MY FAIR LADY

Book and Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner

Based on Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

Music by Frederick Loewe

Production staged by Moss Hart

My Fair Lady Poster

Cast
Buskers Imelda de Martin, Carl Jeffrey, Joe Rocco
Mrs. Eynsford-Hill Viola Roache
Eliza Doolittle Julie Andrews
Freddy Eynsford-Hill Michael King
Colonel Pickering Robert Coote
A Bystander Leo Britt
Henry Higgins Rex Harrison
Selsey Man Gordon Dilworth
Hoxton Man David Thomas
Another Bystander Rod McLennan
First Cockney Reid Shelton
Second Cockney Glenn Kezer
Third Cockney James Morris
Fourth Cockney Herb Surface
Bartender David Thomas
Harry Gordon Dilworth
Jamie Rod McLennan
Alfred P. Doolittle Stanley Holloway
Mrs. Pearce Philippa Bevans
Mrs. Hopkins Oliver Reeves-Smith
Butler Reid Shelton
Servants Rosemary Gaines, Colleen O'Connor, Muriel Shaw
Gloria van Dorpe, Glenn Kezer
Mrs. Higgins Cathleen Nesbitt
Chauffeur Barton Mumaw
Footmen Gordon Ewing, William Krach
Lord Boxington Gordon Dilworth
Lady Boxington Olive Reeves-Smith
Constable Barton Mumaw
Flower Girl Cathy Conklin
Zoltan Karparthy Leo Britt
Flunkey Paul Brown
Queen of Transylvania Maribel Hammer
Ambassador Rod McLennan
Bartender Paul Brown
Mrs. Higgins' Maid Judith Williams

Produced for records by Goddard Lieberson

MY FAIR LADY opened at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven February 4, 1956 and at the Mark Hellinger Theatre in New York on March 15, 1956 and ran for 2,717 performances, closing on September 29, 1962, a run of nearly seven years, the longest running show of its time (until 1968 when FIDDLER ON THE ROOF broke the record).  The original cast album was recorded March 24, 1956.  The show was funded by CBS for $400,000.  By 1978, CBS had received over $42 million on that investment; in 1965 Warner Brothers calculated the gross revenue of the theatrical release of the film, tickets for all the stage versions and all the recordings was over $800 million.

Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe first collaborated in 1942 on LIFE OF THE PARTY.  Prior to that Lerner (born August 31, 1918)  had written for two Harvard Hasty Pudding shows and hundreds of radio scripts.  Loewe was born in Vienna on June 10, 1901 where he was a prize winning pianist.  He emigrated to the U.S. in 1924 and worked as a cowboy, a professional boxer and a concert pianist. For their working partnership, Lerner would come up with a title, then Loewe would compose the melody and finally Lerner would set lyrics to it.  Loewe would improvise at the piano, until Lerner would say "That's it."  Sometimes he would compose a melody in a matter of hours; sometimes it took two or three days.  Lerner confessed to being "manic with excitement" when Loewe finished a piece of music.  Regardless of when Loewe completed a melody, Lerner would never start the lyric until early in the morning.  Loewe would never play the melody for anyone else until the lyric was written.  Anecdotes and quotes in this webpage are chiefly from THE STREET WHERE I LIVE, a 1978 memoir by Alan Jay Lerner about the creation of MY FAIR LADY, GIGI and CAMELOT.

 Their first Broadway offering was WHAT'S UP (1943), followed by THE DAY BEFORE SPRING (1945) , BRIGADOON (1947) and PAINT YOUR WAGON (1951).  In addition, they collaborated on the script for GIGI (1958) which went on to win 9 Oscars, including one for Lerner's screenplay and one for the title song.  Lerner had previously written the screenplay for ROYAL WEDDING (1951) and AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (1951), for which he also won the Academy Award. Click here for Lerner's other screenwriting credits.  (Among his other song titles, I was surprised to learn he had written HOW COULD YOU BELIEVE ME WHEN I SAID I LOVE YOU WHEN YOU KNOW I'VE BEEN A LIAR ALL MY LIFE?, which I had always thought was an old vaudeville number but is actually from ROYAL WEDDING.)  After Loewe retired due to ill health, Lerner continued to work with other composers on such shows as ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER (1966 - Burton Lane), COCO (1969 - Andre Previn), LOLITA, MY LOVE (1971 - John Barry), 1600 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE (1976 - Leonard Bernstein), CARMELINA (1979 - Burton Lane) and DANCE A LITTLE CLOSER (1983 - Charles Strouse).  He and Fritz Loewe were reunited for the stage version of GIGI (1973) and the film THE LITTLE PRINCE (1974).  Following MY FAIR LADY, they collaborated on CAMELOT (1960).  Lerner and Loewe received the  Kennedy Center Award in 1985.  Alan J. Lerner died June 14, 1986 and Fritz Loewe on February 14, 1988.

Lerner and Loewe struggled with turning George Bernard Shaw's PYGMALION into a musical off and on from 1952.  Prior to that Rodgers and Hammerstein had worked on it for a year before giving up, defeated.  In 1954, Lerner hit upon the idea of setting to music the things that in Shaw's play happened off stage between acts.  Rex Harrison was the first performer cast.  He suggested Robert Coote for Pickering.  For a while, Mary Martin was interested in playing Liza, but when Lerner and Loewe played for her five songs they had completed by then, including THE ASCOT GAVOTTE and JUST YOU WAIT 'ENRY 'IGGINS, she found them unfunny and derivative.  Then Lerner and Loewe saw THE BOY FRIEND starring Julie Andrews and realized they had found their leading lady.  While in London to persuade Harrison to play Higgins, they also contacted Stanley Holloway to play Eliza's dustman father.

The show was for a while called LIZA and then LADY LIZA.  Fritz Loewe wanted to call it FANFAROON, an obscure English term for someone who blows his own fanfare.  A song meant to be sung by Higgins, COME TO THE BALL, was considered, as well.  Finally, the show needed to be named for the purposes of advertising, and as a compromise, with the idea that the title could always be changed, MY FAIR LADY was picked as the title everyone disliked the least!  When Lerner mentioned this to his friend Ira Gershwin, Gershwin told him the title had already been used in 1925 for a show he and his brother wrote (which was later retitled TELL ME MORE).  In fact, Lerner discovered there had been several other little remembered shows called MY FAIR LADY, but the title stuck.

During their London stay to convince Harrison to be in a musical, Lerner and Loewe visited Covent Garden.  Charmed by the Cockney rhyming slang, Lerner came up with the title WOULDN'T IT BE LOVERLY, incorporating into the lyric the made up word "absobloomin'lutely" which was a derivation of "absobloodylutely" which they heard there.  The songs written for Higgins were designed so that the lyrical and musical line coincided with the way one would speak the line, allowing Rex Harrison to "talk" his way through the numbers.

Both of Stanley Holloway's songs were created with his background in music hall in mind.  His first number, WITH A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK, did not go well during the final run-through and Lerner and Loewe planned to cut it from the show, but there was not enough time to cut it before the New Haven opening, and Holloway's performance stopped the show that night, so the number stayed.  Similarly, ON THE STREET WHERE YOU LIVE was due to be cut as well because of lackluster audience reaction; instead Lerner changed some of the lyrics and this song  (and I COULD HAVE DANCED ALL NIGHT) went on to be two of the show's most famous numbers.  Although normally a slow and painstaking worker, Lerner claims he and Loewe wrote THE RAIN IN SPAIN, music and lyrics, in ten minutes.  I COULD HAVE DANCED all night was the last song written before rehearsals began, and just in time, as Loewe almost immediately was rushed to the hospital with appendicitis.  During rehearsals, A HYMN TO HIM was added.  This was a difficult lyric that Harrison had trouble with throughout the run of the show.  He also refused to stand on stage while Julie Andrews sings WITHOUT YOU to him until Lerner added a small verse for him to reply, which appeased him.

MY FAIR LADY won the Tony for Best Musical.  Rex Harrison won for Outstanding Musical Actor.  Julie Andrews was nominated for Outstanding Musical Actress but lost to Judy Holiday in THE BELLS ARE RINGING.  Robert Coote and Stanley Holloway were nominated for Tonies as Outstanding Supporting or Featured Musical Actor but lost to Sydney Chaplin in THE BELLS ARE RINGING.  Moss Hart won for Outstanding Director.   Hanya Holm was nominated for Best Choreographer but lost to Michael Kidd for L'IL ABNER.  Franz Allers won the Tony as Outstanding Conductor and Musical Director.  Oliver Smith won the Tony for Outstanding Scenic Design for his work on MY FAIR LADY, A CLEARING IN THE WOODS, CANDIDE, AUNTIE MAME, EUGENIA and A VISIT TO A SMALL PLANET.  Cecil Beaton won the Tony for Outstanding Costumes for his work in MY FAIR LADY and LITTLE GLASS CLOCK.

MY FAIR LADY opened in London on April 30, 1958 at the Drury Lane Theatre with the four stars recreating their roles; it ran for 2,281 performances, over six years. When contracts were drawn with foreign producers, Lerner insisted that every production be an identical copy of the New York production in terms of sets and costumes.  There were international productions in Russia, Germany Australia, Holland, Belgium, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Tokyo, Israel, South America and four in Scandinavia, all of which produced original cast recordings.  It was made into a film in 1964, which was nominated for 12 Oscars and won 8, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Rex Harrison.  (Warners wanted a box office name for Higgins and offered the role to Cary Grant and Rock Hudson but they didn't want to follow Harrison in a role to which he was so identified.)

I finally got to see the 1975 revival (which ran for over a year and then went on a national tour) on a Wednesday evening, March 31, 1976, when a first row orchestra ticket cost $15.00.  The cast included:

Freddy Eynsford-Hill Jerry Lanning
Eliza Doolittle Christine Andreas
Colonel Pickering Robert Coote
Henry Higgins Ian Richardson
Alfred P. Doolittle George Rose

Writing in ANYTHING GOES (Oxford University Press 2013), Ethan Mordden says "MY FAIR LADY, ... a perfect show, became the buzz term for the Great American Musical, though it is English, not only in the casting of its crucial roles (Rex Harrison, Julie Andrews, Stanley Holloway) but of course in its source, Shaw's play PYGMALION. ... Its very Englishness tips us to one of its many unique qualities:  elegance."  He called it "luxurious--in the lofty I.Q. of its Shavian dialogue, its Cecil Beaton costumes for the Ascot racing scene and the Embassy Ball, the Viennese waltz suite for the latter, even for set designer Oliver Smith's spectacular effect when the revolving stage turned the view from the Embassy promenade into the ballroom itself.  ...  Even Al Hirschfeld's poster logo art of a heavenly Shaw working the strings of a Rex Harrison puppet working the strings of a Julie Andrews puppet, the two stars in costume as Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle, aligned with the show's prevailing air of wit and grace."

Mordden continues:  It is Lerner and Loewe "who wrote what is still regarded by the public at large ... as the greatest of the great musicals.  Or i it just the greatest hit in the history of hits?  ... The music was literally everywhere (Columbia's MY FAIR LADY was the biggest-selling LP of the 1950s); the difficulty of obtaining tickets was a national joke.  And when it closed, it had broken OKLAHOMA'S long-run record at 2,717 performances--at that with a production that was much more expensive to maintain."

"[Moss] Hart was at his best directing the show, which became one of the most memorable productions of its time--a spectacle, to be sure, but also because Hart made a fetish out of the cast's body language.  Scenes involving the proletariat looked and moved differently from those for the gentry:  the 'knees up' abandon of the chorus work in 'A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK' compared dissonantly with the rigid comportment of the Ascot folk."

If you have Real Audio, click here for a 1959 radio documentary about the making of the show, including a plug for the Heart Association.

Click here for a 30-second sample of the Overture from the original Broadway cast album.

Why Can't the English?

The time is 1912.  Outside the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Professor Henry Higgins is copying down the speech of the costermongers.  He is able to tell where someone came from within six miles; sometimes within two streets in London.

If you have Real Audio, click here for a 30-second sample of WHY CAN'T THE ENGLISH? from the original Broadway cast album.
Higgins: Look at her - a pris'ner of the gutters;
Condemned by ev'ry syllable she utters.
By right she should be taken out and hung
For the cold-blooded murder of the English tongue!
Eliza: A-o-o-o-w!
Higgins: Aooow! Heavens, what a noise!
This is what the British population
Calls an element'ry education.
Pickering: Come, sir, I think you picked a poor example.
Higgins: Did I?
Hear them down in Soho Square
Dropping 'aitches everywhere,
Speaking English any way they like.
You, sir, did you go to school?
Costermonger: Whatya tike me fer, a fool?
Higgins: No one taught him "take" instead of "tike."
Hear a Yorkshireman, or worse,
Hear a Cornishman converse.
I'd rather hear a choir singing flat.
Chickens cackling in a barn. . .
Just like this one--
Eliza: Garn!
Higgins: I ask you, sir, what sort of word is that?
It's "Aooow" and "Garn" that keep her in her place.
Not her wretched clothes and dirty face.

Why can't the English teach their children how to speak?
This verbal class distinction by now should be antique.
If you spoke as she does, sir, instead of the way you do,
Why, you might be selling flowers, too

Pickering: I beg your pardon, sir!
Higgins: An Englishman's way of speaking absolutely classifies him
The moment he talks he makes some other Englishman despise him.
One common language I'm afraid we'll never get.
Oh, why can't the English learn to set
A good example to people whose English is painful to your ears?
The Scotch and the Irish leave you close to tears.
There even are places where English completely disappears.
In America, they haven't used it for years!

Why can't the English teach their children how to speak?
Norwegians learn Norwegian; the Greeks are taught their Greek.
In France every Frenchman knows his language from "A" to "Zed"
The French don't care what they do, actually, as long as they pronounce it properly.
Arabians learn Arabian with the speed of summer lightning.
And Hebrews learn it backwards, which is absolutely fright'ning.
But use proper English, you're regarded as a freak.

Oh, why can't the English,
Why can't the English learn to speak?

He and Col. Pickering introduce themselves; Pickering is an expert on Indian dialects and they have long wanted to meet each other.


Wouldn't It Be Loverly?

Eliza Doolittle, a flower seller, feels quite abused by the things Higgins has said about her, and all her flowers have been ruined as well, so she cadges some money off Higgins.  It's more money than she would have made selling flowers; she and her fellow costermongers speculate on what they would do with a lot of money.

If you have Real Audio, click here for a 30-second sample of WOULDN'T IT BE LOVERLY? from the original Broadway cast album.

2nd Costermonger: It's rather dull in town,
I think I'll take me to Paree.   Mmm.
3rd Costermonger: The missus wants to open up
The castle in Capri!  Mmm.
1st Costermonger: Me doctor recommends
A quiet summer by the sea.  Mmm.
All: Mmmmmmmm, mmmmmmmm
Wouldn't it be loverly?
Eliza: All I want is a room somewhere,
Far away from the cold night air;
With one enormous chair. . .
Oh, wouldn't it be loverly?

Lots of choc'late for me to eat;
Lots of coal makin' lots of 'eat;
Warm face, warm 'ands, warm feet. . .!
Oh, wouldn't it be loverly?

Oh, so loverly sittin' absobloominlutely still
I would never budge till spring
Crept over me winder sill.

Someone's 'ead restin' on my knee,
Warm and tender as 'e can be
Who takes good care of me. . .
Oh, wouldn't it be loverly?
Loverly! Loverly!
Loverly! Loverly!


With a Little Bit of Luck

Meantime, Eliza's father, Alfred Doolittle, a dustman, and a couple of his cronies are ejected from a pub on Tottenham Court Road for being out of funds.  He hits up Liza for a half a crown, and after a bit of wrangling, she gives it to him.  Doolittle sings about his luck:

If you have Real Audio, click here for a 30-second sample of WITH A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK from the original Broadway cast album.

The Lord above gave man an arm of iron,
So 'e could do 'is job and never shirk.
The Lord above gave man an arm of iron - but
With a little bit of luck,
With a little bit of luck,
Someone else'll do the blinkin' work!

With a little bit . . . with a little bit . . .
With a little bit of luck,
You'll never work!

The Lord above made liquor for temptation,
To see if man could turn away from sin.
The Lord above made liquor for temptation--but
With a little bit of luck,
With a little bit of luck,
When temptation comes you'll give right in!

With a little bit . . . with a little bit . . .
With a little bit of luck,
You'll give right in.

Oh, you can walk the straight and narrow;
But with a little bit of luck
You'll run amuck!

The gentle sex was made for man to marry,
To share his nest and see his food is cooked.
The gentle sex was made for man to marry--but

With a little bit of luck,
With a little bit of luck,
You can have it all and not get hooked.

With a little bit . . . with a little bit . . .,
With a little bit of luck,
You won't get hooked
With a little bit . . . with a little bit . . .
With a little bit of bloomin' luck!

The Lord above made man to 'elp his neighbor,
No matter where, on land, or sea, or foam.
The Lord above made man to 'elp his neighbor--but
With a little bit of luck, with a little bit of luck,
When he comes around you won't be home!

With a little bit . . . with a little bit . . .
With a little bit of luck,
You won't be home.

They're always throwin' goodness at you;
But with a little bit of luck
A man can duck!

Oh, it's a crime for man to go philanderin'
And fill 'is wife's poor 'eart with grief and doubt.
Oh, it's a crime for man to go philanderin' - but
With a little bit of luck,
With a little bit of luck,
You can see the bloodhound don't find out!

With a little bit . . . with a little bit . . .
With a little bit of luck,
She won't find out!
With a little bit . . . with a little bit . . .
With a little bit of bloomin' luck.

A man was made to 'elp support his children,
Which is the right and proper thing to do.
A man was made to 'elp support his children - but
With a little bit of luck,
With a little bit of luck,
They'll go out and start supportin' you!

With a little bit. . . with a little bit. . .
With a little bit of luck,
They'll work for you.

He doesn't have a tuppence in his pocket.
The poorest bloke you'll ever 'ope to meet.
He doesn't have a tuppence in his pocket - but
With a little bit of luck
With a little bit of luck
He'll be movin' up to easy street.

With a little bit. . . with a little bit. . .
With a little bit of luck,
He's movin' up.
With a little bit. . . with a little bit. . .
With a little bit of bloomin' luck!


I'm an Ordinary Man

If you have Real Audio, click here for a 30-second sample of I'M AN ORDINARY MAN from the original Broadway cast album.

Liza has overheard Higgins tell Pickering he could improve her speech enough to get her a job in a flower shop, so she shows up at Higgins' home the next day to pay for lessons.  Higgins is insufferably rude to her, as he is to everyone, but Pickering treats her courteously.  Pickering is intrigued and wagers the cost of the lessons that Higgins can't do it.  Higgins accepts the challenge.  He'll take on Eliza for six months.  Pickering questions whether Higgins is a man of good character where women are concerned. Higgins replies:

I find the moment I let a woman make friends with me she becomes jealous, exacting, suspicious and a damned nuisance.  I find the moment I make friends with a woman, I become selfish and tyrannical.  So here I am, a confirmed old bachelor, and likely to remain so.  After all, Pickering . . .

I'm an ordinary man;
Who desires nothing more
Than just the ordinary chance
To live exactly as he likes
And do precisely what he wants.
An average man am I,
Of no eccentric whim;
Who likes to live his life
Free of strife,
Doing whatever he thinks is best for him.
Just an ordinary man.

But let a woman in your life
And your serenity is through!
She'll redecorate your home,
From the cellar to the dome;
Then go on to the enthralling
Fun of overhauling
You.

Oh, let a woman in your life
And you are up against the wall!
Make a plan and you will find
She has something else in mind;
And so rather than do either
You do something else that neither
Likes at all.

You want to talk of Keats or Milton;
She only wants to talk of love.
You go to see a play or ballet,
And spend it searching for her glove.

Oh, let a woman in your life
And you invite eternal strife!
Let them buy their wedding bands
For those anxious little hands;
I'd be equally as willing
For a dentist to be drilling
Than to ever let a woman in my life!

I'm a very gentle man;
Even-tempered and good-natured,
Whom you never hear complain;
Who has the milk of human kindness
By the quart in ev'ry vein.

A patient man am I
Down to my fingertips;
The sort who never could,
Ever would,
Let an insulting remark escape his lips.
Just a very gentle man.

But let a woman in your life
And patience hasn't got a chance.
She will beg you for advice;
Your reply will be concise.
And she'll listen very nicely
Then go out and do precisely
What she wants!

You were a man of grace and polish
Who never spoke above a hush.
Now all at once you're using language
That would make a sailor blush.

Oh, let a woman in your life
And you're plunging in a knife!
Let the others of my sex
Tie the knot - around their necks;
I'd prefer a new edition
Of the Spanish Inquisition
Than to ever let a woman in my life!

I'm a quiet living man
Who prefers to spend the evenings
In the silence of his room;
Who likes an atmosphere as restful
As an undiscovered tomb.
A pensive man am I
Of philosophic joys;
Who likes to meditate,
Contemplate,
Free from humanity's mad, inhuman noise.
Just a quiet living man.

But let a woman in your life
And your sabbatical is through!
In a line that never ends
Come an army of her friends;
Come to jabber and to chatter
And to tell her what the matter is with you.

She 'll have a booming, boist'rous fam'ly
Who will descend on you en masse.
She'll have a large Wagnerian mother
With a voice that shatters glass!

Oh, let a woman in your life. . .
Let a woman in your life . . .
Let a woman in your life . . .
I shall never let a woman in my life!


Just You Wait

Click here for a 30-second soundbyte of JUST YOU WAIT from the original Broadway cast album.

Doolittle hears that Eliza has "moved in with a swell" and shows up to cadge some money from Higgins.  Meantime, Eliza is fed up with saying her vowels and refuses to continue.  Higgins threatens to stop feeding her until she can pronounce them correctly.  Eliza storms at him:

Just you wait, 'enry 'iggins, just you wait!
You'll be sorry but your tears'll be too late!
You'll be broke and I'll have money;
Will I 'elp you? Don't be funny!
Just you wait, 'enry 'iggins, just you wait!

Just you wait, 'enry 'iggins, till you're sick,
And you scream to fetch a doctor double-quick,
I'll be off a second later
And go straight to the the-ater!
Oh ho ho, 'enry 'iggins, just you wait!

Ooooooooh 'enry 'iggins!
Just you wait until we're swimmin' in the sea!
Ooooooooh 'enry 'iggins!
And you get a cramp a little way from me!

When you yell you're going to drown
I'll get dressed and go to town!
Oh ho ho, 'enry 'iggins!
Oh ho ho, 'enry 'iggins!
Just you wait!

One day I'll be famous! I'll be proper and prim;
Go to St. James so often I will call it St. Jim!
One evening the King will say: "Oh, Liza, old thing,
I want all of England your praises to sing.
Next week on the twentieth of May
I proclaim Liza Doolittle Day!
All the people will celebrate the glory of you,
And whatever you wish and want I gladly will do."

"Thanks a lot, King," says I, in a manner well-bred;
"But all I want is 'enry 'iggins 'ead!"
"Done" says the King, with a stroke.
"Guard, run and bring in the bloke!"

Then they'll march you, 'enry 'iggins, to the wall;
And the King will tell me: "Liza, sound the call."
As they lift their rifles higher,
I'll shout: "Ready! Aim! Fire!"
Oh ho ho! 'enry 'iggins!
Down you'll go! 'enry 'iggins!
Just you wait ! ! !


The Rain in Spain

Click here for a 30-second soundbyte from THE RAIN IN SPAIN from the original Broadway cast album.

Liza's lessons have continued apace and even Higgins' servants are fed up.  Suddenly, the repetition works and Eliza finally says a phrase correctly:
Servants: Quit, Professor 'iggins!
Quit, Professor 'iggins!
Hear our plea
Or payday we
Will quit, Professor 'iggins!
Ay not I
O not Ow,
Pounding, pounding in our brain.
Ay not I,
O, not Ow,
Don't say "Rine", say "Rain". . .
Higgins: The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.
Eliza: The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.
Higgins: Again.
Eliza: The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.
Higgins: I think she's got it! I think she's got it!
Eliza: The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.
Higgins: By George, she's got it!
By George, she's got it!
Now once again, where does it rain?
Eliza: On the plain! On the plain!
Higgins: And where's that soggy plain?
Eliza: In Spain!  In Spain!
Higgins, Pickering & Eliza: The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain!
The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain!
Higgins: In Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire. . .?
Eliza: Hurricanes hardly happen.

How kind of you to let me come!

Higgins: Now once again, where does it rain?
Eliza: On the plain! On the plain!
Higgins: And where's that blasted plain?
Eliza: In Spain! In Spain!
Higgins, Pickering & Eliza: The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain!
The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain!

In their mutual glee, they do a sort of tango; Pickering and Higgins do a bit of flamenco stomping.  


I Could Have Danced All Night

The noise wakes Mrs. Pearce and she tries, unsuccessfully, to get Eliza to go to bed.

If you have Real Audio, click here for a 30-second sample of I COULD HAVE DANCED ALL NIGHT from the original Broadway cast album.
Eliza: Bed! Bed! I couldn't go to bed!
My head's too light to try to set it down!
Sleep! Sleep! I couldn't sleep tonight!
Not for all the jewels in the crown!

I could have danced all night!
I could have danced all night!
And still have begged for more.
I could have spread my wings
And done a thousand things
I've never done before.

I'll never know
What made it so exciting;
Why all at once
My heart took flight.
I only know when he
Began to dance with me,
I could have danced, danced, danced all night!



Servants: It's after three, now.
Don't you agree, now,
She ought to be in bed?


Eliza: I could have danced all night!
I could have danced all night!
And still have begged for more.
I could have spread my wings
And done a thousand things
I've never done before.
Servants: You're tired out.
You must be dead.
Your face is drawn.
Your eyes are red.
Now say goodnight, please.
Turn out the light, please.
It's really time
For you to be in bed.
Do come along.
Do as you're told,
Or Mrs. Pearce
Is apt to scold.
You're up too late, miss.
And sure as fate, miss.
You'll catch a cold.
Eliza: I'll never know
What made it so exciting;
Why all at once
My heart took flight.
I only know when he
Began to dance with me,
I could have danced, danced, danced all night!
Servants: Put down your book,
The work'll keep .
Now settle down,
And go to sleep.
Mrs. Pearce: I understand, dear.
It's all been grand, dear.
But now it's time to sleep.


Eliza: I could have danced all night!
I could have danced all night!
And still have begged for more.
I could have spread my wings
And done a thousand things
I've never done before.

I'll never know
What made it so exciting,
Why all at once
My heart took flight.
I only know when he
Began to dance with me,
I could have danced, danced, danced all night!




Ascot Gavotte

Click here for a 30-second soundbyte from ASCOT GAVOTTE from the original Broadway cast album.  Higgins has decided to test Eliza in public at the races.  His mother is not thrilled to run into him at Ascot, and even less so when Pickering tells her about the flower girl he's "living with".  The Ascot nobility react with reserve to the race:

Ev'ry duke and earl and peer is here.
Ev'ry one who should be here is here.
What a smashing, positively dashing
Spectacle: the Ascot op'ning day.

At the gate are all the horses
Waiting for the cue to fly away.
What a gripping, absolutely ripping
Moment at the Ascot op'ning day.

Pulses rushing!
Faces flushing!
Heartbeats speed up!
I have never been so keyed up!

Any second now
They'll begin to run.
Hark! A bell is ringing,
They are springing
Forward
Look! It has begun. . .!

What a frenzied moment that was!
Didn't they maintain an exhausting pace?
'Twas a thrilling, absolutely chilling
Running of the Ascot op'ning race.


On the Street Where You Live

Click here for a 30-second soundbyte from ON THE STREET WHERE YOU LIVE from the original Broadway cast album.

At tea with Higgins' mother, Eliza is introduced to Freddy Eynsford-Hill who is quite taken with her, despite the fact that Liza is woefully inept at small talk and shows unbecoming enthusiasm during a horse race.  Later than day, Freddy pays a call on Eliza.  Embarrassed, Eliza refuses to see him but Freddy is so infatuated, he is happy just to be on the street where she lives.

I have often walked down this street before;
But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before.
All at once am I
Several stories high,
Knowing I'm on the street where you live.

Are there lilac trees in the heart of town?
Can you hear a lark in any other part of town?
Does enchantment pour
Out of ev'ry door?
No, it's just on the street where you live!

And oh! The towering feeling
Just to know somehow you are near!
The overpowering feeling
That any second you may suddenly appear!

People stop and stare. They don't bother me.
For there's nowhere else on earth that I would rather be.
Let the time go by,
I won't care if I
Can be here on the street where you live.

Six weeks later, Higgins and Pickering escort Eliza to the Embassy Ball, where she runs into Zoltan Karparthy, a former pupil of Higgins' who prides himself on his ability to detect imposters.


You Did It

Click here for a 30-second soundbyte from YOU DID IT from the original Broadway cast album.

As Act II opens, Higgins, Pickering and Eliza return home from the ball.  Pickering, Mrs. Pearce and the Servants make a fuss over Higgins' triumph and no one gives a word of praise to Eliza, or lets her know what her future might hold.
Pickering: Tonight, old man, you did it!
You did it! You did it!
You said that you would do it,
And indeed you did.
I thought that you would rue it;
I doubted you'd do it.
But now I must admit it
That succeed you did.
You should get a medal
Or be even made a knight.
Higgins: It was nothing.  Really nothing.
Pickering: All alone you hurdled
Ev'ry obstacle in sight.
Higgins: Now, wait! Now, wait!
Give credit where it's due.
A lot of the glory goes to you.
Pickering: But you're the one who did it,
Who did it, who did it!
As sturdy as Gibraltar,
Not a second did you falter.
There's no doubt about it,
You did it!

I must have aged a year tonight.
At times I thought I'd die of fright.
Never was there a momentary lull.

Higgins: Shortly after we came in
I saw at once we'd eas'ly win;
And after that I found it deadly dull.
Pickering: You should have heard the ooh's and ah's;
Ev'ry one wond'ring who she was
Higgins: You'd think they'd never seen a lady before.
Pickering: And when the Prince of Transylvania
Asked to meet her,
And gave his arm to lead her to the floor. . .!
I said to him: You did it!
You did it! You did it!
They thought she was ecstatic
And so damned aristocratic,
And they never knew
That you
Did it!
Higgins: Thank Heavens for Zoltan Karparthy.  If he hadn't been there I'd have died of boredom.  Yes, he was there, all right, up to his old tricks.
Servant: Karparthy?  That dreadful Hungarian?  Was he there?
Higgins: Yes, that blackguard who uses the science of speech
More to blackmail and swindle than teach;
He made it the devilish business of his
"To find out who this Miss Doolittle is."

Ev'ry time we looked around
There he was, that hairy hound
From Budapest.
Never leaving us alone,
Never have I ever known
A ruder pest.
Fin'lly I decided it was foolish
Not to let him have his chance with her.
So I stepped aside and let him dance with her.

Oozing charm from ev'ry pore,
He oiled his way around the floor.
Ev'ry trick that he could play,
He used to strip her mask away.

And when at last the dance was done
He glowed as if he knew he'd won!
And with a voice too eager,
And a smile too broad,
He announced to the hostess
That she was a fraud!

Servant: No!
Higgins: Yavol!

Her English is too good, he said,
That clearly indicates that she is foreign.
Whereas others are instructed in their native language
English people aren.
And although she may have studied with an expert
Di'lectician and grammarian,
I can tell that she was born Hungarian!

Not only Hungarian, but of royal blood, she is a princess!

Servants: Congratulations, Professor Higgins,
For your glorious victory!
Congratulations, Professor Higgins!
You'll be mentioned in history!

This evening, sir, you did it!
          Congratulations,
You did it! You did it!
         Professor Higgins!
You said that you would do it!
          For your glorious
And indeed you did.
           Victory!

This evening, sir, you did it!
          Congratulations,
You did it! You did it!
          Professor Higgins!
We know that we have said it,
          Sing a hail and halleluia
But - you did it and the credit
          Ev'ry bit of credit
For it all belongs to you!


Show Me

Click here for a 30-second soundbyte from SHOW ME from the original Broadway cast album.

Eliza bolts the Higgins' residence with all her worldly belongings, trailed by the lovestruck Freddy who, full of infatuated hope, has been waiting on the doorstep.  Liza has had enough of language and tells Freddy she wants action.
Freddie: Speak and the world is full of singing,
And I'm winging
Higher than the birds.
Touch and my heart begins to crumble,
The heaven tumble,
Darling, and I'm . . .
Eliza: Words! Words! Words! I'm so sick of words!
I get words all day through;
First from him, now from you!
Is that all you blighters can do?

Don't talk of stars
Burning above;
If you're in love,
Show me!

Tell me no dreams
Filled with desire.
If you're on fire,
Show me!

Here we are together in the middle of the night!
Don't talk of spring! Just hold me tight!
Anyone who's ever been in love'll tell you that
This is no time for a chat!

Haven't your lips
Longed for my touch?
Don't say how much,
Show me! Show me!

Don't talk of love lasting through time.
Make me no undying vow.
Show me now!

Sing me no song!
Read me no rhyme!
Don't waste my time,
Show me!

Don't talk of June!
Don't talk of fall!
Don't talk at all!
Show me!

Never do I ever want to hear another word.
There isn't one I haven't heard.
Here we are together in what ought to be a dream;
Say one more word and I'll scream!

Haven't your arms
Hungered for mine?
Please don't "expl'ine",
Show me! Show me!

Don't wait until wrinkles and lines
Pop out all over my brow,
Show me now!


Get Me to the Church On Time

If you have Real Audio, click here for a 30-second sample of GET ME TO THE CHURCH ON TIME from the original Broadway cast album.

Eliza takes a taxi to Covent Garden to check out her roots, but her former friends and coworkers don't even recognize her.  She runs into her father, who is extremely dressed up.  Because Higgins wrote a letter to a millionaire recommending Doolittle as an original moralist, Eliza's father has inherited a tidy sum and now his lady friend demands they be married.

There's just a few more hours.
That's all the time you've got.
A few more hours
Before they tie the knot.

There's drinks and girls all over London, and I've gotta track 'em down in just a few more hours.

I'm gettin' married in the morning!
Ding dong! The bells are gonna chime.
Pull out the stopper!
Let's have a whopper!
But get me to the church on time!

I gotta be there in the mornin'
Spruced up and lookin' in me prime.
Girls, come and kiss me;
Show how you'll miss me.
But get me to the church on time!

If I am dancin',
Roll up the floor.
If I am whistlin'
Whewt me out the door!

For I'm gettin' married in the mornin'
Ding dong! The bells are gonna chime.
Kick up a rumpus
But don't lose the compass;
And get me to the church,
Get me to the church,
Be sure and get me to the church on time!

I'm gettin' married in the mornin'.
Ding dong! The bells are gonna chime.
Drug me or jail me,
Stamp me and mail me.
But get me to the church on time!

I gotta be there in the mornin'
Spruced up and lookin' in me prime.
Some bloke who's able;
Lift up the table,
And get me to the church on time!

If I am flyin'
Then shoot me down.
If I am wooin',
Get 'er out of town!

For I'm gettin' married in the mornin'
Ding dong! The bells are gonna chime.
Feather and tar me;
Call out the Army;
But get me to the church.
Get me to the church,
Be sure and get me to the church on time!


A Hymn to Him

Click here for a 30-second soundbyte from A HYMN TO HIM from the original Broadway cast album.

The day after the ball, Higgins wakes up to find Eliza gone and he's unable to locate anything, including his appointment calendar.  Pickering reports her to the police as a missing person.
Higgins: What in all of Heaven can have prompted her to go?
After such a triumph at the ball?
What could have depressed her?
What could have possessed her?
I cannot understand the wretch at all!

Women are irrational, that's all there is to that!
Their heads are full of cotton, hay and rags!
They're nothing but exasperating, irritating,
Vacillating, calculating, agitating,
Maddening, and infuriating hags!

Pickering, why can't a woman be more like a man?

Yes. Why can't a woman be more like a man?
Men are so honest, so thoroughly square;
Eternally noble, historically fair;
Who when you win will always give your back a pat.
Why can't a woman be like that?

Why does ev'ryone do what the others do?
Can't a woman learn to use her head?
Why do they do everything their mothers do?
Why don't they grow up like their father instead?
Why can't a woman take after a man?
Men are so pleasant, so easy to please;
Whenever you're with them, you're always at ease.
Would you be slighted if I didn't speak for hours?

Pickering: Of course not.
Higgins: Would you be livid if I had a drink or two?
Pickering: Nonsense.
Higgins: Would you be wounded if I never sent you flowers?
Pickering: Never.
Higgins: Well, why can't a woman be like you?

One man in a million may shout a bit.
Now and then there's one with slight defects.
One perhaps whose truthfulness you doubt a bit.
But by and large we are a marvelous sex!

Why can't a woman behave like a man?
Men are so friendly, good-natured and kind;
A better companion you never will find.
If I were hours late for dinner, would you bellow?

Pickering: Of course not.
Higgins: If I forgot your silly birthday, would you fuss?
Pickering: Nonsense.
Higgins: Would you complain if I took out another fellow?
Pickering: Never.
Higgins: Well, why can't a woman be like us?

Mrs. Pearce? You're a woman,

Why can't a woman be more like a man?
Men are so decent, such regular chaps.
Ready to help you through any mishaps.
Ready to buck you up whenever you are glum.
Why can't a woman be a chum?

Why is thinking something women never do?
Why is logic never even tried?
Straightening up their hair is all they ever do.
Why don't they straighten up the mess that's inside?

Why can't a woman be more like a man?
If I was a woman who'd been to a ball,
Been hailed as a princess by one and by all;
Would I start weeping like a bathtub overflowing?
Carry on as if my home were in a tree?
Would I run off and never tell me where I'm going?
Why can't a woman be like me?


Without You

Click here for a 30-second soundbyte from WITHOUT YOU from the original Broadway cast album.

Higgins runs to his mother's where he discovers Eliza.  With the same abominable manners he makes it known he wants her back.  Eliza wants more kindness and equality in their relationship and threatens to marry Freddy and work teaching the phonetics she learned from Higgins.

What a fool I was! What a dominated fool!
To think you were the earth and sky.
What a fool I was! What an addle-pated fool!
What a mutton-headed dolt was I!
No, my reverberating friend,
You are not the beginning and the end!

There'll be spring ev'ry year without you.
England still will be here without you.
There'll be fruit on the tree,
And a shore by the sea;
There'll be crumpets and tea
Without you.

Art and music will thrive without you.
Somehow Keats will survive without you.
And there still will be rain
On that plain down in Spain,
Even that will remain
Without you.
I can do
Without you.

You, dear friend, who talk so well,
You can go to Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire!

They can still rule the land without you.
Windsor Castle will stand without you.
And without much ado
We can all muddle through
Without you!

Without your pulling it, the tide comes in,
Without your twirling it, the earth can spin.
Without your pushing them, the clouds roll by.
If they can do without you, ducky, so can I!

I shall not feel alone without you.
I can stand on my own without you.
So go back in your shell,
I can do bloody well
Without you!

Higgins is impressed by Eliza's gumption, but dismayed when she tells him she doesn't expect to see him again.


I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face

Click here for a 30-second soundbyte from I'VE GROWN ACCUSTOMED TO HER FACE from the original Broadway cast album.

Alone at his home, Higgins rues the way things have turned out.

Damn, damn, damn, damn!!

I've grown accustomed to her face
She almost makes the day begin.
I've grown accustomed to the tune
She whistles night and noon.
Her smiles, her frowns.
Her ups, her downs,
Are second nature to me now;
Like breathing out and breathing in.

I was serenely independent and content before we met;
Surely I could always be that way again--and yet
I've grown accustomed to her looks;
Accustomed to her voice:
Accustomed to her face.

Marry Freddy!  What an infantile idea!  What a heartless, wicked, brainless thing to do!  But she'll regret it!  She'll regret it.  It's doomed before they even take the vow!

I can see her now:
Mrs. Freddy Eynsford-Hill,
In a wretched little flat above a store.

I can see her now:
Not a penny in the till,
And a bill-collector beating at the door.

She'll try to teach the things I taught her,
And end up selling flow'rs instead;
Begging for her bread and water,
While her husband has his breakfast in bed!  Ha!

In a year or so
When she's prematurely gray,
And the blossom in her cheek has turned to chalk,

She'll come home and lo!
He'll have upped and run away
With a social climbing heiress from New York!  Ha!

Poor Eliza!
How simply frightful!
How humiliating!
How delightful!

How poignant it'll be on that inevitable night when she hammers on my door in tears and rags.  Miserable and lonely, repentant and contrite.  Will I take her in or hurl her to the wolves?  Give her kindness, or the treatment she deserves?  Will I take her back, or throw the baggage out?

I'm a most forgiving man;
The sort who never could,
Ever would,
Take a position and staunchly never budge.
Just a most forgiving man.

But I will never take her back,
If she were crawling on her knees.
Let her promise to atone!
Let her shiver, let her moan!
I will slam the door and let the hell-cat freeze!

Marry Freddy! Ha!

But I'm so used to hear her say:
Good morning every day.
Her joys, her woes,
Her highs, her lows
Are second nature to me now;
Like breathing out breathing in.
I'm very grateful she's a woman,
And so easy to forget;
Rather like a habit,
One can always break--and yet
I've grown accustomed to the trace
Of something in the air;
Accustomed to her face.

As Higgins listens to Eliza's voice on his recording machine, she enters.  Higgins restrains himself from expressing the joy he feels and asks Eliza to fetch his slippers.


All lyrics posted copyright 1956 Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe
Chappell & Co., Inc., Warner Bros. Publications U.S. Inc.
For rights to put on the show, contact Tams-Witmark

Commentary by Judy Harris

Please visit my homepage at http://www.bestweb.net/~foosie/index.htm

or e-mail me at foosie@bestweb.net


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