In order to protect her voice, Lauren Ambrose is ducking out of the Sunday matinee performances of My Fair Lady. She has young kids and is playing Eliza Doolittle, a role that nearly destroyed Julie Andrews, so this seems fairly reasonable, though certainly a disappointment to anyone who bought tickets to see her Tony-nominated performance. It is also a major disappointment to Dame Diana Rigg, who plays Henry Higgins’s mother, and who decided to air her grievances about it all. In an email — and we shudder at the thought of anyone getting an email from Diana Rigg — obtained by the Post, Rigg wrote, “I learnt, courtesy of a newspaper, that our leading lady will not be appearing in future Sunday matinees. It is time managements put their audiences first and insist on the old adage, slightly adapted by me, ‘The show must go on — with ALL principals.’” (Impeccable em-dash use from the dame.)
When the Post called her up, Rigg stood by her statement, complaining about the work ethic of a younger generation of actors, and pointing out that when she did Medea in 1994, she busted a vocal cord in rehearsals and moved on. “There was a note in the spectrum of my voice that I could not hit. No sound would come out,” she said. “So I had to reorchestrate all those speeches and arias to avoid that note. It was a fascinating exercise in learning how to keep going.” Kids these days, with their avocado toast and their functioning vocal cords!