The current national tour of “My Fair Lady” has visited Connecticut, but when the musical returns to the state in October, it will be especially “wunnerful” as it is playing at the Shubert Theater in New Haven, where it had its world premiere in 1956.
This is not the first time the Shubert has welcomed back “My Fair Lady.” There was a 1962 tour following the show’s extraordinary Broadway success, then a 35th-anniversary tour in 1991. In 2014, the Yale Musical Theater of the Air company produced a celebrity-studded concert version on the Shubert stage.
The tour coming in October is the Lincoln Center revival directed by Bartlett Sher. The production consciously confronts the sexism inherent in the musical, which is based on George Bernard Shaw’s comedy “Pygmalion.” The play features songs by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe. Sher, who was the associate artistic director at Hartford Stage early in his career, directed the tour of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which will be at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford in June of 2023. He also helmed productions of “Fiddler on the Roof” and “The King & I,” which played the Bushnell in recent years.
New Haven’s Shubert Theater announced its five-show Broadway series on Monday. Besides “My Fair Lady” on Oct. 19-22, 2022, the season includes:
“A Soldier’s Play” on Dec. 8-11, 2022. This is the only tour on the Shubert season that hasn’t already played Connecticut. In fact, it hasn’t played anywhere outside of New York. The Roundabout Theater Company’s acclaimed revival of Charles Fuller’s Pulitzer-winning military mystery will start in New Haven after holding its technical rehearsals there. The tour stars Norm Lewis, the first Black performer to star in “Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway. Lewis performed at a gala fundraiser for the Shubert earlier this month.
“The Book of Mormon,” which has toured through Connecticut numerous times, including the Bushnell, the Shubert and the Waterbury Palace, returns to New Haven on March 3-5, 2023.
The biomusical “On Your Feet! — The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan” is at the Shubert on March 23-26, 2023. The show played the Bushnell in the summer of 2018.
“Jesus Christ Superstar,” based on an acclaimed British revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice rock opera and overseen by the producers of the recent long-running tour of “Rent,” concludes the Shubert season April 21-23, 2023. The tour played the Bushnell in February 2020, just weeks before the long COVID pause.
Broadway series subscribers have an option of adding a performance by Blue Man Group to the subscription deal. The rhythmic azure aliens will be at the Shubert on Jan. 6-8, 2023.
This is the second season at the Shubert overseen by Anthony McDonald, who was made executive director there in March of 2021, when the theater world was still hamstrung by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the first full season that McDonald has programmed.
“As I enter my second year as executive director of Shubert Theatre, I am proud of the progress we have made in re-engaging our patrons this season,” McDonald said in a statement. “It has been exciting for me to plan a varied lineup of shows for what will be my inaugural season.”
The stately 1,600-seat Shubert Theater opened in 1914, over a decade before the Bushnell in Hartford, the Garde in New London and the Palace in Waterbury — the other main theaters in the state that offer robust “Broadway” tour series. For the first half-century of its existence, the Shubert was renowned as a try-out house for shows that were being prepared for Broadway runs. Among the landmark hits that had their very first performances at the Shubert were “A Streetcar Named Desire,” over half a dozen Neil Simon comedies and “The Sound of Music.”
Details about Shubert subscriptions can be found at shubert.com.
Christopher Arnott can be reached at email@example.com.