Généralités: Histoire, thèmes et particularités


Henry Higgins est un illustre professeur de phonétique. Un soir, à Covent Garden, il fait la connaissance du Colonel Pickering et d'une marchande de fleurs nommée Eliza Doolittle. Elle propose au savant de l'engager pour qu'il lui enseigne les bonnes manières et la débarrasse de son accent « cockney ». Eliza pourrait ainsi améliorer sa situation sociale. Higgins accepte le défi et accueille la jeune fille chez lui. Au terme de leçons éprouvantes, Higgins emmène son élève à Ascot puis à un bal où elle est présentée à la reine. Les convives tombent sous son charme. Zoltan Karpathy, un ancien étudiant d'Higgins, affirme qu'elle appartient à la noblesse européenne. Higgins savoure sa victoire. Son attitude blesse Eliza qui trouve refuge auprès de la mère de ce dernier.

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Depuis sa création ily a presque 50 ans, l'ascension sociale de Eliza Dolittle continue d'enchanter les foules et symbolise l'âge d'or du musical anglo-saxon.


1 My Fair Lady peut-être considéré comme un Top musical


Historique du musical

Génèse du musical

In the mid-1930s, film producer Gabriel Pascal acquired the rights to produce film versions of several of George Bernard Shaw's plays, Pygmalion among them. However, Shaw, having had a bad experience with The Chocolate Soldier, a Viennese operetta based on his play Arms and the Man, refused permission for Pygmalion to be adapted into a musical. After Shaw died in 1950, Pascal asked lyricist Alan Jay Lerner to write the musical adaptation. Lerner agreed, and he and his partner Frederick Loewe began work. They quickly realized, however, that the play violated several key rules for constructing a musical: the main story was not a love story, there was no subplot or secondary love story, and there was no place for an ensemble. Many people, including Oscar Hammerstein II, who, with Richard Rodgers, had also tried his hand at adapting Pygmalion into a musical and had given up, told Lerner that converting the play to a musical was impossible, so he and Loewe abandoned the project for two years.

During this time, the collaborators separated, and Gabriel Pascal died. Lerner had been trying to musicalize Li'l Abner when he read Pascal's obituary and found himself thinking about Pygmalion again. When he and Loewe reunited, everything fell into place. All the insurmountable obstacles that stood in their way two years earlier disappeared when the team realized that the play needed few changes apart from (according to Lerner) "adding the action that took place between the acts of the play". They then excitedly began writing the show. However, Chase Manhattan Bank was in charge of Pascal's estate, and the musical rights to Pygmalion were sought both by Lerner and Loewe and by MGM, whose executives called Lerner to discourage him from challenging the studio. Loewe said, "We will write the show without the rights, and when the time comes for them to decide who is to get them, we will be so far ahead of everyone else that they will be forced to give them to us". For five months Lerner and Loewe wrote, hired technical designers, and made casting decisions. The bank, in the end, granted them the musical rights.

Noël Coward was the first to be offered the role of Henry Higgins but turned it down, suggesting the producers cast Rex Harrison instead. After much deliberation, Harrison agreed to accept the part. Mary Martin was an early choice for the role of Eliza Doolittle, but declined the role. Young actress Julie Andrews was "discovered" and cast as Eliza Doolittle after the show's creative team went to see her Broadway debut in The Boy Friend. Moss Hart agreed to direct after hearing only two songs. The experienced orchestrators Robert Russell Bennett and Philip J. Lang were entrusted with the arrangements and the show quickly went into rehearsal.

The musical's script used several scenes that Shaw had written especially for the 1938 film version of Pygmalion, including the Embassy Ball sequence and the final scene of the 1938 film rather than the ending for Shaw's original play. The montage showing Eliza's lessons was also expanded, combining both Lerner and Shaw's dialogue. The show's title relates to one of Shaw's provisional titles for Pygmalion, Fair Eliza, and to the final line of every verse of the nursery rhyme "London Bridge Is Falling Down". The artwork on the original Playbill (and sleeve of the cast recording) is by Al Hirschfeld, who drew the playwright Shaw as a heavenly puppetmaster pulling the strings on the Henry Higgins character, while Higgins in turn attempts to control Eliza Doolittle.

Original Broadway production
The musical had its pre-Broadway tryout at New Haven's Shubert Theatre. On opening night Rex Harrison, who was unaccustomed to singing in front of a live orchestra, "announced that under no circumstances would he go on that night...with those thirty-two interlopers in the pit". He locked himself in his dressing room and came out little more than an hour before curtain time. The whole company had been dismissed but were recalled, and opening night was a success. The musical then played for four weeks at the Erlanger Theatre in Philadelphia, beginning on February 15, 1956.

The musical premiered on Broadway March 15, 1956, at the Mark Hellinger Theatre in New York City. It transferred to the Broadhurst Theatre and then The Broadway Theatre, where it closed on September 29, 1962 after 2,717 performances, a record at the time. Moss Hart directed and Hanya Holm was choreographer. In addition to stars Rex Harrison, Julie Andrews and Stanley Holloway, the original cast included Robert Coote, Cathleen Nesbitt, John Michael King, and Reid Shelton. Edward Mulhare and Sally Ann Howes replaced Harrison and Andrews later in the run. The Original Cast Recording went on to become the best-selling album in the country in 1956. The original costumes were designed by Cecil Beaton and are on display at the Costume World Broadway Collection in Pompano Beach, Florida, along with many of the original patterns.

Original London production
The West End production, in which Harrison, Andrews, Coote, and Holloway reprised their roles, opened April 30, 1958, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, where it ran for five and one-half years (2,281 performances). Stage star Zena Dare made her last appearance in the musical as Mrs. Higgins.

1970s revivals
The first revival opened at the St. James Theatre on Broadway on March 25, 1976 and ran there until December 5, 1976; it then transferred to the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, running from December 9, 1976 until it closed on February 20, 1977, after a total of 377 performances and 7 previews. The director was Jerry Adler, with choreography by Crandall Diehl, based on the original choreography by Hanya Holm. Ian Richardson starred as Higgins, with Christine Andreas as Eliza, George Rose as Alfred P. Doolittle and Robert Coote recreating his role as Pickering. Both Richardson and Rose were nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical, with the award going to Rose.

A London revival opened at the Adelphi Theatre in October 1979, with Tony Britton as Higgins, Liz Robertson as Eliza, Dame Anna Neagle as Higgins' mother, Peter Bayliss, Richard Caldicot and Peter Land. Cameron Mackintosh produced with Robin Midgley directing the national tour, while Alan Jay Lerner directed into the West End. Gillian Lynne choreographed. Britton and Robertson were both nominated for Olivier Awards.

1981 and 1993 Broadway revivals
A revival opened at the Uris Theatre on August 18, 1981 and closed on November 29, 1981 after 120 performances and 4 previews. Rex Harrison recreated his role as Higgins, with Jack Gwillim and Milo O'Shea co-starring and Nancy Ringham as Eliza. The director was Patrick Garland, with choreography by Crandall Diehl.

Another revival opened at the Virginia Theatre on December 9, 1993 and closed on May 1, 1994 after 165 performances and 16 previews. Directed by Howard Davies, with choreography by Donald Saddler, the cast starred Richard Chamberlain, Melissa Errico and Paxton Whitehead. Julian Holloway, son of Stanley Holloway, recreated his father's role of Alfred P. Doolittle.

2001 London revival; 2003 Hollywood Bowl production
Mackintosh produced a new production on March 15, 2001 at the Royal National Theatre, which transferred to the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on July 21. Directed by Trevor Nunn, with choreography by Matthew Bourne, the musical starred Martine McCutcheon as Eliza and Jonathan Pryce as Higgins. This revival won three Olivier Awards: Outstanding Musical Production, Best Actress in a Musical (Martine McCutcheon) and Best Theatre Choreographer (Matthew Bourne), with Anthony Ward receiving a nomination for Set Design. Ironically, McCutcheon won the award despite being off sick for most of her eight-month run. In December 2001 Joanna Riding took over the role of Eliza and in May 2002 Alex Jennings took over as Higgins, both winning Olivier Awards for Best Actor and Best Actress in a Musical respectively in 2003. In March 2003, Anthony Andrews and Laura Michelle Kelly took over the roles until the show closed on August 30, 2003.

A UK tour of this production began September 28, 2005. The production starred Amy Nuttall and Lisa O'Hare as Eliza, Christopher Cazenove as Henry Higgins, Russ Abbot and Gareth Hale as Alfred Doolittle, and Honor Blackman[28] and Hannah Gordon as Mrs. Higgins. The tour ended August 12, 2006.

In 2003 a production of the musical at the Hollywood Bowl starred John Lithgow as Henry Higgins, Melissa Errico as Eliza Doolittle, Roger Daltrey as Alfred P. Doolittle and Paxton Whitehead as Colonel Pickering.[30]



Liste des chansons

Act I
Overture – The Orchestra
Busker Sequence – The Orchestra
Why Can't the English? – Professor Higgins
Wouldn't It Be Loverly? – Eliza and Male Quartet
With a Little Bit of Luck – Alfred Doolittle, Harry, and Jamie
I'm an Ordinary Man – Professor Higgins
With a Little Bit of Luck (Reprise) – Alfred Doolittle and Ensemble
Just You Wait – Eliza
The Servants' Chorus (Poor Professor Higgins) – Mrs. Pearce and Servants
The Rain in Spain – Professor Higgins, Eliza, and Colonel Pickering
I Could Have Danced All Night – Eliza, Mrs. Pearce, and Servants
Ascot Gavotte – Ensemble
On the Street Where You Live – Freddy
Eliza's Entrance/Embassy Waltz – The Orchestra

Act II
You Did It – Colonel Pickering, Professor Higgins, Mrs. Pearce, and Servants
Just You Wait (Reprise) – Eliza
On the Street Where You Live (Reprise) – Freddy
Show Me – Eliza and Freddy
The Flower Market/Wouldn't It Be Loverly? (Reprise) – Eliza and Male Quartet
Get Me to the Church on Time – Alfred Doolittle and Ensemble
A Hymn to Him – Professor Higgins and Colonel Pickering
Without You – Eliza and Professor Higgins
I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face – Professor Higgins
Finale – The Orchestra

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Versions du musical

Versions majeures de My Fair Lady

Version 1

My Fair Lady (1956-03-Broadway Run-Broadway) (Original)
Durée : 6 ans 6 mois 1 semaine
Nombre : 2717 représentations
Première Preview : Inconnu
Première : dimanche 25 mars 1956
Dernière : samedi 29 septembre 1962
Mise en scène : Moss Hart
Chorégraphie : Hanya Holm
Avec :
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Version 2

My Fair Lady (1958-04-August Wilson Theatre-London) (Original London)
Durée :
Nombre : 2281 représentations
Première Preview : mercredi 30 avril 1958
Première : mercredi 30 avril 1958
Dernière : Inconnu
Mise en scène :
Chorégraphie :
Avec :
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Version 3

My Fair Lady (1963-09-Theater an der Wien-London) (Revival)
Durée :
Nombre : 112 représentations
Première Preview : jeudi 19 septembre 1963
Première : jeudi 19 septembre 1963
Dernière : Inconnu
Mise en scène :
Chorégraphie :
Avec :
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Version 4

My Fair Lady (1969-11-Theater an der Wien-Vienne) (Revival)
Durée :
Nombre : 148 représentations
Première Preview : mardi 18 novembre 1969
Première : mardi 18 novembre 1969
Dernière : Inconnu
Mise en scène : Rolf Kutschera
Chorégraphie : William Milié
Avec :
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Version 5

My Fair Lady (1976-03-Broadway Run 2) (Revival)
Durée : 11 mois
Nombre : 7 previews - 377 représentations
Première Preview : vendredi 19 mars 1976
Première : jeudi 25 mars 1976
Dernière : dimanche 20 février 1977
Mise en scène : Jerry Addler
Chorégraphie : Crandall Diehl
Avec :
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Version 6

My Fair Lady (1976-03-Broadway Run 2-St James Theatre Broadway) (Revival)
Durée : 8 mois 2 semaines
Nombre : 7 previews - 377 représentations
Première Preview : vendredi 19 mars 1976
Première : jeudi 25 mars 1976
Dernière : dimanche 05 décembre 1976
Mise en scène : Jerry Addler
Chorégraphie : Crandall Diehl
Avec :
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Version 7

My Fair Lady (1976-12-Broadway Run 2-Lunt Fontanne Theatre Broadway) (Revival)
Durée : 2 mois 1 semaine
Nombre : 7 previews - 377 représentations
Première Preview : jeudi 09 décembre 1976
Première : jeudi 09 décembre 1976
Dernière : dimanche 20 février 1977
Mise en scène : Jerry Addler
Chorégraphie : Crandall Diehl
Avec :
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Version 8

My Fair Lady (1979-10-Adelphi Theatre-London) (UK Revival)
Durée : 2 ans 1 semaine
Nombre : 891 représentations
Première Preview : Inconnu
Première : jeudi 25 octobre 1979
Dernière : samedi 31 octobre 1981
Mise en scène : Robin Midgley
Chorégraphie : Gillian Lynne
Avec : Tony Britton (Henry Higgins), Liz Robertson (Eliza Doolittle), Peter Bayliss (Alfred P. Doolittle), Richard Caldicott (Colonel Pickering), Anna Neagle (Mrs Higgins), Peter Land (Freddy Eynsford-Hill)
Commentaires :
This production was created at Leicester Haymarket under the management of Cameron Mackintosh who, with Arts Council support, was determined to created regional touring product of the highest quality—so that “West End shows” would be available to provincial theatres with no drop in standards. When the show arrived in the West End the critics felt it was equally as good as first time round.
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Version 9

My Fair Lady (1981-08-Uris Theatre-London) (Revival)
Durée : 3 mois 1 semaine
Nombre : 4 previews - 120 représentations
Première Preview : vendredi 14 août 1981
Première : mardi 18 août 1981
Dernière : dimanche 29 novembre 1981
Mise en scène : Patrick Garland
Chorégraphie : Crandall Diehl
Avec :
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Version 10

My Fair Lady (1993-12-August Wilson Theatre-London) (Revival)
Durée : 4 mois 3 semaines
Nombre : 16 previews - 165 représentations
Première Preview : vendredi 26 novembre 1993
Première : jeudi 09 décembre 1993
Dernière : dimanche 01 mai 1994
Mise en scène : Howard Davies
Chorégraphie : Donald Saddler
Avec :
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Version 11

My Fair Lady (2001-03-Lyttelton Theatre-NT-London) (Revival)
Durée : 3 mois 2 semaines
Nombre : 133 représentations
Première Preview : lundi 05 mars 2001
Première : jeudi 15 mars 2001
Dernière : samedi 30 juin 2001
Mise en scène : Trevor Nunn
Chorégraphie : Matthew Bourne
Avec :
Commentaires :
Transféré au Drury Lane en juillet 2001
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Version 12

My Fair Lady (2001-07-Drury Lane Theatre-London) (Revival)
Durée : 2 ans 1 mois 1 semaine
Nombre : 873 représentations
Première Preview : samedi 21 juillet 2001
Première : samedi 21 juillet 2001
Dernière : samedi 30 août 2003
Mise en scène : Trevor Nunn
Chorégraphie : Matthew Bourne
Avec : Jonathan Pryce (Henry Higgins), Martine McCutcheon (Eliza Doolittle), Dennis Waterman (Alfred P. Doolittle), Nicholas Le Prevost (Colonel Pickering), Caroline Blakiston (Mrs Higgins), Mark Umbers (Freddy Eynsford-Hill), Patsy Rowlands (Mrs Pearce), Jill Martin, Sevan Stephan, Ann Emery
Commentaires :
This hugely-praised revival won four Olivier Awards, including Best Musical, and awards for Martine McCutcheon and Matthew Bourne. From the outset Martine McCutcheon was plagued with throat problems, and very frequently missed performances, being replaced (to much acclaim!) by her understudy, Alexandra Jay. By December, with five months left on her contract, it was clear that Martine McCutcheon could not continue, and she was replaced with Joanna Riding (who went on to win a further Olivier Award for the show as Best Actress in a Musical in 2003). The show ran two years at Drury Lane, finishing at the end of August, 2003. (It was revived for a 12 city UK tour in September 2005, ending in August 2006. This tour starred Amy Nuttall and Lisa O’Hare as Eliza, Christopher Cazenove as Henry Higgins, Russ Abbot and Gareth Hale as Doolittle, and Honor Blackman and Hannah Gordon as Mrs Higgins.)
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Version 13

My Fair Lady (2005-09-UK Tour) (Revival)
Durée : 10 mois 2 semaines
Nombre :
Première Preview : mercredi 28 septembre 2005
Première : mercredi 28 septembre 2005
Dernière : samedi 12 août 2006
Mise en scène : Trevor Nunn
Chorégraphie : Matthew Bourne
Avec :
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Version 14

My Fair Lady (2007-09-US Tour) (Revival)
Durée : 9 mois 2 semaines
Nombre :
Première Preview : mercredi 12 septembre 2007
Première : mercredi 12 septembre 2007
Dernière : dimanche 22 juin 2008
Mise en scène : Trevor Nunn
Chorégraphie : Matthew Bourne
Avec :
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Version 15

My Fair Lady (2010-12-Théâtre du Châtelet-Paris) (Revival)
Durée : 3 semaines
Nombre :
Première Preview : jeudi 09 décembre 2010
Première : jeudi 09 décembre 2010
Dernière : mardi 02 janvier 2001
Mise en scène : Robert Carsen
Chorégraphie : Lynn Page
Avec : Sarah Gabriel (Eliza Doolittle) ou Christine Arand, Alex Jennings (Henry Higgins), Margaret Tyzack (Mrs. Higgins), Nicholas Le Prévost (Colonel Pickering), Donald Maxwell (Alfred Doolittle), Jenny Galloway (Mrs. Pearce), Ed Lyon (Freddy Eynsford-Hill),ou Pascal Charbonneau, Geoffrey Abbott (Harry, Charles), John C. Bernard (1st cockney), Simon Butteriss (Zolthan Karpathy, 3rd cockney), Anna Cottis (Mrs Higgins’s maid), Steve Devereaux (George the bartender), Jeremy Finch (Jamie), Philip James Glenister (4th cockney), Jane How (Mrs Eynsford-Hill), Frances Jeater (Mrs Hopkins, maid), Graham Stone (2nd cockney), Nuala Willis (Queen of Transylvania, maid)
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Version 16

My Fair lady (2012-06-Plays-in-the-Park-Edison) (Revival)
Durée : 1 semaine
Nombre :
Première Preview : mercredi 20 juin 2012
Première : mercredi 20 juin 2012
Dernière : samedi 30 juin 2012
Mise en scène : Gary P. Cohen
Chorégraphie : Michelle Massa
Avec : Tamara Hayes (Eliza Doolittle), David Cantor (Henry Higgins), Art Vandalay (Alfred Doolittle), Michael Mccunney (Colonel Pickering), Nancy Drumright (Mrs. Higgins), Joe Riley (Freddie Eynsford-Hill), Suzanne Lawrence (Mrs. Pearce), Arlene Britt (Mrs. Eynsford-Hill), Bob Nutter (Harry), Jack Cibrian (Jamie), Mike Kertesz (Lord Boxington), Doris Younken (Lady Boxington), Kelly Baldwin, Phillip Barrood, Robert P. Brown, Lauren Campbell, Kirk Geritano, Patrick Getty, Danielle Gruskiewicz, Allyson Hern, Sara Rose Humphrey, Joanna Karausz, Ethan Daniel Levy, Ashley Little, Peter Loricco, Sean Magnacca, Kelley Mcandrews, Alexa Mccartney, Kelly-Marie Mccartney, Mallory Miller, Elizabeth Valenti, Rachel Valovcin, Claudio Venanci
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Version 17

My Fair Lady (2013-12-Théâtre du Châtelet-Paris) (Reprise)
Durée : 3 semaines
Nombre :
Première Preview : jeudi 05 décembre 2013
Première : jeudi 05 décembre 2013
Dernière : mercredi 01 janvier 2014
Mise en scène : Robert Carsen
Chorégraphie : Lynn Page
Avec : Katherine Manley (Eliza Doolittle) ou Christine Arand, Alex Jennings (Henry Higgins), Nicholas Le Prévost (Colonel Pickering), Donald Maxwell (Alfred P. Doolittle) ou Phillip Joll, Caroline Blakiston (Mrs. Higgins), Ed Lyon (Freddy Eynsford-Hill), Lee Delong (Mrs. Pearce), Simon Butteriss (doublure H. Higgins), Jeremy Finch (doublure Z. Karpathy), Franck Lopez, Philip James Glenister, Ross Barnes, Steve Devereaux (doublure Col. Pickering), Phillip Joll, Stephanie Campion (doublure Mrs. Higgins), Jeanne Vitez, Irène Palko (doublure Mrs. Pearce), Elisa Doughty (Femme de chambre 1), Isabelle Poinloup (Femme de chambre 2), Florence Bonet (Mrs. Higgins Maid)
Commentaires :
Trois ans après le triomphe du célèbre musical au Théâtre du Châtelet, My Fair Lady, l'oeuvre aux 2717 représentations à Broadway, revient enchanter les fêtes de fin d'année à Paris.
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Version 18

My Fair Lady (2018-04-Vivian Beaumont Theatre-New York) (Revival)
Durée : Se joue actuellement
Nombre : 39 previews -
Première Preview : jeudi 15 mars 2018
Première : jeudi 19 avril 2018
Dernière : Open end, ouvert actuellement jusqu'au jeu. 01 janvier 1970
Mise en scène : Bartlett Sher
Chorégraphie : Christopher Gattelli
Avec : Laura Benanti (as Eliza Doolittle until Feb 17), Harry Hadden-Paton (as Henry Higgins), Norbert Leo Butz (as Alfred P. Doolittle until Jan 6), Danny Burstein (as Alfred P. Doolittle from Jan 8 to Apr 28), Rosemary Harris (as Mrs. Higgins), Allan Corduner (as Colonel Pickering), Jordan Donica (as Freddy Eynsford-Hill), Linda Mugleston (as Mrs. Pearce), and Clarke Thorell (as Zoltan Karpathy)
Commentaires :
The original cast included two-time Emmy Award-nominated "Six Feet Under" star Lauren Ambrose, taking on the lead role of Eliza Doolittle, with "Downton Abbey" and "The Crown" actor Harry Hadden-Paton making his NY stage debut as Henry Higgins, whilst two-time Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz and "Game of Thrones" favorite Diana Rigg have been cast as Alfred P. Doolittle and Mrs. Higgins, respectively.

Marking the first Broadway revival in 25 years, the brand new production is directed by Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher and is another shining example of Sher doing what Sher does best. Following his tremendous successes with South Pacific and The King and I, he has created yet another lavish and nostalgic representation of a timeless classic. With grand sets and elaborate costumes most directors would die for and rousing musical numbers galore, the audience is spoilt by an embarrassment of riches. Sher's interpretation of the ending of the piece may also surprise some attendees, but is actually more in line with the musical's original source material - George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. Kudos to Lincoln Center Theater for once again proving itself as the frontrunner in staging Broadway musical revivals.
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Mais aussi, quelques versions régionales ou mineures, ... de My Fair Lady


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