Lauren Ambrose will star as Eliza Doolittle in Lincoln Center Theater’s much-anticipated revival of “My Fair Lady,” one of the biggest titles in the Broadway canon. She leads a cast opposite Harry Hadden-Paton, a British actor whose name audiences aren’t likely to know but whose face they may recognize from shows including “The Crown” and “Downton Abbey.”
Hadden-Paton will play Henry Higgins, the role made famous by Rex Harrison in the original 1956 Broadway production and in the 1964 movie. Norbert Leo Butz, who won Tonys for his performances in “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “Catch Me If You Can,” and Diana Rigg are also on board the cast of the show, to be directed by Bartlett Sher, the musical-revival specialist who’s staged successful LCT productions of “South Pacific” and “The King and I” (as well as last season’s Tony-winning play “Oslo”).
The casting of Hadden-Paton is something of a surprise, given that the role seemed ripe for star casting and rumors suggested producers were going after names like Colin Firth. On the other hand, it might be argued that the title itself is the star of “My Fair Lady,” considered by many to be the pinnacle of the Golden Age of Broadway.
Ambrose, who steps into a role played by Julie Andrews (in the original Broadway production) and Audrey Hepburn (in the film), hasn’t appeared on Broadway since the 2009 revival of “Exit the King.”
“My Fair Lady” is one of two big-ticket revivals on the Broadway slate. “Carousel,” starring Jessie Mueller and Joshua Henry, will also open in the spring.
“My Fair Lady” begins previews March 15 ahead of an April 19 opening.