Dame Julie Andrews returns to Eliza Doolittle

Musical icon Dame Julie Andrews will direct a new production of My Fair Lady, 60 years on from when she starred in the original as Eliza Doolittle. The Australian production will attempt to recreate the look and feel of the Broadway original, which premiered in 1956 and went on to become a classic. It opens at Sydney Opera House on 30 August.

‘It has every ingredient that you might want from a classic music theatre experience,’ said Andrews. ‘I’m just awed at how phenomenal the [Sydney Opera House] is…I can’t wait to get in there.’ My Fair Lady is based George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion, with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe.

A star production team has already been assembled, including choreography from Tony Award-winner Christopher Gattelli, sound design by Michael Waters and musical direction from Guy Simpson. Andrews is producing the show herself, with the help of Opera Australia artistic director Lyndon Terracini and theatre producer John Frost.

Trips to Wisconsin, London, New York City and Los Angeles were made to research the project. The production team also tracked down assistants who worked on the original show.

Memorable songs include Wouldn’t it be Lovely, The Rain in Spain and I Could Have Danced All Night. Andrews has yet to announce who she will cast as Eliza Doolittle, but commented that the role, ‘demands cockney, screaming rage, big dramatic scenes and then pure soprano singing. I would help whoever we do choose to find all of that and more.’