Dual success 

‘My Fair Lady’
Arkansas Symphony Orchestra
Robinson Center
Feb. 10

Last Friday and Saturday night, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and actors from the Arkansas Repertory Theatre came together with the UALR Concert Choir for a special, semi-staged performance of long-time classic My Fair Lady. For those of us that grew up on the mother’s milk that is the 1964 film with Audrey Hepburn, this particular staging offered a refreshing and sometimes post-modern twist on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion.

Broadway actors Catherine LaValle and Samuel Maupin starred as Eliza Doolittle and Professor Henry Higgins, and while LaValle’s cockney accent was subtly lacking and Maupin’s early delivery of Higgins’ humor fell flat, the production picked up steam as the musical numbers ran on and self-corrected the relatively minor flaws. In Maupin’s defense, playing any exaggerated caricature can prove tricky, perhaps moreso when the caricature is of an apparently unemotional academic automaton. As the professor’s character took on more human traits through the course of “Lady,” so too did Maupin’s acting improve, offering a more believable and satisfying presence on stage.

As for the post-modern element of this particular staging of the musical, a bit of self-conscious humor was interjected from time to time as symphonic conductor David Itkin interacted with the performers at various intervals and theatrically turned head-over-shoulder to observe the events going on just a few feet behind him. This mindful acknowledgement of the semi-staged and therefore prop sparse nature of the production was humorous and successfully reminded the audience of the dual spirit of the performance.

While other musicals might have a pit that the orchestra hides away in to invisibly create the music that makes a show, this performance’s staging gracefully reminded us that it is a combination of all elements that forms the theater’s magic. For bringing yet another spark of humor and freshness to an already very funny musical, a huge thanks to the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and the Rep.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Anne Milligan

  • Riding in on a Mule

    Haynes’ blues group Govt. Mule, Little River Band, Honeytribe are in town.
    • May 4, 2007
  • Crossing over

    Country rockers try to replicate their Lone Star state success.
    • Apr 26, 2007
  • Psychedelic ‘Hick-Hop’

    It’s no misprint; Blueground Undergrass is real, and rocks.
    • Apr 19, 2007
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • An uneven 'Macbeth'

    Michael Stewart Allen as Macbeth carries the play.
    • Sep 17, 2015

Most Shared

  • Issue 3: blank check

    Who could object to a constitutional amendment "concerning job creation, job expansion and economic development," which is the condensed title for Issue 3 for Arkansas voters on Nov. 8?
  • Little Rock police kill man downtown

    Little Rock police responding to a disturbance call near Eighth and Sherman Streets about 12:40 a.m. killed a man with a long gun, Police Chief Kenton Buckner said in an early morning meeting with reporters.
  • From the mind of Sol LeWitt: Crystal Bridges 'Loopy Doopy': A correction

    Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is installing Sol Lewitt's 70-foot eye-crosser "Wall Drawing 880: Loopy Doopy," waves of complementary orange and green, on the outside of the Twentieth Century Gallery bridge. You can glimpse painters working on it from Eleven, the museum's restaurant, museum spokeswoman Beth Bobbitt said
  • Ted Suhl loses another bid for new trial; faces stiff sentencing recommendation

    Ted Suhl, the former operator of residential and out-patient mental health services, has lost a second bid to get a new trial on his conviction for paying bribes to influence state Human Services Department policies. Set for sentencing Thursday, Suhl faces a government request for a sentence up to almost 20 years. He argues for no more than 33 months.
  • Football and foster kids

    It took a football stadium to lay bare Republican budget hypocrisy in Arkansas.

Latest in Theater Reviews

  • Standout acting

    In romantic 'Bridges.'
    • Apr 21, 2016
  • Life during wartime

    The Rep updates Homer with 'An Iliad.'
    • Mar 3, 2016
  • A modern Pan

    "Peter and the Starcatcher" adds a modern flair to the Peter Pan story.
    • Jan 28, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Jodi Morris's lifelong ties to the National Park Service

Jodi Morris's lifelong ties to the National Park Service

"History is always happening" at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • After Auburn

    I'm not one for hyperbole, but the mere mention of "56-3" changes things.
  • George Takei to UCA

    Also, 'The Halloween Tree' at Ron Robinson, Arkansas Times Craft Beer Festival, Fourche Creek Discovery Day, Halloween on the River, Chanticleer at Christ Episcopal Church and Andrew W.K. at Revolution.
  • Guided by Voices!

    Also, Andy Frasco and the U.N. play Stickyz
  • Sip it, grip it, rip it

    Dardanelle golf legend John Daly's story next up in ESPN's '30 for 30' series.

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation