My Fair Lady by Lerner and Loewe, adapted by Daniel and Meagan Wanschura

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Listen to the Production from Northern Lights Radio Theater

Northern Lights Radio Theater, 15 March 2012
Sometimes it's fascinating to discover how to achieve the impossible. The task facing Daniel and Meagan Wanschura was to produce a 15-minute adaptation of Lerner and Loewe's immortal musical for four characters (Eliza, Higgins, Mrs. Pearce and a London bystander), without singing a note of the original music (due to copyright issues).
They made a brave attempt to fulfil their aim by ending the story at the point when Eliza (Meagan Wanschura) learns how to pronounce the King's English properly ("the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain," "in Hereford, Hertford and Hampshire, hurricanes hardly ever happen.") Professor Higgins (Daniel Wanschura) congratulated himself on his achievement, while Eliza joyfully relished her new-found linguistic competence.
Until that point, life had been hard going for both of them. Higgins worked tirelessly to improve the flower girl's vowels, but it seemed that she did not possess any linguistic talent. In this version of the play, Eliza did not seem particularly self-willed or stubborn; she wanted to improve herself, but seldom succeeded. It was only when she cast off her inhibitions and allowed her fundamentally benevolent personality to express itself that she managed to change. As portrayed by Daniel Wanschura, Higgins seemed a much younger man than one might have come to expect, but he seemed genuinely interested in his protegee. The task of training her wasn't an ego-trip, but something that he genuinely wanted to do for Eliza's sake. While the relationship between the two was often stormy, they both retained a basic generosity of spirit - an unusual yet productive reading of the Lerner and Loewe text.
Perhaps one or two aspects of the production might have been improved: Eliza's London accent left a lot to be desired, while both protagonists insisted on pronouncing "Hertford" as "Hurtford," rather than "Hartford," which is how a British listener might understand it. But they are just minor cavils - in general I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this production, offering a fresh slant on familiar material.