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My Fair Lady

If you think it would be “loverly” to have a bona fide Broadway classic swoop into town for the holiday season, your wish is about to be granted. “My Fair Lady” won six Tony Awards when it debuted on Broadway in 1956, and then had its movie version take home eight Oscars in 1964.

The musical, which follows the cockney English flower girl Eliza Doolittle as she’s trained by phonetics professor Henry Higgins to act like a duchess, began its U.S. tour in September and will make 26 stops before the tour ends in June 2008. “I think there’ve been very few adaptations since the original that have met the standards of this revival,” insists Lisa O’Hare, who plays Eliza. "Everything about the show is so luxurious – the sets, costumes, songs. This standard of the show hasn’t been done for many, many years.”

O’Hare’s high standards took a hit as she endured the low standards of our silly questions, but she assured us Eliza would be proud.

It’s really you singing, right? You’re not pulling one of those voice double charades like Audrey Hepburn did in the movie are you?

No (laughs). It’s all live, and all me.

What’s your favorite song?

“Wouldn’t It Be Loverly.” It’s so simple and reflective. You see all the things she doesn’t have and longs for — a room, a chair, a fire. It’s very emotive and one of the most important songs for her.

If the rain in Spain didn’t stay on the plain, as the song suggests, where would it stay?

Do I need weatherman to answer this? I don’t know. Um, in Spain.

It’ll probably rain while you’re here. Regardless, what’re you dying to do in Miami?

See the beaches. Go shopping. Do some exploring. I’ve never been, but hear it’s very beautiful.

You’re a half-Irish woman from Belfast playing a cockney English girl who becomes a proper English “lady.” What’s the Irish equivalent to the slummy, cockney English types?

I don’t know if there is an equivalent to the cockney language. I guess a Belfast accent would be the equivalent.

As a Belfast girl, aren’t you annoyed that they took the work of one of Ireland’s favorite sons, George Bernard Shaw (who wrote “Pygmalion,” on which “My Fair Lady” is based), and made something so distinctly British?

No, because that’s what he wanted. We like to think of it as an English play written by an Irishman. He wanted it to be as British as possible because it’s based in London.

You’ve also played Mary Poppins on stage. Which role is more fun — Eliza or Mary?

I don’t know which is more fun because they’re very different, but Eliza is more challenging vocally, and there’s so much involved in her journey.

Who would win in a fight between the two?

Mary. She has magical powers that Eliza doesn’t have. But take Mary’s magic away and Eliza wins hands-down.