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In the Guthrie's 'My Fair Lady,' a challenge to get cockney accent right

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'My Fair Lady'
Helen Anker (Eliza Doolittle) in the Guthrie Theater's production of 'My Fair Lady'; book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe.
Joan Marcus

"My Fair Lady" is a musical about talking. It's about class, and how the words we use -- and the way we use them -- signal who we are. 

In the Guthrie Theater's production, Jeff McCarthy, an American-born actor, was chosen for the role of Henry Higgins, a very proper English professor. The Guthrie's voice coach had his work cut out for him.

D'Arcy Smith is the resident voice coach at the Guthrie Theater and a lecturer at the University of Minnesota. He taught the show's actors the various dialects that are so essential to "My Fair Lady." 

On The Daily Circuit, he discussed the art of coaching people to speak in other dialects:

Helen Anker, who plays Eliza Doolittle, showed us the differences between how cockney actually sounds compared to the way they use it on stage:

"My Fair Lady" runs through August 31.