what's your fave MFL record
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Author:  cndjul [ Tue Jul 08, 2003 10:55 am ]
Post subject:  what's your fave MFL record

What's your favorite recording for My Fair Lady? Is it the London original cast, Broadway original cast, the movie soundtrack or some other version?

Author:  JelliclePat [ Tue Jul 08, 2003 7:25 pm ]
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Some years ago, a local radio station ran a regular show called 'Broadway Revisited'. One night, the announcer had compiled a program entitled 'My International Lady', in which he all the songs, in order, from cast albums from around the world. Included were Spanish, Mexican (with a teen-aged Placido Domingo in the chorus), Italian, Norwegian, Israeli, and Russian productions. Each one was excellent, but my all-time favorite is the OLC album, which my father bought after seeing the original production at the Drury Lane Theater in London.

As a sidelight, when my son and I visited London two years ago, we got to see the new production, with Jonathan Pryce as Higgins (excellent, and no Rex Harrison copy-cat, either!). What made it even more special, the show had just moved into the Drury Lane Theater!! What a way for my son to be in touch with the grandfather he never met (Dad died 4 years before my son was born <sigh>).

Author:  cndjul [ Wed Jul 09, 2003 2:51 pm ]
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Just curious..are you a native Londener/Brit? I am only thinking this may have something to do with your choice for favorite. I think I am biassed toward the OBC bec it was the first one I heard even though the others sound just as great.

Thanks for sharing your story about your son. I think it's really cool that you got to share that experience with him. :)

Author:  JelliclePat [ Wed Jul 09, 2003 6:54 pm ]
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No, I'm a native Noo Yawker. My dad was in London on business when he saw MFL and fell in love with it. He bought the OLC album when he got home, then took Mom, and finally me (I was seven or eight), to see it on Broadway. I've seen several productions since then - including the B'way revival some years ago - and loved all of them, but the OLC has always stood out as the definitive one for me.

BTW, I'm glad you liked my little story. <g>

Author:  cndjul [ Thu Jul 10, 2003 1:30 pm ]
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So you're probably very familiar with the lyrics for the OLC, right? Is it true that in the London performances they sing "Please don't implore, beg or beseech...etc" and are those lyrics also on the OLC recording? Were the accents noticeably different in the London show you went to as compared to the Broadway version? Just curious...

Author:  JelliclePat [ Thu Jul 10, 2003 8:11 pm ]
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Well, since the only copy I have of the OLC is on LP and my turntable is acting up at the moment, I can't check the lyrics that way, though I must say that I don't remember the ones you quoted. However, I checked my copy of the published script, and they're not in there. (Come to think of it, I don't remember hearing them in 2001, either.)

As for accents, I don't remember the original Broadway run *that* well; it was 40+ years ago, after all; on the other hand, I've always had an ear for accents, and I think I would have noticed if it had been markedly different from the record. As for the revival (I've forgotten what year, but it must've been c. 30 years ago), it had Rex Harrison and Robert Coote reprising their original roles, and I can't remember any unusual (i.e. American) accents there, either. Any competent actor with a good coach can do any accent convincingly, so I'd say there was no major difference except, possibly, for the odd word or two. On the other hand, British actor Roy Dotrice, who played Father on the 'Beauty and the Beast' tv series, adopted a fabulous American accent; the only thing that gave him away was his tendency to say things like 'proe-gress' instead of 'prah-gress'.

Hope this helps.

Author:  Mark Walton [ Sun Jul 13, 2003 9:04 am ]
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The London cast album is now available on CD; it retains its original gold cover artwork from the LP version, which had a few minor graphic changes from the white OBC cover. (EDIT: Mainly, Stanley Holloway's name is much more prominent on the OLC cover). The London version was recorded in stereo, unlike the mono-only OBC album; then-Columbia Records president Goddard Lieberson saw to that. (The OBC album was never re-processed into stereo; technology to do that has been around since at least the 1970s).

Key differences between the London and OBC albums were:

- Cyril Ornadel was the conductor; at the time (1958) he was probably a young up-and-comer, at a point in his career not too far out of line with where Julie Andrews was in hers. (His OBC counterpart, Franz Allers, was already a well-seasoned veteran of L&L musicals). Interestingly, the CD version includes "The Embassy Waltz", by Percy Faith and his orchestra, instead of the show's main orchestra.

- Different second- and third-string cast (Freddy, his mother, Mrs. Higgins, Alfred P. Doolittle's drinking buddies, servants, ensemble, etc.)

- Accents are noticeably heavier on the London album (they had been toned down for the OBC); some of the lyrics can be very hard to understand. Examples: "Ascot Gavotte"; and the last verse of "With a Little Bit of Luck": "He doesn't have a tuppence in his pocket, The poorest bloke you'll ever hope to meet..."

Author:  Salome [ Sun Jul 13, 2003 11:05 am ]
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OBC is still my favorite. Nobady tops Rex as Higgins! and he was in his prime on that recording.

However I also like Alec McCowen's studio recording. His Higgins is not at all like Sir Rex's and he is so good in his own right.
Bob Hoskins is a great Doolittle on that album.

I also LIke Ian Richardson,Christine Andreas and George Rose on the 20th ANniversary cast alubm.

Author:  Annie Rodgers [ Sun Jul 13, 2003 12:41 pm ]
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I like the OLC version better, simply because of the quality in the acting. All of principals had picked up on all the little nuances of meaning in their lines by that point, and everything flowed so very well. In addition, Julie Andrews' performance was so markedly improved that it entirely makes up for that little edge on the OBC. All the accents were better, and I totally agree with Mr. Walton as far as how hard they were to understand. A particularly good example of this is in Oh, Wouldn't It Be Loverly?: "Me doctor recommends a quiet summer by the sea...." Everything was much... snappier, I guess.

I can, however, understand why people like the OBC recording. Although the songs are not acted to their utmost, the genius of the actors shines through, particularly in Rex Harrison's songs. Julie Andrews' voice sounds more pure, particularly on the high notes, and she enunciates more clearly, even though her Cockney is fairly atrocious.

I have a sneaking suspicion that when you're new to a show, you can emote much more clearly, and even though it might take you a while to understand the lines and songs properly, it's easier to feel the right emotions. After a while though, it becomes too much like second nature, too practised, and you lose a bit of the emotion, even though you're saying and acting everything properly. And although the actors in this show are very good at holding on to the emotion behind the acting, you can tell that some of it is starting to slip. But even through all of that I still think the OLC is better. I don't know if that made any sense at all. Oh well.

Author:  cndjul [ Thu Jul 17, 2003 2:40 pm ]
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Now I understand why the sound of my OLC cd is better than the OBC record I have. It's the difference between mono and stereo I'm hearing!! Thanks for sharing that Mark Walton! :)

Here's a funny story: I'm still laughing at myself!! :oops: I didn't realize I actually had the OLC bec I ordered the OBC CD recently but they apparently mixed up the order somehow (or I wasn't paying attention!) and I ended up with the OLC!! Since I didn't bother to read the inserts or cd cover, (having already had my fill of the record album cover I owned), I didn't notice till this week that what I had was the OLC not the OBC! I had only listened to it once and decided I preferred my other recording. So I listened again to figure out what I didn't like and I think it must be the loss of 'edginess' someone mentioned but now I think that's probably (in JA's case) bec she may have realized what a strain it is on the voice to do the raucous albeit more passionate expressions she did for the OBC (Live and learn!). That's my opinion anyway but otherwise the OLC recording sounds just as great. I still prefer the OBC but wish they would put it in stereo!

I checked the lyrics for "Show me" and Julie sings "Please don't implore, beg or beseech, don't make a speech, show me!" instead of the "Don't talk of June..." heard on the OBC. I guess I didn't notice the difference the first time I listened to it. :oops:


Author:  SilverTimotei [ Sun Jul 20, 2003 12:34 pm ]
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2001 London cast recording :D

Author:  Mark Walton [ Sun Jul 20, 2003 6:31 pm ]
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The OLC production opened at Drury Lane in February 1958; on May 5 of that same year, they gave a Royal Command Performance for the Queen. The OLC album is not specifically identified as being that of the Command Performance.

For both productions, Julie had to be taught Cockney, by a tutor who played a sort of "reverse Higgins" offstage.

Anyway, the key clues for which album is which are, as mentioned above: cover artwork color, and musical director's name, found in the lower right corner.

My choice is the OBC, mainly for the greater clarity of the singing. I have the 1994 limited gold edition, which ends with a post-recording conversation about making the album. The participants were Goddard Lieberson, Rex Harrison, Julie Andrews (the only one still alive), Franz Allers, and Alan Jay Lerner. Goddard Lieberson convinced Columbia Records to sponsor the OBC production to the tune of about $400,000.00 - a lot of money even in the mid-1950s, and an investment they recouped at least 100 times over on the album.

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