New York | 2h 15m | Already closed


From 14 critic and 48 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Entertaining, Clever, Absorbing, Delightful

About the show

Bedlam brings their innovative, stripped-down aesthetic to Shaw's classic comedy about a professor who strives to convert a low class London girl into someone who can pass as a member of high society.

Based on the classical myth, 'Pygmalion' plays on the complex issue of class in a social world. When Professor Henry Higgins comes across a poor and uneducated Cockney girl named Eliza Doolittle, Higgins makes a bet that he can take Eliza from the gutters of London and pass her off as a society lady. Higgins soon discovers that the task involves more than simply teaching her the right dialect in which to speak.


"Bedlam, the innovative and ingenious theater company, has mounted their second Shaw revival (following their acclaimed Saint Joan with four actors) and the evidence of the genius of artistic director Eric Tucker is that not once do you miss Lerner & Loewe's score in this staging of 'Pygmalion.' This most popular of Shaw's comedies most likely does not get revived as often as it might due to 'My Fair Lady,' but this production restores it to its own niche." Full Review


"Eliza comes from immigrant stock...That's just one of the smart, relevant touches that Tucker has woven into his exceptionally performed, highly entertaining, must-see production...Tucker directs this nearly flawless production with accomplished stagecraft and relentless humor, yet also with a poignant delicacy...Sharma, who plays Eliza with pathos and delightful wryness, has us in the palm of her hands...The production's comedic center is Lewis...Equally compelling...are the social issues." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

"Surely 'Pygmalion' has never been more visceral and captivating than it is in the hands of director Eric Tucker and his stellar Bedlam theater company...The conflict at the center of the play transcends the class differences that fascinated Shaw by taking on pronounced shades of racism and imperialism. It is a bold insight by Tucker that comes to life on the strength of stellar acting and directing...This is a quite human and productively troubling 'Pygmalion.'" Full Review


"Shaw's witty dialogue...still has the power to make its own music with its sparkling dialogue and multi-faceted characters...Bedlam's very unique vision makes a trip to the beautiful Sheen Center imperative for anyone who appreciates an audacious yet respectful adaptation of a classic...Delightfully cheeky, without running the risk of turning Shaw's themes into high camp...Sharma and Tucker not only tap into the evolving emotions of each, but also have terrific chemistry." Full Review

New York Stage Review

"To anyone deciding whether to attend...I say you must go...That's if you're truly interested in Shaw and potent theater. You encounter Tucker's extremely strong but severely arrested-development Higgins as well Sharma's multi-dimensional Eliza...Tucker's direction of the small cast is at a consistent peak...Trimming the cast to six requires doubling during the high-hilarity tea to-do...The fast-paced routine is intended to be cute, but the only effect it has is narrative confusion." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"Though there are a few, soft, quiet moments in the space, the incarnation of this drama...spins beautifully...The immediacy of the theater is felt, seen, and heard; the characters are right next to you, creating a sense that anyone could participate in this moral dilemma...Fans of Shaw might love this production, for its zest and fidelity to the original text...It is great acting and directorial vision that make Bedlam’s production of 'Pygmalion' such a success." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

"With its usual verve, the acclaimed downtown company puts on a good show, in the process demonstrating that, if 'Pygmalion' is not as mellifluous as 'My Fair Lady,' it retains the sharp social satire that the musical largely drops...The entire Bedlam cast is, as usual, superb...The inclusion of performers of Indian descent adds the issue of race to the textual ones of class and gender...If Shaw is occasionally didactic and verbose, for my money, 'Pygmalion' offers some real pleasures." Full Review

Village Voice

"Tucker's potent and persuasive staging, which gives us an Indian Eliza. Smashingly played by Sharm...The show's emphasis on the acting, and in fact some of the most powerful moments are wordless...Sharma, in an exquisitely dexterous performance, is more fun to watch for much of the play - raw and vibrant, exultant and unignorable...This is a 'Pygmalion' that may make you feel for Eliza as you have never felt before." Full Review


"I only hope Mr. Tucker's Orson Welles mentality is contagious, and that Bedlams pop up all over the country, continuing to course new lifeblood into the canon of English theater." Full Review

90.7 WFUV

"So intimate you’re right in the middle of the action...The action is directed by Bedlam’s artistic director, Eric Tucker, who has streamlined the text to focus on the gender power dynamics between Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle...While Tucker’s performance is perfectly fine, he’s outshone by Vaishnavi Sharma as Eliza...She’s ravishing as both the fiery flower girl and the elegant lady created by Higgins, with lots of nuance and humor in her performance." Full Review

The Wall Street Journal

"Mr. Tucker has other Bedlam-style directorial tricks up his sleeve, ranging from cross-gender casting to a show-opening coup de théâtre that I wouldn’t dream of giving away...Shaw was a supreme master of the stage, one whose greatest plays need no directorial assistance to make their effect, much less their political points. On the other hand, Mr. Tucker’s hurtling staging is so vigorous and direct that it’s no sacrifice to go where it takes you." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

“The play's heart and soul remain; however, also be aware that Bedlam continues to employ…mannerisms that might not be to everyone's taste…The script has been pared down to a nonstop…two hours, and is played for the most part in a straightforward, realistic way...For all the show's vivacity, however, it does occasionally lag…Sharma…may not…conform to traditional ideas of Eliza but, without the considerable feeling and intellectual penetration she provides, this production would be in trouble.” Full Review

The New York Times

"Fleet, appealing, overstretched revival...Lots of Bedlamite fun..When it slices to the core of a classic text with wit and verve and a show-off’s delight, it’s doing what the company does best...Some ideas don't fly...These changes shift the play toward themes of colonialism and deracination instead. That’s a play I’d like to see, but it’s not 'Pygmalion,' or at least it’s not 'Pygmalion' with only a line or two improved." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"Tucker, who directed and stars as the supercilious language expert Henry Higgins, has found many ways to muddy the Shavian waters...If you are unfamiliar with the play, all I can say is, God help you...This is yet another Bedlam production defined by strategies and devices that don't really add up to a coherent vision. Tucker and his collaborators seem to be addicted to what works in the moment, with little consideration of the overall effect." Full Review

Absorbing, Delightful, Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful

See it if you want to see a truly excellent and innovative version of Shaw's play. Vaishnavi Sharma is a real find. A very intimate production.

Don't see it if just go—if you can get a ticket!

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Enchanting, Refreshing

See it if You like great acting, innovative staging, a classic brought to life.

Don't see it if You prefer the musical and dislike the idea of seeking out the original version.

Also Bedlam wins again! This is a must see!

Masterful, Great acting, Funny, Exquisite, Absorbing

See it if you know the characters. Superlative cast recreates the classic characters without being predictable or replicating famous performances.

Don't see it if you’re not especially into old, British plays; long conversation after long conversation; want a more romantic show.

Also It’s not emotional. One comic bit is weak. Doesn’t feel big in any way... Read more Read less

Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing, Must see

See it if You enjoy a classic play that is as relevant as when it was written. Well directed and talented cast.

Don't see it if If you expect the musical version this may require you to think more.

Also A must see, Bedlam provides a treat and reminds us what good theater s... Read more Read less

Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Great staging, Masterful

See it if Shaw done by a masterful group of 6 actors in pure Bedlam style , quick , clear, and engaging . Perfect counterpoint to MFL

Don't see it if You're expecting a full stage production with songs . ..that's uptown at Lincoln Center .

Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent

See it if you like interesting re-tellings of the classics.This is faithful to Shaw's play, but makes it fun, not preachy.Quirky, yet honest.

Don't see it if you want traditional casting and staging.This is great prep for seeing My Fair Lady. Explores the important themes of the musical.

Clever, Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Resonant

See it if You’ve never seen Pygmalion and only seen My Fair Lady. You love inventive theatricality. Great performances!

Don't see it if No reason not to. This is darn near close to perfect - whatever that is!

Delightful, Great acting, Intelligent, Quirky, Ambitious

See it if Shaw w/out the songs. Super Vaishnavi Sharma (Eliza) w/a top cast. Language, class & gender issues clear. Intimate staging. Bravo!

Don't see it if If you like classical theatre, don't miss it. Hail Bedlam!

Funny, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Delightful

See it if you want to see excellent actors in a classic play. The theater is very small and it is great to be so close to the actors.

Don't see it if N/A

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if Enjoy small theater, are close to the actors. Excellent cast. In the beginning you are part of the story.

Don't see it if Small theater, no reason not to enjoy.

Also You can see great from any seat. No intermission.

Rigorous, Enthralling, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing

See it if you like theater that respects a classic play so deeply that it is not afraid to look at that play with fresh eyes.

Don't see it if you do not like staging in which performer & audience share an intimate space.

Also This production manages to be both enthralling & deeply analytical—a s... Read more Read less

Clever, Great acting, Insipid, Must see, Relevant

See it if Fast paced, inventive adaptation of a classic.

Don't see it if You don't like actors playing multiple roles

Delightful, Intelligent, Great acting, Clever, Entertaining

See it if you want to see one of NY's best theatre co's do lots w/a Shaw classic in a creative, engaging, intimate comedy on class, gender... & race.

Don't see it if you want to miss out on another triumphant, captivating, astute Bedlam production; you fume at the idea of editing Shaw's venerated text.

Great acting, Inventive ,brilliant, delightful

See it if u want 2 c eric tucker breathe new exciting life into Shaw’s classic..full of surprises ... wonderful in every way…

Don't see it if I cant imagine any reason not to see this…

Clever, Absorbing, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting

See it if You like Bedlam’s creative takes on classics. The Doolittles as South Asian was a brilliant twist. Acting was great with multiple roles.

Don't see it if Don’t like innovative interpretations of classics.

Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant

See it if You are a fan of GB Shaw, this is one of his best plays. You love “My Fair Lady” but have never seen the classic drama on which it is based.

Don't see it if Long expository plays are not your thing. Shaw is very wordy by today’s standards. You Need elaborate sets to enjoy the classics !

Also I loved this play ! I found it so interesting to recognize lines famil... Read more Read less

Enchanting, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if It is intelligent, acted beautifully, with an important theme and thoughtful.Very cleverly staged and thoroughly enjoyable!

Don't see it if If Shaw is not to your taste and you are not interested in hearing the English language in all of its variety so beautifully spoken

Resonant, Enchanting, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Creative

See it if Another Bedlam hit. Excellent staging and acting got me to identify with the characters. The play has a lot of depth and made me think.

Don't see it if You're already familiar with the play and don't have as much to get out of it as I did. Or, Higgins' misogyny would be too big a turnoff.

Also I liked the irony that Eliza is able to grow and become a complete per... Read more Read less

Clever, Delightful, Funny, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you liked Bedlam's "Sense and Sensibility" or you appreciate classics with a sense of humor.

Don't see it if you're expecting "My Fair Lady" or your taste is traditional.

Relevant, Thought-provoking, Riveting

See it if Marvelous Bedlam presentation of a relevant classic presented in an intimate setting. Terrific actors performing in this excellent company.

Don't see it if Can't think of a reason not to see this Shaw revival unless you are a squashed cabbage leaf!

Entertaining, Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Just wonderful from beginning to end

See it if If you love to hear the English language written and spoken gloriously, if you love right in your face great acting, so great that you never

Don't see it if If you're not enchanted by brilliant speech, superb acting, a clever set.

Also think the performer isn't actually the person that are playing. The on... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Entertaining, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to see a really fine performance of one of Shaw's best works.

Don't see it if You prefer to think that narcissistic Henry Higgins become a romantic sweetheart as in My Fair Lady.

Delightful, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if want to see Shaw's original Pygmalion. Very different flavor than My Fair Lady. A much more realistic, if more poignant ending.

Don't see it if you dislike minimal staging.

Also this was a lovely production that was so clever that the first scene b... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Great staging

See it if Clever & well constructed show with acting to match. Really enjoyed!

Don't see it if You are not a committed Show going person with an open and easy going attitude.

Delightful, Absorbing, Funny, Indulgent, Intelligent

See it if you love Bedlam and their style, you want to see a literal acting MASTERCLASS by Ms. Sharma. She lifts & carries the whole piece.

Don't see it if you've had enough of Bedlam-style quirks, you can't stomach sitting through this play once again, you expect very experimental choices.

Also A solid piece, not as creative or realized as some past Bedlam product... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives (12)