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Summer Production 2004 - MY FAIR LADY

| Audition details | My Fair Lady - Basic Info | Cast | Orchestra | Production staff | Schedule |

Musical Background
 

My Fair Lady

  Background of the Show
  Synopsis of the Show
  List of Characters
  Orchestra Instrumentation
  List of Scenes
  List of Musical Numbers
   
  Recommended Recording: Jay Records Link - Amazon Link
My Fair Lady, Jay Productions LTD
Masterworks Edition - 1998 - CDJAY2 - 1277
National Symphony Orchestra, John Owen Edwards Conducting
 
 
 

BACKGROUND OF MY FAIR LADY

The musical MY FAIR LADY was written by Alan Jay Lerner and based on the play Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw. The music was written by Frederick Loewe. The team of Lerner and Loewe was also responsible for several other hit Broadway shows including Brigadoon and Camelot.

STAGE PRODUCTION
The first production of My Fair Lady was staged by Moss Hart at the Mark Hellinger Theatre on March 15, 1956, with Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins, Julie Andrews as Liza Doolittle and Stanley Holloway as Alfred P. Doolittle. The show ran for 2,717 performances making it the longest running musical up to that time surpassing the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical play, Oklahoma!, which had held that record up to then. It also ran for 2,281 performances in London at the Drury Lane Theatre. Several New York revivals including 1976 with 377 performances and 1981 with 119 performances. The 1981 revival once again starred Rex Harrision.

MOVIE
The 1964 movie, directed by George Cukor, starred Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn with Stanley Holloway reviving his role as Alfred P. Doolittle. Audrey Hepburn's singing in the film was done by Marni Nixon (also dubbed the singing for Natalie Wood in West Side Story).

AWARDS
1955-1956

The New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical
The Outer Critics Circle Award for Musical
1956-1957
6 Tony Awards for Musical, Director, Conductor and Musical Director,
     Costume Designer, Scenic Designer and Actor
The Outer Critics Circle Award for Musical
1975-1976
The Tony Award for Actor - 2 Drama Desk Awards for Actor and Featured Actor
 
 

 
 

SYNOPSIS OF MY FAIR LADY

SETTING: London, March 1912.

Covent Garden is bustling with activity as flower girls are selling bouquets and buskers (street-entertainers) performing as the opera patrons arrive at the theatre. Freddy Eynsford-Hill knocks over the flowers of the cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle. She reacts loudly in a very thick cockney accent. Nearby, Professor Henry Higgins (an expert in spoken dialects) is taking notes of every word. Eliza thinks that he is a policeman, but Higgins explains that he is on a quest for new dialects of London's speech. Higgins boasts that he can correctly identify the origin of any Englishman within six miles of his home by the quality of his speech. Higgins complains that the English are unable to speak their own language correctly in the song Why Can't the English?. Higgins' friend. Colonel, Pickering, agrees to a wager with Higgins where Higgins must teach Eliza to speak, dress and act like a duchess at the embasy ball. Eliza expresses her idea of her perfect life in the song Wouldn't It Be Loverly.

Alfred P. Doolittle (Eliza's father) is found drinking in a run-down area in Tottenham Court Road with several of his friends. He finds himself short of money so he asks Eliza to give hime some. He sings about his unorthodox perspective on life in the song With a Little Bit of Luck.

Eliza, who has now moved into the home of Professor Higgins, begins her lessons on how to act, dress and talk like a lady. Higgins make it very clear to both Eliza and her father that his only interest in Eliza is the experiment, and as a confirmed bachelor, he would never allows himself to get involved with a woman. He sings the song I'm an Ordinary Man to explain his reasons. After a long and frustrating period of time, Eliza figures out how to lose her cockney accent. As she realizes that she can finally speak without the accent, her lesson turns into the song The Rains in Spain with Higgins and Pickering joining in. Extatic and unable to sleep, Eliza sings I Could Have Danced All Night.

Higgins decides to bring the "new" Eliza to his mother's box at the Ascot races to see if she would really pass as a lady. The song Ascot Gavotte features all of the elegant gentlemen and ladies watching the races with their very proper mannerisms. Higgins enters with Eliza in a gorgous gown looking every bit like a proper lady. The afternoon is somewhat tarnished when her enthusiasm for her horse compells her to indulge in unladylike cheering. Freddy Eynsford-Hill is immediately taken by Eliza's charms and falls in love with her. Not able to put her out of his mind, he waits in front of Professer Higgins' house to catch a glimpse of Eliza. As he waits he sings the enchanting song, On the Street Where You Live.

Eliza's final test is the embassy ball. She enters the embassy looking and acting as if she were royalty. She dances the Embassy Waltz with Professor Higgins and is noticed and admired by all. They are all curious about her identty and speculate that she is of royal Hungarian blood and the experiment is a great success. The crowning achievement becomes her interaction with Karpathy, a European phonetics expert. Karpathy invites her to dance and commends her on the pureness of her English. When they return to Higgins' home, Higgins and Pickering revel in their success as they indulge in self congratulation. They ignore Eliza and her part in the experiment. Eliza on the other hand is more nostalgic. Eventually, she realizes that she may have been better off staying as a simple flower girl. She gets mad at Higgins because she doesn't know what she would do as a lady, and she demands recognition for her part in the experiment. Higgins' suggestion that she marry some nice young man gets her even more upset and she rushes out of the house, only to run into young Freddy. He claims his love for her, but she rebuffs him and turns her anger toward him with the song Show Me and leaves. Eliza wanders the streets and eventually returns to her old place in the flower market outside of Covent Garden. She is dejected when no one recognizes her, not even her own father Alfred Doolittle.When he finally does realize that it is his daughter, he annouces to her that he has become wealthy and is to be married to her mother and sings the rousing Get Me to the Church on Time.

Higgins finds out the Eliza has left and sings the song, A Hymn to Him. He goes to his mother's house, where he finds Eliza. He would like her to return to his house, but Eliza mentions that Freddy has asked her to marry him. This sets Higgins into a rage and he calls her a fool. Eliza makes it clear that she no longer needs Higgins and she is free to marry anybody she wishes and sings Without You. Higgins returns home and can't help but think about Eliza. When he realizes that Eliza has become an entirely independent and admirable human being and how much she meant to him he sings the song I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face. He finally comes to the conclusion that he can't live without her and as he is saying these things, Eliza quietly enters the room and hears his words. He finally notices her and realizing that she has returned to stay, ends the show by leaning back in his chair with a long, contented sigh and saying "Eliza? Where the devil are my slippers?"

 
 

 
 
CAST OF CHARACTERS (* principal vocal part)

Eliza Doolittle *
A cockney flower girl from Lisson Grove working outside Covent Garden. Her potential to become “a lady” becomes the object of a bet between Higgins and Pickering.
Professor Henry Higgins *
British, upper class professional bachelor, world famous phonetics expert, teacher and author of “Higgins’ Universal Alphabet.”
Alfred P. Doolittle *
Eliza’s father; an elderly but vigorous dustman.
Colonel Hugh Pickering *
Retired British officer with colonial experience and the author of “Spoken Sanskrit.”
Freddie Eynsford-Hill *
Upper class young man who becomes completely smitten with Eliza.
Mrs. Higgins
Henry’s long-suffering mother.
Professor Zoltan Karpathy
A bearded Hungarian; former phonetics student of Henry Higgins.
Mrs. Pearce *
Henry Higgins’ housekeeper.
Mrs. Eynsford-Hill *
A friend of Mrs. Higgins’ and Freddy’s mother.
George
Bartender who works at the Tottenham Court Road Pub.
Harry *
Drinking companion of Alfred Doolittle.
Jamie *
Drinking companion of Alfred Doolittle.
Mrs. Hopkins
A cockney woman of Tottenham Court
A Bystander
Opening scene, (2 men) a Bystander with another Bystander outside Covent Garden.
Cockney Quartet * (First, Second, Third & Fourth Cockney) –
In Covent Garden Market; the male Cockney Quartet.
Butler
Henry Higgins household employee.
Footman
Henry Higgins house, 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
Opening scene, bystander outside Covent Garden.
Hoxton Man
Opening scene, bystander outside Covent Garden.
Two Maids *
Henry Higgins household, non-speaking.
Three Buskers
Street performers, outside Covent Garden, non-speaking.
Six Servants
Henry Higgins household, non-speaking chorus singers. S-S-A-A-T-B
Two Stewards
Ascot employees, non-speaking.
Singing & Dancing Ensembles
The Ascot Race patrons, Embassy Ball guests including the Queen of Transylvania and her escort, the Ambassador and his wife and Dr. Themistocles Stephanos, Covent Garden Scene Crowd, Tottenham Court Crowd, etc.
Various Voices
doubling with single spoken lines
Angry Woman
Act I – Scene 2
Angry Man
Act I – Scene 2
Charles
Mrs. Higgins Chauffer - Act I – Scene 6
Policeman
Wimpole Street - Act I – Scene 8
Queen of Transylvania
Act I – Scene 10
Maid
Mrs. Higgins employee - Act II – Scene 5
 
 

 
 

ORCHESTRA INSTRUMENTATION

Full Orchestration

Strings
Winds
Percussion
Violin A Flute-Piccolo Timpani (2 Drums)
Violin B Oboe-English Horn Snare Drums (Small Pitch)
Viola Clarinet I Snare Drums (Deep Pitch)
Cello Clarinet II Bass Drum
Bass Bassoon Tom Tom
Harp Horns I & II Suspended Cymbal
  Trumpets I & II Hi-hat Cymbal
  Trumpet III Xylophone
  Trombone I Chimes
  Trombone II Glockenspiel
  Tuba Horse Racing Signal (Cued for Bells)
    Triangle
    Tambourine
    Wood Block
    Castanets
    Cow Bell
    Sandpaper Blocks
 
 

 
 

LIST OF SCENES

SETTING: The place is London, the time 1912

ACT ONE
Scene 1 Outside The Opera House, Covent Garden A cold March Night
Scene 2 A Tenement Section - Tottenham Court Road Later that evening
Scene 3 Higgins’ Study The next day
Scene 4 Tenement Section (same as Act I – Scene 2) Mid-day, several weeks later
Scene 5 Higgins’ Study Later that afternoon
Scene 6 Outside Ascot A July afternoon
Scene 7 Inside a Club Tent, Ascot Immediately following
Scene 8 Outside Higgins’ House, Wimpole Street Later that day
Scene 9 Higgins’ Study Evening six weeks later
Scene 10 Transylvanian Embassy - Outside the Ballroom Later that evening
Scene 11 The Ballroom of the Embassy Immediately following

ACT II
Scene 1 Higgins’ Study 3:00 the following morning
Scene 2 Outside Higgins’ House (same as Act I – Scene 8) Immediately following
Scene 3 Flower Market of Covent Garden 5:00 in the morning
Scene 4 Upstairs Hall of Higgins’ House 11:00 the following morning
Scene 5 The Garden of Mrs. Higgins’ House Later that morning
Scene 6 Outside Higgins’ House (same as Act I – Scene 8) Dusk, that afternoon
Scene 7 Higgins’ Study Immediately following
 
 

 
 

LIST OF MUSICAL NUMBERS

ACT ONE
1
Overture and Opening Scene Orchestra
2
Why Can't The English? Henry Higgins
3
Wouldn't It Be Loverly? Eliza Doolittle & the Cockney Quartet
4
With A Little Bit Of Luck Alfred Doolittle, Jamie & Harry
5
I'm An Ordinary Man Henry Higgins
6
With A Little Bit Of Luck - Reprise Alfred Doolittle, Jamie, Harry & Chorus
7
Just You Wait Eliza Doolittle
8
The Servant's Chorus Henry Higgins, Eliza Doolittle & Servants
9
The Rain In Spain Henry Higgins, Eliza Doolittle & Colonel Pickering
10
I Could have Danced All Night Eliza Doolittle, Mrs. Pearce,1st & 2nd Maid
11
Ascot Gavotte Chorus
12
On The Street Where You Live Freddy Eynsford-Hill
13
Promenade Orchestra
14
Embassy Waltz Orchestra

ACT TWO

18
Entr'act Orchestra
19
You Did It Henry Higgins, Colonel Pickering & Servants
20
Just You Wait - Reprise Eliza Doolittle
21
On The Street Where You Live - Reprise Freddy Eynsford-Hill
22
Show Me Eliza Doolittle & Freddy Eynsford-Hill
23
The Flower Market - Wouldn't It Be Loverly? The Cockney Quartet
24
Get Me To The Church On Time Alfred Doolittle, Jamie, Harry & Chorus
25
A Hymn To Him Henry Higgins, Colonel Pickering
26
Without You Henry Higgins, Eliza Doolittle
27
I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face Henry Higgins
28
Bows & Exit Music Orchestra
 
 

 

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