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LoverlyThe Life and Times of My Fair Lady$
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Dominic McHugh

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199827305

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199827305.001.0001

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False Starts and Artistic Promise

False Starts and Artistic Promise

(p.1) 1 False Starts and Artistic Promise

Dominic McHugh

Oxford University Press

This chapter charts the early genesis of My Fair Lady, starting with the Greek legend of Pygmalion and Galatea. It briefly examines the development of this legend, culminating in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. The chapter then examines the attempts of various people to make a musical out of Shaw’s play, much to his disgust and his refusal, before looking at the The Theatre Guild’s efforts to produce a musical out of the play following Shaw’s death. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s failed attempt at this is discussed, then Lerner and Loewe’s initial work on the show as a vehicle for Mary Martin called My Lady Liza, in 1952, is examined. The chapter closes with a look at Lerner and Loewe’s unfinished projects carried out in 1953–54, when the pair had gone their separate ways (with Arthur Schwartz and Harold Rome, respectively), and also explains how they returned to the project in the summer of 1954.

Keywords:   Pygmalion, Theatre Guild, Mary Martin, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Arthur Schwartz, Harold Rome, My Lady Liza

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