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My Fair Lady

Playbill for My Fair Lady

A Musical in 2 Acts, 18 Scenes. Book and Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner: Music by Frederick Loewe. Adapted from George Bernard Shaw's play and Gabrial Pascal's motion picture Pygmalion. Original production directed by Moss Hart

Opened 15 March 1956 at the Mark Hellinger Theatre, moved 28 February 1962 to the Broadhurst Theatre, moved 18 April 1962 to the Broadway Theatre, and closed 29 September 1962 after 2717 performances.
Theatre Royal Drury Lane - April 30, 1958 (2281 perfs)


A Professor of phonetics, Henry Higgins is listening to the various speech patterns of the people outside St Paul's Church in Covent Garden, London. He bumps into an old colleague, Colonel Pickering, who has long admired the work that Higgins has achieved in the field of phonetics. Overhearing the strong cockney accent of a flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, Colonel Pickering wagers Higgins that he cannot turn Eliza from a cockney flower girl into a lady who will be accepted by the upper classes as one of their own. Intrigued by the challenge and confident of his own ability, Higgins installs Eliza into his home and proceeds to coach her and try to turn her into the lady that Pickering has challenged.

Meanwhile, coal-man Alfred Doolittle, Eliza's father, always one with an eye to the main chance, learns of the situation and attempts to capitalise on the events unfolding. He is unsuccessful.

More successful, however, is Higgins. Eliza is learning how to speak and act as an upper-class lady. She is taken to the social event of the season, the race meeting at Ascot where she manages to charm everyone - in spite of the odd lapse in speech - and especially a young man by the name of Freddy Eynsford-Hill.

Cover to the vocal score

Later she attends a magnificent ball where she is studied most intently by one of Higgin's ex-students, Zoltan Kaparthy who suggests to all around that Eliza is obviously a member of a European noble family. Once again Eliza has carried off the deception but receives no praise or acknowledgement of her achievements from Higgins. Deeply upset by his lack of feeling she leaves his home to stay with his mother, Mrs Higgins.

In the meantime, Alfred Doolittle has become something of a philosopher - and made some money into the bargain - and is lured into marriage by his long-time sweetheart.

Higgins cannot understand Eliza's actions and visits her at his mother's home where he is told, in no uncertain terms, by her that he is a rude, selfish, egomaniac. He leaves and back in his study muses over he differences between a woman and a man. The door opens and Eliza is back. Irascible as ever, Higgins demands his slippers as the curtain falls!

The flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, grubby daughter of a drunken dustman, is taken under the wing of Professor Higgins.

With assiduous work the arrogant Higgins does succeed in turning Eliza into an elegant debutante; but then he finds he can't live without her.

The lust Cockney dances in Covent Garden, the languid gavotte of the nobs in Ascot, the glitter of the Embassy Ball, the touching exaltation of Could Have Danced All Night- these are now world-famous set pieces that never lose their appeal.

Everyone, everywhere, has become accustomed to her face, but no one could ever find MY FAIR LADY anything other than one of the greatest musical shows ever conceived.

Probably the greatest musical ever - awaited with fervent anticipation before its New York opening and greeted with rapturous notices, My Fair Lady has become a legend in musical history.

Somehow Alan Lerner and Frederick Loewe contrived to create a perfect musical out of a flawless play - an achievement unmatched before or since. They retained the plot, characters and many of the lines from Shaw's Pygmalion and arranged them with a sparkling score. Every song is a show-stopper.


CAST (in order of appearance):

  • Buskers
  • Mrs. Eynsford-Hill
  • Eliza Doolittle
  • Freddy Eynsford-Hill
  • Colonel Pickering
  • A Bystander
  • Henry Higgins
  • Selsey Man
  • Hoxton Man
  • Another Bystander
  • First Cockney
  • Second Cockney
  • Third Cockney
  • Fourth Cockney
  • Bartender
  • Harry
  • Jamie
  • Alfred P. Doolittle
  • Mrs. Pearce
  • Mrs. Hopkins
  • Butler
  • Servants
  • Mrs. Higgins
  • Chauffeur
  • Footmen
  • Lord Boxington
  • Lady Boxington
  • Constable
  • Flower Girl
  • Zoltan Karpathy
  • Flunkey
  • Queen of Transylvania
  • Ambassador
  • Bartender
  • Mrs. Higgins' Maid

Singing Ensemble

Scenes and Settings

The place is London. The time, 1912



Musical Numbers

  1. Overture and Opening Scene
  2. SONG - Why Can't the English?- Higgins, with others - "Look at her, a prisoner of the gutter"
  3. SONG - Wouldn't It Be Loverly? - Eliza and Male Chorus - "It's rather dull in town "
  4. TRIO - With a Little Bit Of Luck - Doolittle, Jamie and Harry - "The Lord above gave man an arm of iron"
    4a - Change of scene
  5. SONG - I'm an Ordinary Man - Higgins - "I'm an ordinary man who desires nothing more"
    5a - Change of scene
  6. Reprise - With a Little BIt of Luck - (Doolittle with Chorus) - "A man was made to support his children"
  7. SONG - Just You Wait - Eliza - "Just you wait 'enry 'iggins"
  8. CHORUS - Poor Professor Higgins - Chorus with Higgins and Eliza - "Poor Professor Higgins"
  9. TRIO - The Rain in Spain - Eliza, Higgins and Pickering - The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain"
  10. SONG - I Could Have Danced all Night - Eliza with 1st and 2nd Maids and Mrs. Pearce - "Bed, bed, I couldn't go to bed"
  11. CHORUS - Ascot Gavotte - Chorus - "Ev'ry duke and earl and peer is here"
  12. End of Scene - Ensemble - "There they are again"
  13. SONG - On the Street Where You Live - Freddy, with Mrs. Pearce - "When she mentioned how her aunt"
  14. Eliza's entrance
  15. Introduction to promenade
  16. Promenade
  17. Embassy Waltz
  18. Entr'acte
  19. DUET - You Did It - Higgins, Pickering and Chorus - "Tonight, old man, you did it"
  20. Reprise - Just You Wait - (Eliza) - "Just you wait Henry Higgins"
    20a - Reprise - On the Street Where You Live - (Freddy) - "I have often walked this street before"
    20b - SONG - Show Me - (Eliza with Freddy) - - "Speak and the world is full of singing"
  21. MALE CHORUS - The Flower Market - (Male Chorus with solo, Eliza) - - "With one enormous chair"
  22. SONG - Get Me to the Church on Time - Doolittle and Chorus (with solo, Harry) - "Just a few more hours"
  23. Change of scene
  24. SONG - A Hymn to Him - Higgins, with Pickering - "What in all of heaven could have prompted her to go?"
    24a - Change of Scene
  25. SONG - Without You - Eliza with Higgins - "What a fool I was"
  26. SONG - I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face - Higgins - "Damn, damn, damn"
  27. Music for curtain calls


Violin 1 & 2; Viola; Cello; Bass; Reed 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5; Horn; Trumpet 1, 2 & 3; Trombone 1 & 2; Guitar; Percussion; Piano-Celeste.

My Fair Lady is also scored for two pianos.


Various cast recordings available