tale commemorating a specific experience but in the end working together to tell the story of one grand shared adventure.

The entire cast is comprised of excellent singers. Laura McClain gave us everything she had in “Back to Before.” Katherine Thomas was a joy every moment she sang including “Your Daddy’s Son” and the show stopper duet “Wheels of Dream” with Denzel Tsopnang.

Pianists Jermaine Hill and Ellen Morris with Clarinet Dan Hickey perform in costume onstage providing outstanding accompaniments in a production where the music virtually never ends.

Details RAGTIME is at the Den Theatre at 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, now through July 16, 2017. For tickets and other information visit Griffin Theatre or call (866) 811-4111.

 

 

Around Town on the cusp of May into June

At Goodman Theatre 

At Goodman Theatre, "Pamplona" is in the Owen. Goodman Theatre photo
At Goodman Theatre, “Pamplona” is in the Owen.
Goodman Theatre photo

If you heard that Goodman Theatre’s opening night for the world premiere of “Pamplona,” a play by Jim McGrath that features Stacy Keach as Ernest Hemingway, stopped early, then don’t worry. The Goodman put out the following notice:

“Goodman Theatre had to unexpectedly halt this evening’s performance of Pamplona by Jim McGrath. The show’s star, Stacy Keach, had not been feeling well earlier in the day, but made the decision to go on with the performance. When it became clear midway through that Mr. Keach was struggling, Director Robert Falls took the stage and announced that the performance would conclude. Performances are expected to resume as scheduled.”

 

Gospel Fest

It may not seem as long as 32 years ago for Chicago to hold its Gospel Music Festival but considering that Chicago takes credit for gospel music it probably feels as if the genre has been around forever, at least in city area churches.

Gospel comes to Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park June.2-3. Jodie Jacobs
Gospel comes to Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park June 2-3. Jodie Jacobs photo

So, this weekend, June 2 and 3, 2017, the city is holding its 32 Chicago Gospel Music Festival. The concerts are on Friday. They are free and are taking place outdoors in Millennium Park and indoors (it may rain on and off those days) in the Chicago Cultural Center. Gospel music combined with workouts and wellness activities are on Saturday.

Here is the schedule but acts and times may change

June 2, 2017
Randolph Square area on the first floor of the Cultural Center
–       Noon is Iliani Morales, 12:40 p.m. is Selah St. Sabina Youth Choir

–       1:10 p.m. is R&R featuring Russ and Roe and 1:40 p.m. is Neicy Robertson and Friends

–       2:10 p.m. is “Chicago’s Next” with 2ndNature Band, Isaiah Freeman, Jazmin Jones and Denton Arnell Harris and 3:20 p.m. is Arthur Sutton & The Gift of Praise

Millennium Park in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion

–       5:30 p.m. is Glenn Johnson & The Voices of Innerpeace and 6 p.m. is University of Illinois Black Chorus conducted by Ollie Watts Davis

–       6:40 p.m. is Malcolm Williams & Great Faith and 7:20 p.m. is Celebration of Gospel Music Quartets with Evelyn Turrentine-Agee and The Warriors, God’s Posse, The Gospel Crusaders and The Stars of Heaven

–       8:30 p.m. is Jonathan McReynolds with special guests Anthony Brown and Travis Greene

June 3, 2017

Millennium Park’s Great Lawn

– 7 a.m. is Gospel Music Yoga with instructor Marta Bailey and 8 a.m. is Gospel Music Cardio Workout with instructor LaTonya Ellis

– 9 a.m. is Pilates with an East Bank Club instructor and 10 a.m. is Zumba® also with an  East Bank Club instructor

In the North Promenade Tent at Millennium Park

–       11 a.m. to 5 p.m. is Health & Wellness Oasis with screenings offered by Oak Street Health and Be The Match

–       Also from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. are children’s activities in the Kids Activity Zone that include face painting, a balloon artist, Plaster of Paradise and the Imagination Playground

For more information visit Chicago Gospel Fest 

 

It is all relative

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Mike Nussbaum (Albert Einstein) and Katherine Keberlein (Margaret Harding) in 'Relativitiy' at Northlight Theatre. Michael Brosilow photo
Mike Nussbaum (Albert Einstein) and Katherine Keberlein (Margaret Harding) in ‘Relativitiy’ at Northlight Theatre.
Michael Brosilow photo

Theater-goers lucky enough to have seen Mark St. Germain’s ‘Freud’s Last Session’ at Mercury Theater when Mike Nussbaum took on the role of Freud (as of June 3, 2012) will have an idea of how Albert Einstein is portrayed in the world premiere of ‘Relativity’ at Northlight Theatre.

Once again, Nussbaum, now 93, is brilliant and St. Germain’s intelligent writing presents interesting insights into a world-renown, intellectual figure.

The story line revolves around a daughter born to him in 1902 by first wife Mileva Marić before the two were married. The world knew about his two sons born later, but not about daughter Lieserl until correspondence came to light in 1987.

What was known then was that Lieserl had contracted scarlet fever but no mention was made later about her. Although conceived in Switzerland where her parents were at the Zurich Polytechnic, Lieserl wasn’t brought back there to by her mother following the birth and Marić’s convalescence with her parents in Serbia.

St. Germain builds his new play on the premise that Lieserl survives.

Einstein is working at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study where his cantankerous housekeeper/secretary Helen Dukas, delightfully played by Chicago theater veteran Ann Whitney, protects him from interruptions by curiosity seekers and reporters.

Dukas successfully stops Margaret Harding, well depicted by Katherine Keberlein. The forty-something Harding who says she is a reporter from a Jewish publication finally waylays Einstein outside. Noting that it is cold he asks her in.

What follows are personal questions because Harding says her article will be different.

Using known quotes by Einstein, St. Germain has him field and rebuff Harding’s piercing questions about family, personal relations and views on mankind with statements about the importance of solving the mysteries of the universe.

Similar to ‘Freud’s Last Session’ where two protagonists, Freud and allegorist C. S. Lewis, argue their points of view, ‘Relativity’s  arguments, though more personal, are between Harding and the originator of the famous E=MC2 formula. Theories, including those in quantum physics are mentioned, but Harding’s arguments keep returning to the definition of a “great” person.

Directed by BJ Jones, the play is a fascinating, fictionalized, 80-minute look at Albert Einstein.
Details: Relativitiy’ is at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, through June 18, 2017. For tickets and other information call (847) 673-6300 and visit Northlight.

 

Around Town: This weekend and coming days

There’s something for all ages and interests in and around Chicago. Just dress for the weather. After all this is Chicago.

 

'Where Did We Sit on the Bus' at Victory Gardens with and by Brian Quajada. Joel Maisonet photo
‘Where Did We Sit on the Bus’ at Victory Gardens with and by Brian Quajada. Joel Maisonet photo

 Theater

There is just a short time left to catch the awarding- winning actors, playwrights and shows is Victory Gardens’ Up Close & Personal series. Begun April 27 and running through June 4, 2017, the series features three plays.

“A Little Bit Not Normal,” written and performed by Arlene Malinowski, can be seen at 7:30 p.m. May 20 and 21. “Where Did We Sit on the Bus,” written and performed by Brian Quajada, is at 3 p.m. today, May, 20, and June 2 and at 7:30 p.m. May 24, 26, 28, 31 and June 4. “St Jude,” written and performed by Luis Alfaro is at 3 p.m. May 38 and June 4 and at 7:30 p.m. May 25, 27, June 1, 2, and 3.

The shows are in Victory Gardens’ Richard Christiansen Theater at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue.  For tickets and other information call (773) 871-3000 and visit Victory Gardens.

 

Stories

Chicago-area storytellers share experiences in “Israel: Many Voices from and of the Land 3:30-r:30 p.m. May 21 at the DoubleTree by Hilton. Doubletree is at 9599 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie. Local theater and TV actor singer (Steppenwolf, Drury Lane, CSI: NY) Dan Tatar is the emcee. Tickets of $5 advance and $10 at the door (if available) include complimentary Middle Eastern hors d’oeuvres before and after the program. For advance tickets and other information visit Spertus and call (312) 322-1773.

 

Be greeted by a robot at the Museum of Science and Industry. J.B. Spector and MSI photo
Be greeted by a robot at the Museum of Science and Industry. J.B. Spector and MSI photo

Robots

Interact with more than 40 robots at the Museum of Science and Industry’s Robot Revolution now through Feb. 4, 2018. Organized by the museum in 2015, the popular exhibit is back to have fun with Chicago area youngsters and adults following a highly touted tour. However there are also new robots such as Cube Solver that can do the Rubik’s Cube. But be sure to visit with RoboThespian, a humanoid robot that greets guests at the entrance and talk to Omron LD Mobile robot who roams the exhibit. Watch Soccer ‘bots play an autonomous competitive game and challenge Baxter, an industrial robot, to a game of tic-tac-toe. Visitors can also build their own robots with Cubelets.

The Museum of Science and Industry is at 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr. For admission and other information call  (773) 684-1414 or visit MSI

 

Beer

Chicago Craft Beer Week started May 18 but goes through May 25, 2017 and it’s not only inside the city limits. Beer events are also in Itasca, Antioch Lindenhurst, Plainfield, Lisle and Oak Park. They are also happening in Aurora, Evanston, Buffalo Grove, Darien, Romeoville, Glen Ellyn, Mokena and Schaumburg. To find an event near you on the date you want visit Chibeerweek and click on the date.

 

Chicago Riverwalk

OK, it’s raining Saturday, May 20, 2017 when the city celebrates its new fun area along the Chicago River next to Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue. But you can also check it out any day. The May 20 events go from 9 a.m. through 9 p.m. Visit Riverwalk for event schedule and suggestions.

 

Who can be trusted when there are ‘Objects in the Mirror?’

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If you paint over a color you lived with for years would you be able to forget the original, familiar shade? What about your identity? If you identify your name with your family, could you comfortably give it up and adopt a different name and identity?

Luopu Workolo (Lily Mojekwu) makes son Shedrick Kennedy Yakpai (Daniel Kyri) promise to do whatever necessary to survive as he leaves Liberia for a safe country. Photo by Liz Lauren
Luopu Workolo (Lily Mojekwu) makes son Shedrick Kennedy Yakpai (Daniel Kyri) promise to do whatever necessary to survive as he leaves Liberia for a safe country. Photo by Liz Lauren

In ‘Objects in the Mirror’ now at Goodman Theatre, Shedrick Kennedy Yarkpai,  a young  man who escaped to Australia from war-torn Liberia with his uncle John Workolo’s family, had to leave his mother,  Luopu Workolo, and adopt his dead cousin Zaza’s name so that his uncle could use his name for another family member who also needed papers.

The name change haunts Shedrick throughout the play.

Continue reading “Who can be trusted when there are ‘Objects in the Mirror?’”

Glorious voices do justice to Lerner and Loewe music and lyrics

 

RECOMMENDED

The wonderfully lyrical songs and the delightfully fun numbers in Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s ‘My Fair Lady’ plus the gorgeous voice of Lisa O’Hare as Eliza Doolittle and Anthony Powell’s costumes are reasons enough to see the Lyric’s show.

Eliza Doolittle (Lisa O'Hare) and Mrs. Higgins (Helen Carey) and cast at Ascot. Todd Rosenberg Photography
Eliza Doolittle (Lisa O’Hare) and Mrs. Higgins (Helen Carey) and cast at Ascot. Todd Rosenberg Photography

Bryce Pinkham who played  Monty Navarro on Broadway in “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” was a treat to hear as he sang “On the Street Where You Live” as Freddy Eynsford Hill. So was the ensemble, many of whom either hailed from the Lyric Opera Chorus or past Lyric operas.

Powell’s period costumes made exceptional fashion statements that defined the characters.

The voices, music, lyrics and the story based on George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion” make up for some of the production’s deficiencies.

Richard E. Grant as Henry Higgins appears unaccountably childish, particularly when he waves his arms about in his mother’s home and when back at his office.

In addition, the acts don’t flow well. There is a what-are-we-supposed–to-do-now moment when Eliza visits her father after she has become a lady, and the excellent dancers in Alfred Doolittle’s drunken pre-marriage morning scene move in a way more appropriate for a Parisian Apache street then one in London.

Eliza appears dressed for the ball with Henry Higgins (Richard E. Grant) at his desk and Colonel Pickering (Nicholas Le Prevost) standing. Todd Rosenberg Photography
Eliza appears dressed for the ball with Henry Higgins (Richard E. Grant) at his desk and Colonel Pickering (Nicholas Le Prevost) standing. Todd Rosenberg Photography

Set Designer Tim Hatley’s Ascot scene, shown first in silhouette, perfectly emulated the stiff, no emotion can be shown, restraint expected of the British upper class and O’Hare was grandly shocking in her close encounter with the race and Mrs. Higgins friends.

However, that same stiffness seemed to pervade the production except for Hill’s song and when Eliza encounters him outside Henry Higgens home.

The music, conducted by Broadway veteran David Chase, reminded audiences why “My Fair Lady” continues to be a draw more than 60 years after it debuted.

Directed by Olivier Fredj, the Lyric’s show is the Robert Carsen production for Paris’ Théâtre du Châtelet starring a new cast.

Details: ‘My Fair Lady’ is at the Lyric’s Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago, April 28 through May 21, 2017. For tickets and other information call (312) 827-5600 or visit My Fair Lady.