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Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady (Paperback) (Keith Garebian)
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This book takes a new look at My Fair Lady as a romantic musical comedy. It presupposes that readers are familiar with the back story about George Bernard Shaw’s staunch refusal (after the 1908 musical adaptation ofArms and the Man)to permit any other play of his "to be degraded into an operetta or set to any music except its own." Consequently, any idea to allowPygmalion to be supplanted by a comic opera was decidedly out of the question. The show generated several legends: Julie Andrews, the original Eliza Doolittle, became the toast of Broadway at twenty-one; Rex Harrison was so widely considered to be the perfect Henry Higgins that when the show was being turned into a film, there were actors who thought it heresy that anyone other than Harrison be offered the movie role; and the musical famously reverses Shaw’s ending inPygmalion, thereby establishing what generally passes for a romantic conclusion.