Broadway in Dexter: Tony and Academy Award-winning designer Tony Walton says Jessica Grove is his “muse in my directing adventures, and she has called my wife and I her ‘New York parents.'” So last year, when he heard Grove was the witch in the Encore Musical Theatre Company’s Into the Woods, Walton flew to Michigan to see her. In short order, the Dexter theater nabbed Walton to direct My Fair Lady, with Grove as Eliza Doolittle.

Walton was engaged to his first wife, Julie Andrews, when she created Eliza in the 1956 original Broadway production–he says he saw the show maybe 300 times. He wanted to pay homage to that production, but could he without Broadway technology, space, and budget? Walton, who is co-designing as well as directing Encore’s Lady, met the challenge by using rear screens; projected images evoke illustrations from the first edition of Pygmalion that influenced Oliver Smith’s original settings and Cecil Beaton’s costumes. One fine pair of dancers substitute for several in a ballroom scene–when their image is projected multiple times.

Walton is not a newcomer to small venues. When Emma Walton Hamilton, his daughter with Julie Andrews, co-founded the Bay Street Theater on Long Island, he designed its first show on a $100 budget. He also directs frequently at the Irish Repertory Theatre in New York, where he first worked with actor Daniel Gerroll, who has appeared on Broadway, film, and TV. Gerroll is in Dexter, too, co-starring as Professor Higgins.