Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I could have listened to her all night

I blogged about Marat/Sade first, but it actually was the last entry in the weekend's trifecta of shows—on Saturday, I'd seen the revival of Prelude to a Kiss followed by the Philharmonic's concert staging of My Fair Lady at Avery Fisher Hall.

I've never been bowled over by Craig Lucas's plays; they are competent but fail to touch me either emotionally or intellectually. Prelude to a Kiss didn't do anything to change that opinion, especially in the Roundabout's competent but lackluster production. The only thing I have to say is that I don't understand why the character of Rita is so often described as "neurotic." Even in Annie Parisse's high-strung interpretation, Rita strikes me as having not so much neuroses as a variety of issues. When did "neurotic" become shorthand for "strong personality" in America? What's up with the medicalization, especially considering that it's usually employed in reference to women?

Moving uptown for My Fair Lady, which ranged from charming to absolutely thrilling—the latter every time Kelli O'Hara, who played Eliza Doolittle, sang. I'd missed the 1993 revival that starred Richard Chamberlain and Melissa Errico (has it really been ten years since she was scheduled to be the Next Big Thing of musical theater? What happened to that?) so this was my first time seeing My Fair Lady since moving to New York in 1990. It's going to be hard to top the production, even taking into account the fact that no B'way orchestra could ever dream of matching the Philharmonic's insane lushness. Kelsey Grammer may have been typecast as Henry Higgins, but he did a fine job, and it turned out that Brian Dennehy can sing. Who knew?

As a tribute to Lerner & Loewe, here's Mathilde Santing's gender-bended take on "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," recorded in 1982 with a dinky Casio and drum machine.

MP3 Mathilde Santing "I've Grown Accustomed to her Face" from Mathilde Santing

According to her website, Santing is playing Glinda—in alternance with Glennis Grace, who represented the Netherlands at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005—in a Dutch production of The Wiz. She's also a brunette now.

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