My Fair Charlie

I have a secret that only five hundred of my closest friends know.  Shhh!  I will tell you too.  I have an obsession with the ’90’s sitcom “The Nanny”.  Perhaps it takes a special kind of personality to fully appreciate its humor. I guess I have that personality because it can send me into uncontrollable laughter even when I am in a bad mood.  I find it hard to understand why everybody does not enjoy it as much as I do.  My children balk every time I say, “This reminds me of an episode of ‘The Nanny'”.  Perhaps that is because so many things remind me of “The Nanny”.  Since I could not within my family find those who share the same degree of appreciation that is so deserving of this show, I had to look elsewhere for a “support group” to help me properly bask in the joy this show has given me.

Luckily for me, one of the stars of “The Nanny”, Charles Shaughnessy [aka Maxwell Sheffield, Broadway producer; How do you like your eggs?  (The Nanny, Pen Pals, Episode 3.1)] has been successful at maintaining a community of online fans through Facebook.  We all have followed his personal fan page as well as his “Only Connect” blog page.  It is a community wherein we share our love not only for “The Nanny”, but for Charles Shaughnessy as well.  Now before you come to the conclusion that our admiration for him is based solely on his extraordinarily good looks, let me assure you that you would only be partly right.  We appreciate him for his character, his compassion, his generosity, as well as many other wonderful qualities.  As a group, we have come also to have a great appreciation for one another.  I think the friendship that is found amongst his followers is a tribute to the kind of people Mr. Shaughnessy attracts.

Perhaps it would be impossible for those who do not share this common bond to understand the thrill we all experienced a few months ago when Mr. Shaughnessy announced that he would be starring as Professor Henry Higgins in the musical “My Fair Lady” at the North Shore Music Theater in Beverly, Massachusetts during the month of June.  For those who were able, we began to plan our summer around this event.  I am one of the lucky ones.  The opening week of the show coincided with my more-handsome-than-Mr. Shaughnessy husband and my 28th wedding anniversary.  So, we decided to celebrate our anniversary and my long over-due graduation from college by taking a week-long trip to the Boston area.  We arrived four long days before the day of our selected showing.  Sure there was plenty to keep us busy in the interim, but seeing “My Fair Lady” was definitely the main event.

Well the day finally arrived for us to take the journey from Boston to Beverly.  We had only been in Beverly for just a few minutes when we met Cassandra Marsh, the assistant musical director/rehearsal accompanist for the production.  She immediately began telling us of Charlie’s kindness and of his wonderful portrayal of Henry Higgins.  She even said, “You know sometimes when I see him from the side I actually think it is Rex Harrison! Charlie was made for this part.”  This only served to raise my already high expectations for Charlie’s performance.  Could he live up to them?

In front of the North Shore Music Theater

Soon we found ourselves in the beautiful North Shore Music Theater.  Having never seen a production in the round, I was curious as to how it would come off.  I can only say that it was absolutely “loverly”.  It was so enjoyable watching the creative methods of entering and exiting the stage.  The choreography utilized the stage in a way that optimized the viewing from every position in the theater while the performers did an exceptional job engaging the entire audience.

Charlie’s performance was outstanding.  In choosing the part of his performance which was most enjoyable, I am torn between the melodic tone of his voice during such songs as “I’m an Ordinary Man” and his emotional display of anger and frustration just prior to ‘Liza’s departing.  When Henry Higgins thought he had lost ‘Liza forever, Charlie portrayed the pain in such a way that one could easily feel the depth of his agony. Finally, he perfectly blended the melodic with the dramatic in his rendition of  “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face”.

His co-star Lisa O’Hare, was equally as impressive. From the mispronunciation of her “oohs” and “aahs” through her transition into lady Eliza, she was a delight to behold.  Her exquisite voice and performance of “I Could Have Danced All Night” was one of the highlights of the day. She radiated beauty and sophistication as she engaged the audience with her piercing eyes.

From Peter Cormican as Colonol Pickering to the cast ensemble, the supporting cast was invaluable. They brought enthusiasm and merriment that added to the great success of the entertainment.  Hayden Tee as Freddy brought a beautiful tenor voice to “On the Street Where You Live” which was captivating.  Bill Dietrich as ‘Liza’s father brought jocularity that could be found in even his slightest movements.

Charlie signing @sillywabbit40's ERTTC's

The performance was a grand success and one which I hated to see end, but there was still something for which to look forward.  We wandered over to the performers exit and waited with another couple for only a few minutes before the actors began to exit.  As Peter Cormican was leaving we complimented him on his performance as Colonol Pickering.  He politely thanked us as he passed, but then came back and had a quite lengthy conversation with us.  He was a wonderful man and he also expressed his positive impression of Charlie.  He said that Charlie was so genuinely kind and way to modest.  I wondered, is there anyone who does not love Charlie.  As we continued to wait, Lisa O’Hare exited.  She asked if we were waiting for Charlie.  When we answered in the affirmative she volunteered to go in and tell him.  We were greatly surprised by her willingness to do this considering that she now had less than two hours before her next performance.  Soon Charlie arrived and unnecessarily apologized for keeping us waiting. He was charming and indulged us with his autograph and photo opportunities.  Much to Laura Catena’s delight, he even autographed  @sillywabbit40’s Extremely Random Tweets To Charlie and laughed while doing so.

Earlier in the day I had texted a friend “On my way to meet Charlie. Will he meet my expectations?”  I am happy to report that he not only met them, he exceeded them.  My only regret is this wonderful day had to end and that all of Charlie’s fans do not have the opportunity to see him perform in this most wonderful musical “My Fair Lady”!

My husband and me with the "creative genius"

Charlie has once been described as a “creative genius”.  His performance as Henry Higgins certainly justify this description, but for those of you who have not yet heard of his newest ventuOre, Charlie and his brother, David, have recently begun an interactive online lifestyle magazine featuring the delightful Lisa Coffey and the new hyperspot technology.  Check it out at Coffeybuzz.com and click on anything on the screen.  You will notice that once you click, a thumbnail of the item will appear to the right of the screen where you can click again and be taken to the website featuring that item.  This new technology might change the way you shop.  Charlie a “creative genius”?  I think so, but I admire him for his charm and great character, something of which the world could use a little more.  Thanks for a great performance Charlie, to you and the rest of the cast!

Remember that 2 Plus 2 Doesn’t Always Equal 4                                                                     [And please take time to read my original post to understand Why the Title of this Blog? (Feb. 17, 2011)]

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21 responses to “My Fair Charlie

  1. Oh Jeannie!! What a great post! I’ve been thinking of you all day. Sounds like you had a magical time.

  2. Sounds like you had an absolutly marvelous time. Yes Charlie is an amazing performer and a wonderful person. I was blessed to meet him in Ogunquit last fall. Thank you for sharing with us. Especially the ones who are not fortunate enough to go this time.

  3. What an amazing blog post!! I feel EXACTLY the way you do about “The Nanny”. Unfortunately, I was not able to make the drive to Boston (Well, I could have, but my car couldn’t..LOL). I would truly have loved to have seen this show, and Charles for that matter. The closest I have come to them is visiting The Nanny ‘house’ in NYC!!! Wonderful!!! I, too, have started a blog based on The Nanny and Living with Fran!!!

  4. wow, very nice blog and pictures with charlie. Btw, I feel your pain about being obsessed with The Nanny and not having people to share it with. I constantly say things like “this reminds me of so and so in the nanny” and have no one to discuss it with lol. When you wrote “how do you like your eggs?” I knew exactly where that was from and in what context 🙂

  5. Jeannie…..you make me blush! Thank you for your extraordinarily kind words and support. Glad you enjoyed Our Fair Lady!

  6. What a wonderful blog Jeannie you are a very gifted writer! I know exactly what you mean about no one understanding your obsession with the Nanny – I try to get my daily “fix” every evening – never fails to make me laugh out loud which is something I think everyone should do more often! I’m glad you had such a wonderful experience meeting Charlie – I was lucky enough to meet him last year when he was performing in “Spamalot” and I agree with you – meeting him more than exceeded my expectations as well!

  7. Thanks Jeannie for sharing your photos and such an awesome review. Right there with you regarding “Nanny eps”… And your blog has only made me look more excited for my flight on Saturday to see the show on Sunday. I have been a fan of Charlie’s since his stint on GH-and after your meeting with him…just reaffirms that. What a class act….

  8. Jeannie I always enjoy reading your blog thanks a lot for describing everything so well I’m glad for you has been a great experience and you’ve got to know Charlie.
    regarding the nanny fully share the same happens to me

  9. Great blog post, Jeannie! So glad you had such a great time.
    I think I only have one close friend who understands my obsession with The Nanny. The rest of them just roll their eyes, so I understand why you had to look elsewhere for “support group”. I did the same thing, and I’m glad that I did because the people that I have “met” have all been wonderful.
    I’m also glad you finally got to meet Charlie, and that he exceeded your expectations.
    God bless.

  10. Excuse me mother…You got me hooked on “The Nanny” last semester…remember? I watched the whole series in a matter of a few weeks. I feel so dissed on at this moment. But I’m glad you and papa had a good time! I would have loved to meet Charles Shaugnessy as well as spend some time in Boston.

  11. First may I say that you are such an amazing writer, Jeannie! I am thrilled that you had such an amazing time and got to see Charlie perform wonderfully as always. So glad that you joined our “support group”. We are all so blessed to have gotten to know each other through Charlie. I love all of my “Nanny” friends!

  12. I love this post too. So happy you guys had such a great time and were so blown away with the show. I so agree! Watching him on tv does not do him any justice. This experience was everything i was hoping for and more. I recommend for all the big fans to watch him live. He is very talented and i could watch him all day. Wanted to stay for the evening show and watch again. Plus the other actors were wonderful as well. Hope he understands that we love him for his talent and ideas, and that is what we are obsessed with. We are not like crazy stalkers or something. lol So cool he commented on your blog. wow! There was a little girl sitting next to me and when Charlie had that angry seen she started crying for like 5 min. I didn’t realize he could sing and loved the dancing. Plus i saw that he had beautiful hands. something you can’t really see on tv. It was wild sitting in the front row,, all thanks to you Jeannie. Loved your review. By the way, your husband is also handsome. Hope you had a great anniversary. Sounds like you did. I love all the Charlie fans too. Wish i could have met everyone. Everyone was so nice. Me and Janet Kiley spent the night and next morning talking about the play and the fan club in Boston. It was so fun to talk with someone else to hear there perspectives as well. This was a great experience. Now praying he will do this again. I Need More! Now addicted to Broadway. I already told my husband i am going again.

  13. Pingback: Performance Review: Professor Henry Higgins | Clio the History Muse

  14. Okay, you have now crossed a line into some pretty weird territory. I mean, The Nanny? Really. Every red-blooded man in America knows the real reason she was hired–and tolerated. And it wasn’t her pithy humor or words of wisdom. I mean, c’mon, we all know it was: her accent. Charlie did nail the role, though. However, I’m afraid there’s only one way to prove his versatility to us. You need to get him out to perform in the cultural Mecca of the west: Las Vegas. Meanwhile, tell him some people just don’t come across in a wife beater.

    • And the other joy of having Ken Cory read my blog, because he will always make me laugh. After having been in Boston for a week, I could not wait to get back to the cultural Mecca you refer to here in Las Vegas. What a place we live in. There they have 62 universities; here we our fighting to keep our handful alive. Vegas cultural, educational, historical (now that we have a Mob Museum), and close to hell (I’m referring to its temperature not its lifestyle).

  15. Jeannie, Great post. So thrilled that you had the opportunity to get to Boston, see the play and best of all meet Charlie. What an incredible experience!! I know I’ve told you this several times now, but it was so wonderful of you to offer to get the ERTTC’s signed for me, it really made me feel a part of the whole thing even if I couldnt be there.

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