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.
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.
- Male - Speaking 17 : Non-speaking 7
- Female - Speaking 6 : Non-speaking 7
- Plus singing and dancing ensembles, Chorus and 6 voices (3 male & 3 female) with single lines
CAST (in order of appearance):
Scenes and Settings
The place is London. The time, 1912
- Scene 1. Outside the Opera House, Covent Garden-A cold March night
- Scene 2. A Tenement Section, Tottenham Court Road-Immediately following
- Scene 3. Higgins' Study-The following morning
- Scene 4. A Tenement Section, Tottenham Court Road-Three days later
- Scene 5. Higgins' Study-Later that day
- Scene 6. Near the Race Meeting, Ascot-A July afternoon
- Scene 7. Inside a Club Tent, Ascot-Immediately following
- Scene 8. Outside Higgins' House, Wimpole Street-Later that afternoon
- Scene 9. Higgins' Study-Six weeks later
- Scene 10. The Promenade of the Embassy-Later that night
- Scene 11. The Ballroom of the Embassy-Immediately following
- Scene 1. Higgins' Study-3 o'clock the following morning
- Scene 2. Outside Higgins' House, Wimpole Street-Immediately following
- Scene 3. Flower Market of Covent Garden-5 o'clock that morning
- Scene 4. Upstairs Hall of Higgins' house-11 o'clock that morning
- Scene 5. The Conservatory of Mrs. Higgins' house-Later that day
- Scene 6. Outside Higgins' House, Wimpole Street-Immediately following
- Scene 7. Higgins' Study-Immediately following
- Overture and Opening Scene
- SONG - Why Can't the English?- Higgins,
with others - "Look at her, a prisoner of the
- SONG - Wouldn't It Be Loverly? - Eliza
and Male Chorus - "It's rather dull in
- TRIO - With a Little Bit Of Luck - Doolittle,
Jamie and Harry - "The Lord above gave man an
arm of iron"
4a - Change of scene
- SONG - I'm an Ordinary Man - Higgins -
"I'm an ordinary man who desires nothing more"
5a - Change of scene
- Reprise - With a Little BIt of Luck - (Doolittle
with Chorus) - "A man was made to support his
- SONG - Just You Wait - Eliza - "Just
you wait 'enry 'iggins"
- CHORUS - Poor Professor Higgins - Chorus
with Higgins and Eliza - "Poor Professor Higgins"
- TRIO - The Rain in Spain - Eliza, Higgins
and Pickering - The rain in Spain stays mainly in the
- SONG - I Could Have Danced all Night - Eliza
with 1st and 2nd Maids and Mrs. Pearce - "Bed,
bed, I couldn't go to bed"
- CHORUS - Ascot Gavotte - Chorus -
"Ev'ry duke and earl and peer is here"
- End of Scene - Ensemble - "There they are again"
- SONG - On the Street Where You Live - Freddy,
with Mrs. Pearce - "When she mentioned how her
- Eliza's entrance
- Introduction to promenade
- Embassy Waltz
- DUET - You Did It - Higgins, Pickering
and Chorus - "Tonight, old man, you did it"
- 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"
- MALE CHORUS - The Flower Market - (Male
Chorus with solo, Eliza) - - "With one enormous
- SONG - Get Me to the Church on Time - Doolittle
and Chorus (with solo, Harry) - "Just a few more
- Change of scene
- SONG - A Hymn to Him - Higgins, with
Pickering - "What in all of heaven could have
prompted her to go?"
24a - Change of Scene
- SONG - Without You - Eliza with Higgins - "What
a fool I was"
- SONG - I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face - Higgins - "Damn,
- 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