My Fair Lady, Book of Mormon led Shubert’s 2022–2023 season

The Shubert Theater in New Haven kicks off its Broadway series in October with a show that’s not just a piece of musical theater history, it’s also a piece of Connecticut history.

The theater kicks off its season with a touring production of “My Fair Lady” October 19-22.

Based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, My Fair Lady would go on to become a record-breaking, Tony Award-winning musical, enjoying numerous revivals into the modern Broadway era and helping to launch the musical pundit’s career start Julia Andrews.

But on February 4, 1956, the show’s historic run in Connecticut almost reached a point.

Star Rex Harrison wasn’t sure about singing with an orchestra — at the time when artists relied solely on the power of their diaphragms to project — some of the equipment wasn’t working properly and snow was gathering in front of the Shubert. At one point, Harrison refused to perform, stating he “wouldn’t go on with these thirty-two intruders in the pit,” Brad Schreiber recounted in Stop the Show!: A History of Insane Incidents and Absurd Accidents in the Theater. ”

The show almost stopped. At one point, the cast and crew were sent home, only to be called back at the last minute after director Moss Hart was able to get Harrison out of his dressing room. In a 2018 New York Times story, actor Jerry Adler — last known as Herman “Hesh” Rabkin, Tony Soprano’s consigliere on “The Sopranos” — recounted how he assembled the cast after they were fired .

“I was walking across the street to Loew’s Poli,” Adler told the Times, referring to a movie theater that used to be near the Shubert, “and in the middle of the movie I yelled, ‘Somebody here from ‘My Fair’ Lady’ Occupation? The show is on again tonight!’ We have all but one – Rosemary Gaines (a cast member) who had a bout of appendicitis and was in the hospital.”

At 8:45 p.m. that night, “My Fair Lady” premiered to a standing ovation mid-show and a sold-out performance before the end of intermission.

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