John Owen Edwards

My Fair Lady [1998 Studio Cast]

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In 1974, British actors Alec McCowen and Bob Hoskins appeared in a West End production of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, McCowen taking the part of the elocutionist, Professor Henry Higgins, and Hoskins that of Alfred P. Doolittle, Cockney father of flower girl Eliza, played by Diana Riggs. Twenty years later, That's Entertainment! Records (TER) reunited McCowen and Hoskins in a recording studio to make an audio version of My Fair Lady, the Alan Jay Lerner/Frederick Loewe musical based on the Shaw play, substituting young singer Tinuke Olafimihan (a TER favorite who also appeared on the label's studio-cast recordings of West Side Story, The King & I, and On the Town) as Eliza. In typical TER fashion, it was billed as the "first complete recording," that is, a two-CD set with lots of instrumental interludes and dialogue over underscoring, if not actually the entire musical on disc. The added material gave the listener a better sense of Higgins, making him seem more likeable than on previous recordings, and there was more interaction between Eliza and her father. While the Original Broadway Cast album remained the definitive recording of the score, McCowen, who sang more than any previous Higgins, gave a good accounting of the role, and Olafimihan, while no Julie Andrews, went at Eliza with gusto. (Michael Denison and Henry Wickham, in the secondary roles of Colonel Pickering and Freddy Eynsford-Hill, were fine.) The chief failing of the recording was the casting of Hoskins, a talented character actor with no singing voice to speak of, who made a shambles of "With a Little Bit of Luck" and "Get Me to the Church on Time" not only because he couldn't sing, but also because he seemed to think he was in one of his brutal movie roles rather than giving a comic performance.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
My Fair Lady, musical
1 3:28
2 5:26
3 5:01
4 3:34
feat: Alec McCowen
6 2:41
7 3:23
8 4:46
9 1:56
10 3:52
11 4:23
12 4:21
13 1:37
14 2:28
15 3:18

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
My Fair Lady, musical
1 4:03
2 5:50
3 0:52
4 1:51
5 2:08
6 3:40
7 6:33
8 3:52
9 4:20
feat: Alec McCowen
11 2:35
12 1:39
feat: Alec McCowen
blue highlight denotes track pick