For our playbills, we ask someone that has a special connection to the show to write the Welcome Letter. For My Fair Lady, we asked Wright McCargar, Music Director. If you have been to a performance at Civic Theatre, there’s a strong chance that he was the one in the orchestra pit. Since music is such an important element of this show, we asked him to share some thoughts that would greet anyone that attended the show.
Welcome to The Grand Rapids Civic Theatre’s production of “My Fair Lady”.
In 1983 Civic Theatre music director, Robert Wepman, asked if I could fill in for Thursday rehearsals of “They’re Playing Our Song”. Regular accompanist Mary Lou Smith had choir rehearsals at Fountain Street Church. I needed the work.
In 1985 I sheepishly stood in director Paul Dreher’s office and asked if I could music direct my first main stage musical. That musical was “My Fair Lady”.
It is now 2018, Mary Lou Smith is still rehearsal accompanist and I still need the work, although, thankfully, not as much as back then. In the thirty-some years since I stood, terrified, on the podium in the Civic pit I have worked with West Michigan’s finest instrumentalists, directors, singers and technicians. To list them would take an entire program -and I wouldn’t want to run the risk of leaving out even one of the incredible staff and volunteers that make this theater the national showcase that it is. I am grateful to each and every one.
Five months ago I pulled my dusty My Fair Lady music from the huge metal shelves that alphabetically house the scores of every musical I’ve done since 1983. My Fair Lady is a piece of remarkable character and literary depth. I was worried that the 1950’s script would fall short in a 21st century world. Instead, the issues of class, gender and civility are as real today as then. I thank Civic Theatre for not only doing compelling contemporary works, but also for re-examining classic theater in the light of today’s consciousness.
I hope you enjoy an evening of classic musical theater and come away not only with a melody in your heart, but compelling thoughts in your head.
Wright McCargar, Music Director
Catch Wright and the talented orchestra providing the tempo of the show this weekend! For more information or tickets visit our website.