For the past decade, Tony-winning director Bartlett Sher has been making his way through the classic musical archives — South Pacific, The King and I, and Fiddler on the Roof topping the list. As was announced earlier this week, Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady is next on the list, and we have a few casting suggestions we hope Sher takes under advisement.
Eliza Doolittle — Denée Benton
As Benton's performance in The Great Comet exemplifies, she can embody the mix of doe-eyed naïveté and self-reliant spunk that Eliza requires. Plus, she's got a killer soprano voice. We can't wait to hear her innocently sweet rendition of "I Could Have Danced All Night," followed by a fiery take on "Show Me." Wouldn't it be loverly?
Henry Higgins — Kevin Kline
When we think of Professor Henry Higgins, we think of suave, debonair actors who aren't afraid to get a little persnickety here and there. As he's displayed in his extensive body of work, Kevin Kline, currently of Present Laughter and beloved for his turns in A Fish Called Wanda and The Pirates of Penzance, among many other shows, fits that bill spectacularly. And we'd love to hear him sing "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face."
Colonel Pickering — David Hyde Pierce
Hello, Dolly!'s David Hyde Pierce is well practiced at a good bromance. He had one with Kelsey Grammer for 11 years from 1993-2004 on their hit sitcom Fraiser, so it's about time he get back on the horse. And who better to be the alpha to his beta this time around than Kevin Kline? Together, this pair would radiate distinguished charm, offsetting the fact that they essentially spend their days mansplaining linguistics to a 21-year-old hostage.
Alfred P. Doolittle — Danny Burstein
In the old days, comic character actors, chameleons who could transform themselves from role to role and earn laughs no matter what situations they're in, were regulars on Broadway. Character actors are a rare breed these days. So who better than to follow in the footsteps of greats like Stanley Holloway and George Rose than Danny Burstein, who has six Tony nominations to his name (three of which he earned under Sher's direction)? Imagine this scene-stealer performing tunes like "Get Me to the Church on Time" to the hilt, while also adding dramatic depth. With a little bit of luck, this piece of inspired casting will come true.
Freddy — Ben Fankhauser
Freddy Eynsford-Hill is a fresh-faced young gent who finds himself smitten with Eliza and singing about it in the song "On the Street Where You Live." Beyond being dashing and upright, Freddy's one requirement is to have a beautiful tenor voice, which Ben Fankhauser most certainly does. As Broadway fans first learned from his debut in Newsies (and relearned in the recent Newsies film), Fankhauser has a voice that makes you want to "Seize the Day." Eliza certainly seizes the day…Just not with him.
- Ben Fankhauser
- Kevin Kline
- David Hyde Pierce
- Danny Burstein
- Bartlett Sher
- Lerner and Loewe
- Henry Higgins
- George Rose
- Eliza Doolittle
- Denée Benton
- Present Laughter
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