[Music] (Michael Yeargan): My Fair Lady was the first musical I ever saw when I was a child. I was completely enthralled and fascinated and thought it was the greatest magic trick I’d ever seen in my life. Because My Fair Lady happens all over London, which is a city I dearly love, it’s been a joy to kind of revisit those places, look at what they looked like in 1912 and reinvent that on the stage. It’s one of the most difficult shows to design because it’s sort of in different styles, because the study has to be so real, that the other places can be more suggestive. So we built this huge study which is on a revolve that moves and turns. (Bartlett Sher): It’s quite a place, but compared to the more fragile world of the working classes, which are sort of ramshackle and falling apart, so you get the contrast between the two. (Michael Yeargan): There’s a lot of false perspective which is a kind of a Renaissance technique and stage design, that gives it a whole other dimension and a kind of a magical quality. (Bartlett Sher): Cathy Zuber is possibly the only designer on Broadway that could capture all of this. It takes almost a year of work to develop all the clothes, iconic costumes like what Eliza wears in the beginning, what Eliza wears at the ball, what Eliza wears everywhere and to give it the kind of heart and information that you need to go to this world of 1911. (Catherine Zuber): I’m really enjoying working on Ascot or ensemble or a great group of people and they have really been wonderful to collaborate with their looks. Itís a beloved musical that hasn’t been seen in many, many years and it’s a thrill to reimagine it for modern audience. (Bartlett Sher): When you do the collaboration, you really start with the sets first. Once the colors of the set in place, then the costumes start to fall into place from there. So we build a world together and then we add lights from there. Don Holder is probably the best lighting designer on the planet and he sews together the clothes and the set with this very delicate transformative sense of light. (Donald Holder): The light is helping tell the story and helping transport us from place to place, so it’s an enormous challenge, but one that I always look forward to tackling. (Mark Salzberg): The sound is basically everything you hear once you walk into the theatre. ((Bartlett Sher): He has to take all of the instruments, blend all of that with the singers; has to make sure the singers can hear what they’re doing, and he has to deliver that to all 1,100 seats in a way that’s the same for everyone. (Mark Saltzberg): The sound is also sound effects — the phone rings, the church bells, voices coming out of gramophones, things like that, (Bartlett Sher): So it’s a matrix of complex sounds. (Marc Salzberg): At the end of the night, you can go ìthat was just a great performance of a great show and I was part of thatî. [Music]

Designing “My Fair Lady” | The Kennedy Center

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