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My Fair Lady

Description

This show is the standard by which all others are measured. Based on Shaw’s play and Pascal’s movie “Pygmalion,” with book, music and lyrics by Lerner and Loewe, MY FAIR LADY is triumphant. With Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?, With a Little Bit of Luck, The Rain in Spain, I Could Have Danced All Night, On the Street Where You Live, Get Me to the Church on Time and I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face it’s no wonder everyone — not just Henry Higgins — falls in love with Eliza Doolittle. *Music samples provided courtesy of Jay Records and Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Synopsis

The first encounter between Professor Henry Higgins, the brilliant, crotchety, middle-aged bachelor who is England’s leading phoneticist, and Eliza Doolittle, the little cockney gutter sparrow, takes place near the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, late on a cold March night. Eliza is selling violets. Higgins is out on his endless quest for new dialects of London’s speech. A handsome young aristocrat, Freddy Eynsford-Hill, takes no notice of her when she tries to sell him violets. Colonel Pickering, also a linguistic expert, comes to stay with Higgins at his flat. Eliza’s squalid father, Alfred Doolittle, outlines his optimistic if somewhat unorthodox philosophy of life in the rousing With a Little Bit of Luck.
Eliza comes to Higgins’ flat to be instructed in the English language, in order to transform herself into a “lidy.” Pickering challenges Higgins to “metamorphose the guttersnipe into a paragon of verbal correctitude.” Higgins looks upon her not as a person but as raw material for his experiment; he drills Eliza for weeks. As no hint of progress is made Eliza loses her courage, Higgins loses his temper and even Pickering’s patience wears thin. In her anger and futility, Eliza creates a set of mean fantasies involving her professor.
At last she improves, and they all proclaim the victor in The Rain in Spain. In the flush of his first success, Higgins puts Eliza to a preliminary test. He will introduce her to his mother’s snobbish guests at the Ascot Race Meeting the following week. Eliza expresses her own towering exaltation in I Could Have Danced All Night. While not romantic, her sense of triumph is tied up with a new feeling for Higgins. Eliza, strikingly pretty in her new gown and hairdo, appears at the races. Instructed to restrict her conversation to the weather and everyone’s health, she says her little set pieces flawlessly. The illusion is shattered when her enthusiasm for the horse she is backing impels her to indulge in a bout of violently unladylike cheering.
Freddy Eynsford-Hill falls hopelessly in love with the new Eliza, and later pours out On the Street Where You Live at her window. Six weeks later Higgins, in a crucial test, presents Eliza at a full-dress Embassy ball. She is the object of admiration and everyone speculates on her identity. It becomes obvious that Eliza must charm Karpathy, a European phonetics expert. At the height of the ball, Karpathy invites her to dance and comments on the pureness of her English.
Pickering and Higgins, back at the flat, indulge in self congratulation. Neither of them takes into account Eliza’s personal accomplishment in the matter. Eliza has absorbed the sophistication and the courage to see the unfairness of this, and she blows up, demanding recognition. The Professor is not so much affronted as astonished; it is as though a statue had come to life and spoken.
Infuriated and frustrated, Eliza storms out of the house. She encounters Freddy and turns her fury on him. Eliza aimlessly walks the streets of the town, the remainder of the night. She encounters her father, drunk and dressed for a fashionable wedding. He has become wealthy, and Eliza’s mother is marrying him at last. Doolittle gives an account of his celebrations in Get Me to the Church on Time.
Higgins discovers that he is hurt because Eliza left him. He meets her at his mother’s flat where she has gone for advice. They argue violently and she storms out. It is only a moment after her departure that Higgins finally wakes up to the fact that Eliza has become an entirely independent and admirable human being. He realizes that he will have a difficult time getting on without her. This he admits to himself in I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face.
Back at his flat he sinks into his chair prepared to face a bleak, lonely future. But just then-a moment before the final curtain falls-a figure emerges from the shadowy corner of the room, and Higgins recognizes Eliza. He leans back with a long, contented sigh and speaks softly: “Eliza? Where the devil are my slippers?”
-Copyright©1962 by Alan J. Lerner and Frederick Loewe

Credits

Book and Lyrics by ALAN JAY LERNER
Music by FREDERICK LOEWE
“Adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s Play and Gabriel Pascal’s motion picture ‘PYGMALION’”

Orchestration

Full Orchestration, Wind Band Arrangement, Combo Instrumentation and 2-Piano Arrangement

Full Orchestration

2 Violin A
1 Violin B
1 Viola
1 Cello
1 Bass

1 Flute-Piccolo
1 Oboe-English Horn
1 Clarinet I
1 Clarinet II
1 Bassoon

1 Horns I & II
1 Trumpets I & II
1 Trumpet III
1 Trombone I
1 Trombone II
1 Tuba

1 Percussion*
1 Harp

Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with the rehearsal material.
(There is no Piano in the orchestration)

* Percussion:

Timpani (2 Drums)
Snare Drums (Small & Deep Pitch)
Bass Drum
Tom Tom
Suspended Cymbal
Hi-hat Cymbal
Xylophone
Chimes
Glockenspiel
Horse Racing Signal (Cued for Bells)
Triangle
Tambourine
Wood Block
Castanets
Cow Bell
Sandpaper Blocks

A Full Score (Partitur) in 4 volumes is available, at an additional charge, with the rental of the full orchestration.

Wind Band Arrangement

1 Flutes I & II
1 Oboes I & II
1 Clarinet I
1 Clarinet II
1 Clarinet III
1 Alto Clarinet
1 Bass Clarinet
1 Bassoons I & II
1 Alto Sax I
1 Alto Sax II
1 Tenor Sax
1 Baritone Sax

1 Horns I & II
1 Horns III
1 Trumpet I
1 Trumpet II
1 Trumpet III
1 Trombone I
1 Trombone II
1 Trombone III
1 Euphonium
1 Tuba
1 String Bass

2 Timpani & Percussion I
1 Percussion II

Piano-Conductor’s Score for bandstration sent with rehearsal material

(There is no Piano in the Bandstration)

Combo Instrumentation

3 Violins ABC
1 Cello
1 Bass

1 Reed I: Piccolo, Flute & Clarinet
1 Reed II: Clarinet
1 Reed III: Clarinet & Bass Clarinet

1 Trumpets I & II
1 Trombone

Piano (Piano-Conductor’s Score for combo sent with the rehearsal material)

1 Percussion

(NOTE: Cello and Violin C are optional parts)

Special Arrangement for 2 Pianos

Rehearsal Materials

1       Piano Conductor’s Score
1       Prompt Book
5       Prompt Books for Dialogue Parts
1       Original Cast CD
24     Dialogue Parts
35     Chorus-Vocal Parts

Optional Additional Materials

1       Stage Manager’s Guide

Cast List

Principals

(2 female; 6 male)

Eliza Doolittle — a Cockney flower girl from Lisson Grove working outside Covent Garden
Colonel Pickering — retired British officer with colonial experience; the author of “Spoken Sanskrit”
Henry Higgins — British upper class professional bachelor, world famous phonetics expert
Freddy Eynsford-Hill — upper class young man who becomes completely smitten with Eliza
Alfred P. Doolittle — Eliza’s father; an elderly but vigorous dustman
Harry — drinking companion of Alfred Doolittle
Jamie — drinking companion of Alfred Doolittle
Mrs. Pearce — Henry Higgins’ housekeeper

Supporting

Mrs. Eynsford-Hill — a friend of Mrs. Higgins’ and Freddy’s mother
Mrs. Higgins — Henry’s long-suffering mother
Bartender (George) — works the Tottenham Court Road Pub
Mrs. Hopkins — a Cockney woman of Tottenham Court
Professor Zoltan Karpathy — a bearded Hungarian; former phonetics student of Henry Higgins
A Bystander — outside Covent Garden in the opening scene
4 Cockney Men — the male Cockney quartet in Covent Garden Market
Butler — Henry Higgins’ household employee
Footman — Henry Higgins’ household; non-speaking
Lord Boxington — friend of Mrs. Higgins; Ascot race patron
Lady Boxington — at Ascot races; non-speaking
Flower Girl — working in Wimpole Street
Footman — Embassy employee
Footman — Embassy employee; non-speaking
Selsey Man — bystander outside Covent Garden, opening scene
Hoxton Man — bystander outside Covent Garden, opening scene
2 Maids — Henry Higgins’ household; non-speaking
3 Buskers — street performers outside Covent Garden; non-speaking
6 Servants — Henry Higgins’ household; non-speaking chorus singers S-S-A-A-T-B
2 Stewards — Ascot employees; non-speaking

Singing and Dancing Ensembles

The Ascot Race patrons

Embassy Ball guests, including

The Queen of Transylvania and her escort
The Ambassador and his wife
Dr. Themistocles Stephanos

Covent Garden scene Crowd
Tottenham Court Crowd, etc.

Various Voices

Doubling roles with single spoken lines

Angry Woman — Act I, Scene 2
Angry Man — Act I, Scene 2
Charles — Mrs. Higgins’ Chauffeur, Act I, Scene 6
Policemen — Wimpole Street, Act I, Scene 8
Maid — Mrs. Higgins’ employee, Act II, Scene 5

The original Broadway production had a cast of 48 performers, including chorus. Some doubling was employed in the minor parts.

Brief History

MY FAIR LADY played for 2,717 performances on Broadway at the Mark Hellinger, Broadhurst and Broadway Theatres starring Rex Harrison, Julie Andrews, Stanley Holloway and Robert Coote. It was the longest running musical at the time. It played for 2,281 performances in London at the Drury Lane Theatre. It was revived on Broadway in 1976 for 377 performances, in 1981 for 181 performances, and most recently in 1993 for 165 performances at the Virginia Theatre starring Richard Chamberlain as Professor Henry Higgins.

Awards (1956)

The New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical
The Outer Critics Circle Award for Musical
The Theatre World Award (John Michael King)

Awards (1957)

6 Tony Awards for Musical, Director, Musical Director, Costume Designer, Scenic Designer and Actor
The Outer Critics Circle Award for Musical

Awards (1976)

The Tony Award for Actor
2 Drama Desk Awards for Actor and Featured Actor
The Theatre World Award (Christine Andreas)