(Jesse Green’s article appeared in The New York Times, 4/19; via Pam Green.)
Poor Eliza. It’s not enough that her own father sells her for five pounds to the bully phonetician Henry Higgins. Or that Higgins strips her of her ragged clothes and Cockney accent so she can become a refined if useless lady.
No, the former flower girl is also a failure of feminism, if recent criticism is to be believed.
Don’t believe it.
The plush and thrilling Lincoln Center Theater revival of Lerner and Loewe’s “My Fair Lady” that opened on Thursday at the Vivian Beaumont Theater reveals Eliza Doolittle as a hero instead of a puppet — and reveals the musical, despite its provenance and male authorship, as an ur-text of the #MeToo moment. Indeed, that moment has made “My Fair Lady,” which had its Broadway premiere in 1956, better than it ever was.
It was always good, of course, one of the gleaming artifacts and loveliest scores of the Golden Age of American musical theater — a canon now being contested, with cause, for its unenlightened sexual politics.
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Photo: The New York Times