Based on Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
Book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Loewe
The show is based on George Bernard Shaw’s play, PYGMALION at its simplest, a “rags to riches” tale. Eliza Doolittle, the central character, is discovered by her subsequent mentor, Professor Henry Higgins, whilst plying her trade as a cockney flower seller in Covent Garden. By chance, a Colonel Pickering who, like Higgins is an expert on voices, dialects, accents and so on is also present at the time. Higgins wagers Pickering that he can turn Eliza into “a lady” simply by altering her speech & dressing her accordingly. Higgins’ intentions are questioned by both his housekeeper and by Eliza’s father, Alfred P Doolittle a somewhat uncouth dustman (garbage collector).
Fast forward several months and Higgins’ training is put to the test — first at the Ascot horse race event and subsequently at a grand ball. Eliza passes both tests (just about) and for Higgins that means, “job done.” Meanwhile, Eliza has become the object of the affections of a rather naïve and simple “gentleman” (Freddy) who worships her. Meanwhile, partly thanks to Higgins, Doolittle has become the recipient of a large inheritance & has “moved up” in the world.
So, what is to become of this newly minted “lady?” Will she stay with Higgins in a platonic relationship or fall into the arms of Freddy?