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Stagecraft Podcast: Tony-Nominated Stars on Why ‘My Fair Lady’ Isn’t What It Seems

In the minds of a lot of people, the classic musical “My Fair Lady” is about a man who molds a young woman into society’s ideal of a proper lady — and it seems like an awkward fit for the era of #MeToo and Time’s Up. But Lauren Ambrose and Harry Hadden-Paton, the Tony-nominated stars of the new Broadway revival at Lincoln Center Theater, will gently point out that that take on the story is not quite right.

“She searches him out,” said Hadden-Paton (“The Crown,” “Downton Abbey”), a contender in the Tony Awards race for leading actor in a musical, speaking of protagonist Eliza Doolittle and the man who teaches her a new way to speak, Henry Higgins. “She remembers where he lives, and she turns up at his house.”

“People think of it as a story of a man who decides to take this woman and turn her into something, but really, what’s very striking to me in the reading of it and in the playing of it nightly is that she hears this man speaking in a way that she’s never heard anyone speak before — about language and about equality and about the difference in class — and seizes an opportunity,” said Ambrose, nominated for the Tony for lead actress in a musical.

The co-stars spoke of Eliza, Higgins and the Time’s Up movement in the latest episode of Stagecraft, Variety‘s theater podcast. The revival of “My Fair Lady” in which they star is up for a total of 10 Tony Awards, including best revival of a musical.

In the new episode of Stagecraft, the duo also talk about running across, up and down the giant LCT stage; share the moment in the show that they always give each other a high-five; and reveal how Adele helped Ambrose get that accent exactly right.

Download and subscribe to Stagecraft on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and SoundCloud.

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