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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) SYNOPSIS 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! STORY Act I In Edwardian London, Eliza Doolittle is a flower girl with a thick Cockney accent. The noted phonetician Professor Henry Higgins encounters Eliza at Covent Garden and laments the vulgarity of her dialect (“Why Can’t the English?”). Higgins also meets Colonel Pickering, another linguist, and invites him to stay as his houseguest. Eliza and her friends wonder what it would be like to live a comfortable life (“Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?”). Eliza’s father, Alfred P. Doolittle, stops by the next morning searching for money for a drink (“With a Little Bit of Luck”). Soon after, Eliza comes to Higgins’s house, seeking elocution lessons so that she can get a job as an assistant in a florist’s shop. Higgins wagers Pickering that, within six months, by teaching Eliza to speak properly, he will enable her to pass for a proper lady. Eliza becomes part of Higgins’s household. Though Higgins sees himself as a kind-hearted man who merely cannot get along with women (“I’m an Ordinary Man”), to others he appears self-absorbed and misogynistic.