"An Englishman's way of speaking absolutely classifies him,
The moment he talks he makes some other Englishman despise him." - Henry
George Bernard Shaw famously refused to permit any play of his "to be degraded into an operetta or set to any music except its own." Allowing his beloved Pygmalion to be supplanted by a comic opera was therefore unthinkable; yet Lerner and Loewe transformed it into My Fair Lady (1956), a musical that was to delight audiences and critics alike. By famously reversing Shaw’s original ending, the show even dared to establish a cunningly romantic ending.
Keith Garebian delves into the libretto for a fresh take, and explores biographies of the show’s principal artists to discover how their roles intersected with real life.
Rex Harrison was an alpha male onstage and off, Julie Andrews struggled with her ‘chaste diva’ image, and the direction of the sexually ambiguous Moss Hartcontributed to the musical’s sexual coding.
Table of Contents
Preface 1. Rex Harrison: Alpha Male 2. Julie Andrews: Chaste Vocal Diva 3. Moss Hart: Sexually Ambiguous Dazzler 4. "Why Can’t a Woman Be More Like a Man?" 5. Queer Meanings Conclusion Bibliography
Keith Garebian is a freelance literary and theatre critic, and an award-winning author and poet.
"A distillation of years of the author's intimate knowledge about this and other musicals. His love for his subject and his impeccable prose make reading it a delight."
- Jeffrey Round, Unvailed
"Keith Garebian has neatly combined queer theory, biography, and his own special brand of accessible, engaging writing that adds a unique perspective to the presence of a great play that became a great musical."
- Bateman Reviews