My Fair Lady


NOTE: Tams-Witmark proudly licenses MY FAIR LADY in many countries around the globe.

In the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom, and all other British Reversionary Territories, MY FAIR LADY is licensed by Music Theatre International. (For a full list of British Reversionary Territories, click here.)

This show is the standard by which all other musicals are measured. Based on George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion, with book, music and lyrics by Lerner and Loewe, MY FAIR LADY is gloriously triumphant. The tale of a cockney flower girl transformed into an elegant lady features one of musical theatre’s greatest scores. Songs include “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.”

Music samples provided courtesy of Jay Records and Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Photo courtesy of Big League Theatricals

  • Synopsis
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Materials
  • Cast
  • History
  • Musical Numbers
  • Upcoming
  • 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 (“Why Can’t The English?”). A handsome young aristocrat, Freddy Eynsford-Hill, takes no notice of her when she tries to sell him violets (“Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?”). 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 (“Just You Wait”). 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.” Eliza, strikingly pretty in her new gown and hairdo, appears at the races (“Ascot Gavotte”). 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 (“You Did It”). 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 (“Show Me”). 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 (“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 (“Without You”) 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 (“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

  • [Licensee]

    MY FAIR LADY (100%)

    Book and Lyrics by                 Music by
                    ALAN JAY LERNER        FREDERICK LOEWE (75%)

    Adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s Play and
             Gabriel Pascal’s Motion Picture “PYGMALION” (50%)
         Original Production Directed by Moss Hart (50%)

    No names shall be billed in type as large or as prominent as those of the authors except the name of the play and stars. In the programs, the credits shall appear on the title page thereof.

    The title page of the program shall contain the following announcement in type size at least one-half the size of the authors’ credits:

    Lerner and Loewe’s
    is presented by arrangement with
    Tams-Witmark, A Concord Theatricals Company

    Additionally, you agree to include the above language hyperlinked to on all websites on which you promote the play.

  • Choose either Full Orchestration, Wind Band Arrangement, Combo Instrumentation or 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

    2 Horn I & II
    2 Trumpet 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
    Horse Racing Signal (Cued for Bells)
    Wood Block
    Cow Bell
    Sandpaper Blocks

    Optional additional materials are available (see list under Rehearsal Materials).

    Wind Band Arrangement

    2 Flute I & II
    2 Oboe I & II
    1 Clarinet I
    1 Clarinet II
    1 Clarinet III
    1 Alto Clarinet
    1 Bass Clarinet
    2 Bassoon I & II
    1 Alto Sax I
    1 Alto Sax II
    1 Tenor Sax
    1 Baritone Sax

    2 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

    2 Trumpet 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

    2 Piano/Conductor Scores
    20 Libretto/Vocal Books

    Optional Additional Materials

    1       Full Score (Partitur) in 4 volumes is available, at an additional charge, with the rental of the full orchestration. [SAMPLE]
    1       Stage Manager’s Guide

  • 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


    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
    Queen of Transylvania – Act I, Scene 10
    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.

  • 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)

  • Act I

    1. Overture and Opening Scene – Orchestra
    2. “Why Can’t The English?” – Higgins
    3. “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?” – Eliza & Ensemble
    4. “With A Little Bit Of Luck” – Doolittle, Harry & Jamie
    4a. Scene Change – Orchestra
    5. “I’m An Ordinary Man” – Higgins
    5a. Scene Change – Orchestra
    6. Reprise: “With A Little Bit Of Luck” – Doolittle & Ensemble
    6a. Scene Change – Orchestra
    7. “Just You Wait” – Eliza
    8. The Servants’ Chorus – Six Servants
    9. “The Rain In Spain” – Higgins, Eliza, & Pickering
    10. “I Could Have Danced All Night” – Eliza with Mrs. Pearce & Two Maids
    10a. Scene Change – Orchestra
    11. “Ascot Gavotte” – Full Ensemble
    12. End of Gavotte & Blackout Music – Orchestra
    13. “On The Street Where You Live” – Freddy
    14. Eliza’s Entrance – Orchestra
    15. Introduction To Promenade – Orchestra
    16. Promenade – Orchestra
    17. The Embassy Waltz – Orchestra, with Higgins, Eliza, Pickering, Karpathy, & Full Ensemble

    Act II

    18. Entr’acte – Orchestra
    19. “You Did It” – Higgins, Pickering, Mrs. Pearce, & the Servants
    20. Reprise: “Just You Wait” – Eliza
    20a. Reprise: “On The Street Where You Live” – Freddy
    20b. “Show Me” – Eliza & Freddy
    21. The Flower Market / Reprise: “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” – Eliza & Cockney Men
    22. “Get Me To The Church On Time” – Doolittle & Ensemble
    23. Scene Change – Orchestra
    24. “Hymn to Him” – Higgins
    24a. Scene Change – Orchestra
    25. “Without You” – Higgins & Eliza
    26. “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face” – Higgins
    27. Music For Curtain Calls – Orchestra
    28. Exit Music – Orchestra

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