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re: No Anne Rogers?
Posted by: AlanScott 11:51 pm EDT 07/27/20
In reply to: re: No Anne Rogers? - Delvino 10:24 am EDT 07/27/20

I wonder how many people's first show was MFL. A friend saw the original production when he 5.

Any memories of Rogers or Brian Aherne? Or did you see Michael Evans as Higgins? Evans seems to have gotten generally better reviews than Aherne did. We all know him from the Bye Bye Birdie movie.

It's nice that Rogers got to record some of Eliza's numbers (but, alas, not "Just You Wait" or "Without You") on a 1965 Music for Pleasure budget LP of the score. Higgins was Tony Britton, who later played Higgins in the 1979 London revival but he had already played Higgins on a post-London UK tour when this was recorded. In fact, I think he was playing the role when the recording was made. He's very good.

Rogers seems to have sung very lightly, putting very little pressure on the voice. It's not all that exciting to me on recordings, but it may explain how she was able to play Eliza so many times. It seems like the role still may have eventually taken a toll because both she and Andrews seem to have missed lots of performance in London. When Rogers left and the understudy for both of them got to take over, it was said that the understudy, Tonia Lee, had already played the role around 200 times. Admittedly that was over the course of four years so it's not quite as bad as it may sound, and both Andrews and Rogers took scheduled vacations accounting for some of those 200 performances.

Some of the London critics said that they much preferred Rogers to Andrews, although there was grumbling about Rogers’s Cockney accent. Hard to imagine that she was much better than Andrews since she sounds fine but not particularly exciting on the Music for Pleasure recording. But I'm not sure I should make that judgment based on a recording done around three years after she had last played the role, a recording made on a very tight schedule and budget, and with two of Eliza's songs missing.
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