My Fair Lady

My Fair Lady is a musical play by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederic Loewe, adapted from George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. The musical opened on March 15, 1956 in New York City.

It was later made into a film directed by George Cukor, starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison. It won Cukor an Academy Award for Directing, and ranked #91 on the American Film Institute's 100 Years, 100 Movies.

Spoilers warning

Henry Higgins, an arrogant, irascible professor of phonetics, finds an impoverished young woman, Eliza Doolittle, selling flowers, and boasts to a new acquaintance that he can train her to speak so "properly" that he could pass her off as a duchess. The woman finds the professor's house and offers to pay the professor to give her elocution lessons so that she can get a better job.

The ending of the musical was subtly changed from that of the play, in order to please audiences by a suggestion of romance between Eliza and Higgins.

The lead role in the film was originally intended for Julie Andrews, who played Eliza in the stage version. Hepburn was cast, despite lobbying from Lerner, because Warner Brothers didn't want to cast a stage actress. Opera singer Marni Nixon was cast to dub Hepburn's songs. Julie Andrews in fact became a screen star in her own right that same year in Mary Poppins.

A contemporary version of the Pygmalion motif can be found in Willy Russell's play Educating Rita (1980).


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