MY FAIR LADY
Broadway By the Bay at the Fox Theatre, Redwood City (June 2015)
Directed by Ken Savage
Set Design by An-lin Dauber
Lighting Design by Drew Kaufman
Costume Design by Valerie Emmi
Original Ascot and Embassy Ball Costume Designs by Asia Chiao
As a display material, glass delineates what is valuable and what is not. Grounded within the frame of our crystal palace which doubles as a rigid glass cage, My Fair Lady explored the process of assimilation as dictated by the Edwardian glass ceiling. Constructed out of the rigid class system of 1912 London, the glass ceiling of this musical bars women and minorities, particularly women of color, from fully becoming equally respected members of British society. Historically and often played by a white actress, Eliza Doolittle in our production was Black and we looked at the charged conflict between her and a white Henry Higgins as they influenced one another in this student/teacher relationship. My Fair Lady is the universal story of how we learn to code-switch as cultural chameleons to blend in while also learning how to proudly stand out.
This production of My Fair Lady played at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City and then transferred to the Golden State Theatre in Monterey.
"As an African-American playing Eliza, Ms. Williams naturally deepens the role by reminding us that the glass ceiling of this doomed palace world of 1912 restricts women and racial minorities alike. Her casting is thus brilliant on many levels."
"Along with a final, curtain-closing moment when Eliza literally has Henry eating out of her hand (versus the normal ending of her reluctantly handing him his slippers), directorial decisions begin to make a big difference in how we as a modern audience can accept this somewhat dated story. Kudos to Mr. Savage."
"Coy but not flirty, playful but not childlike, powerful but not overwhelming. In a shrewd move in Loewe's score, when Eliza adopts her new speech her songs take off into crystalline, opera-like arias that Williams holds and holds and holds"
"Playing yin to her yang is Solomon as the erudite professor, steely and masterful but pompous and immature. Solomon and director Ken Savage seem to get Higgins, particularly that he finds Eliza's rough edges just as offensive as we find his priggishness, so by watching him we understand how he understands everyone else."