In my last blog entry I mentioned polling My Fair Lady cast members to find out their favorite costumes. At that point, most respondents mentioned the finery worn in the elegant Ascot Gavotte number as their preferred garments. Since then, I have heard from almost a dozen other actors – all but one are ensemble members -- and the Ascot attire has receded in popularity.
Let me say at once that I can’t share the choices of Kate Marilley or Rommel Pierre O’Choa. To do so would give away too many secrets of one of the production’s most delightful numbers.
Other preferences are less spoiling. Christopher Faison chose not a specific garment but specific types of costuming. He said, “My favorite things are my hats. I love wearing hats in my real life, so the fact that I get to wear them onstage is awesome. As for the wig: I’m bald, so having hair is fun.” Steven Gray didn’t select a type of item but a more general feel, singling out his look in the ball scene. “It has the perfect amount of classic structure and tailoring,” adding that the garments amplify “the fluidity” of the ball’s waltz.
Joe Hart focused on more specific headgear, specifying “My Drunk Harry Hat. Although it is crushed, it springs back into place, much like the resilient Londoners of the time.” Kerstin Anderson also opted for millinery, saying that her Cockney Top Hat has “got so much character. I love how the edges are worn and the ribbon has been flattened from years of stacking. In a show that addresses gender and class, it feels fitting to be a lady in a top hat.” If Anderson chose a Cockney Top Hat her colleague Christine Cornish Smith selected her Cockney Girl Top. She exclaimed, “It’s so cute that I want to steal it and wear it with jeans after the show.”
Cameron Adams would probably wait until she got home before wearing her favorite item. She said, “I love my bathrobe as one of the maids in “The Servants’ Chorus” and “I Could Have Danced All Night.” I’ve never been more comfortable onstage in my entire career.”
Blair Ross approached the assignment by admitting, “This is like trying to choose my favorite Beatles song.” She eventually decided, “My favorite costume is my Opera Goer navy velvet/brocade coat with the fur trim. The silhouette is like an Erte print and the details are breathtaking. It’s also very comfortable. Catherine Zuber” – the show’s costume designer – “has done right by me!”
For his part, Adam Grupper selected his fingerless leather gloves. He explained: “They were a relatively late addition to my Act I, Scene I Cockney Workman costume. But as soon as I put them on I knew they were absolutely essential to my character – a man who works with his hands everyday, all day, outside, in all kinds of weather. His gloves would be like second skin to him, and as important as any tool. Now I feel naked without them.”
Harry Hadden-Paton, who plays Henry Higgins, chose a much more formal accessory: his white tie. The reason? “Because for a minute or so I feel like Fred Astaire.”
Brendan Lemon is the editor of lemonwade.com.