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Hit Broadway Musical to open at Theatre Royal Starring Richard E. Grant & John Wood

Opera Australia’s spectacular new production, My Fair Lady, is extending its tour due to unprecedented demand following sell out seasons in Melbourne and Sydney.

The new season will star internationally renowned actor, Richard E. Grant, alongside Australian stage and screen legend John Wood and rising star Taryn Fiebig, in one of the best loved musicals of all time. This strictly limited season of My Fair Lady will run at Sydney’s Theatre Royal from October 9, with tickets on sale through Ticketek from June 23, 2008.

Making his first ever appearance on stage in Australia, the dashingly debonair Richard E. Grant, will portray the phonetic intellectual Professor Henry Higgins. Bringing his own unique mix of wit, humour and the outstanding acting skills for which he is famed, My Fair Lady will mark Grant’s debut performance in a musical theatre role.

Born and raised in Swaziland, Richard E. Grant studied drama at Cape Town University before moving to London in 1982 and appearing in the cult hit Withnail and I in 1986. Since then, Grant has had roles in over 36 movies by some of Hollywood’s leading directors – Robert Altmann, Francis Ford Coppola, Jane Campion and Martin Scorsese – as well as writing three books and directing Wah-Wah, a movie loosely based on his childhood in Swaziland.

Says Grant: “I can’t wait to be in Sydney later this year, playing the role of the curmudgeonly, yet hugely likeable, Henry Higgins. My Fair Lady is a magical cocktail of an incredible score, along with a great storyline filled with humour and wit that will make for a truly great night at the theatre.”

Joining Grant, is Gold Logie award winner John Wood (Blue Heelers) as Eliza’s rascally father, Alfred P Doolittle. John is a veteran of the Australian entertainment industry and has worked for all the major theatre companies in Australia, most recently appearing as Jock Riley in David Williamson’s classic The Club, Stephen Sewell’s It Just Stopped and Ross Mueller’s The Ghostwriter.

Taryn Fiebig, who was recently described in The Age as having a “beautiful soprano”, continues in one of the most coveted roles in music theatre history. As Eliza Doolittle, “Fiebig’s vivacity adds sparkle” (Herald Sun) to the cockney flower girl destined to become a lady.

This star-studded cast also features theatrical legend Nancye Hayes as Mrs Higgins, Rhys McConnochie as Colonel Picking, talented newcomer Matthew Robinson as Freddy Eynsford-Hill, and Adele Johnston as Mrs Pearce.

Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s musical, My Fair Lady, is an adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion. The show, an instant success, made its Broadway debut in 1956, starring Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews. The huge success of the show then propelled it to Hollywood, where Audrey Hepburn replaced Andrews, to star alongside Harrison in the 1964 movie adaptation.

Featuring some of the most memorable Broadway hits of all time, the magic of My Fair Lady continues to endure. Few can forget ‘The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain’, or be able to resist singing along to ‘I Could Have Danced all Night’, ‘Get Me to the Church on Time’, and ‘Wouldn’t it be Loverly’.

Transporting audiences to the lively heart of London, My Fair Lady features a delightful mix of comedy and romance, lavish sets and extravagant costumes. Directed by Stuart Maunder (Dusty, Shout!) with designs by Roger Kirk (Tony Award winner - The King and I) and Richard Roberts (Dirty Dancing, The Pirates of Penzance) this timeless tale about the making of a lady is nothing short of ‘luvverly’.

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