Loverly: The Life and Times of My Fair Lady

Overview


Few musicals have had the impact of Lerner and Loewe's timeless classic My Fair Lady. Sitting in the middle of an era dominated by such seminal figures as Rodgers and Hammerstein, Frank Loesser, and Leonard Bernstein, My Fair Lady not only enjoyed critical success similar to that of its rivals but also had by far the longest run of a Broadway musical up to that time. From 1956 to 1962, its original production played without a break for 2,717 performances, and the show went on to be adapted into one of the most ...
See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (14) from $9.00   
  • New (9) from $18.90   
  • Used (5) from $9.00   
Loverly: The Life and Times of My Fair Lady

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$14.99
BN.com price
(Save 25%)$19.99 List Price

Overview


Few musicals have had the impact of Lerner and Loewe's timeless classic My Fair Lady. Sitting in the middle of an era dominated by such seminal figures as Rodgers and Hammerstein, Frank Loesser, and Leonard Bernstein, My Fair Lady not only enjoyed critical success similar to that of its rivals but also had by far the longest run of a Broadway musical up to that time. From 1956 to 1962, its original production played without a break for 2,717 performances, and the show went on to be adapted into one of the most successful movie musicals of all time in 1964, when it won eight Academy Awards. Internationally, the show also broke records in London, and the original production toured to Russia at the height of the Cold War in an attempt to build goodwill. It remains a staple of the musical theater canon today, an oft-staged show in national, regional, and high school theaters across the country.

Using previously-unpublished documents, author Dominic McHugh presents a completely new, behind-the-scenes look at the five-year creation of the show, revealing the tensions and complex relationships that went into its making. McHugh charts the show from the aftermath of the premiere of Shaw's Pygmalion and the playwright's persistent refusal to allow it to be made into a musical, through to the quarrel that led lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe to part ways halfway through writing the show, up to opening night and through to the present. This book is the first to shed light on the many behind-the-scenes creative discussions that took place from casting decisions all the way through the final months of frantic preparation leading to the premiere in March 1956. McHugh also traces sketches for the show, looking particularly at the lines cut during the rehearsal and tryout periods, to demonstrate how Lerner evolved the relationship between Higgins and Eliza in such a way as to maintain the delicate balance of ambiguity that characterizes their association in the published script. He looks too at the movie version, and how the cast album and subsequent revivals have influenced the way in which the show has been received. Overall, this book explores why My Fair Lady continues to resonate with audiences worldwide more than fifty years after its premiere.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

From the Foreword by Geoffrey Block: "McHugh has produced the first comprehensive and most accurate account of how this great and perennially popular show came to be, and Loverly will give us much to talk about, just as the revered subject of this book has for generations added immeasurable wealth to the American musical treasury."

"Dominic McHugh is probably the world's leading expert on Alan Jay Lerner. My Fair Lady is indisputably one of the greatest musicals of all time. I enthusiastically endorse Dominic's study of Lerner and Loewe's masterpiece." --Tim Rice

"A captivating book due to the tremendous amount of new information supplied in its exciting narrative. While My Fair Lady seems in retrospect like an inevitably perfect musical, McHugh reveals that its creation was fraught with many potential roadblocks and creative differences. A fascinating read!" --Michael Feinstein

"Dominic McHugh has written a fine authoritative study of one of the world's greatest musicals. Anyone with an interest in the detailed history of the creation of My Fair Lady must read this book."--Liz Robertson, widow of Alan Jay Lerner

"An admirable and important book... McHugh deserves our gratitude for the immense amount of new information he provides." --TalkinBroadway.com

"A revealing look at the intricacies of writing and staging the production." --Dallas Morning News

"Presents a completely new, behind-the-scenes look at the five-year creation of the show, revealing the tensions and complex relationships that went into its making... This book is the first to shed light on the many behind-the-scenes creative discussions that took place from casting decisions all the way through the final months of frantic preparation leading to the premiere in March 1956....Overall, this book explores why My Fair Lady continues to resonate with audiences worldwide more than fifty years after its premiere." --BroadwayWorld.com

"Mr. McHugh has gone above and beyond and previous accounts, digging deep through mountains of research to present a truly comprehensive examination of the people and personalities who dedicated years into making this show sparkle on Broadway and around the world." --BroadwayCafeSociety.com

"McHugh's analysis is, on the whole, a fascinating one." --The Weekly Standard

"This beautifully written and scrupulously researched book deserves the warmest possible recommendation and it's essential reading for anyone with a serious interest in Broadway musicals." --International Record Review

"Merits the careful attention, and will make any fan of the musical happy for new reasons to love it." --The Columbus Dispatch

"[A] well-written, excellently documented, thorough account...Highly recommended." --Choice

"If you enjoy musical comedy you will enjoy Loverly. If you want or need to know something of that genre's fascinating history, you must read it. I look forward eagerly to Dominic McHugh's next publication." --Journal of Popular Culture

"McHugh has provided an entertaining and desperately needed scholarly investigation and analysis of the evolution and creation of My Fair Lady. Loverly is a must-read for any musical theatre scholar." --Studies in Musical Theatre

"[A]n indispensable reference for all scholars of Lerner and Loewe's masterpiece." --Psychology of Music

The Barnes & Noble Review

On February 4, 1956, My Fair Lady was performed for the first time, at out-of-town tryouts in New Haven. Except it almost wasn't. Rex Harrison, starring as Professor Henry Higgins, was inexperienced as a singer — his lines in the show are a cross between speech and song — and the prospect of having to make his voice carry over a full orchestra spooked him. He refused to go on, and at six o'clock the theater sent out announcements over the radio that the performance would be canceled — fortuitously, there was a blizzard that night, which provided a good excuse. But the audience showed up regardless, and it was up to Harrison's agent to give him an ultimatum: "No matter what happened that evening on stage, he said, Rex damn well had to go on."

Finally he did, forty minutes late, and the result was Broadway history. From the very first night, Dominic McHugh writes in Loverly: The Life and Times of My Fair Lady, My Fair Lady was recognized as a smash in the making and a classic of the American musical theater. McHugh proves it by the numbers: "The original Broadway production ran for more than six years and 2,717 performances, and in doing so overtook Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! to become the longest-running Broadway show to date." The cast album of My Fair Lady, featuring Harrison, Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle, and Cockney stalwart Stanley Holloway as Eliza's father, was the first LP to sell more than 2 million copies, then to sell more than 3 million. At the height of the Cold War, even the Russians wanted to see it: in 1960, it ran for fifty-six sold-out performances in the USSR.

In Loverly, which appears in Oxford's Broadway Legacies series, McHugh delves deep into the archives to provide a richly detailed account of the creation of My Fair Lady. Alan Jay Lerner, lyricist, and Frederick Loewe, composer, had several shows to their credit, including the hit Brigadoon, when they started exploring the idea of a musical based on George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion in 1952. But after complicated negotiations over the rights and the role of Eliza — which was initially destined for Mary Martin, star of South Pacific — the partners abandoned the idea and even broke up for a while. When they came back to it two years later, they toyed with casting Noël Coward as Higgins and Judy Holliday as Eliza but quickly zeroed in on Andrews and Harrison, who would become indelibly associated with their roles.

All this makes good backstage gossip, but the heart of Loverly is an earnest analysis of the ways Lerner and Loewe transformed a well-known play into an independent musical. Using music manuscripts and draft scripts, McHugh shows how Lerner and Loewe both drew on and revised Shaw's play (which itself existed in several versions, including a screenplay), and how beloved songs like "Just You Wait" assumed their final shape. McHugh concludes with a review of the major American and British productions and revivals of the show, as well as the movie version, in which Andrews was replaced by Audrey Hepburn, a bigger draw. Anyone who loves the show, or is interested in the nuts and bolts behind the golden age of the American musical, will find Loverly a fascinating read.

Adam Kirsch is a senior editor at The New Republic and a columnist for Nextbook.org. He is the author of Why Trilling Matters, Benjamin Disraeli, and The Modern Element: Essays on Contemporary Poetry.

Reviewer: Adam Kirsch

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199827305
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 7/9/2012
  • Series: Broadway Legacies Series
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Dominic McHugh is Lecturer in Music at The University of Sheffield.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

CONTENTS Chapter 1: False Starts and Artistic Promise Chapter 2: From Page to Stage: The Genesis of My Fair Lady Chapter 3: Shavian But Not Shaw: Developing the Script of My Fair Lady Chapter 4: Knowing the Score Chapter 5: Settling the Score: Part I Chapter 6: Settling the Score: Part II Chapter 7: My Fair Lady On Stage Chapter 8: The Legacy of My Fair Lady Appendix 1: "Without You" (early versions)
Appendix 2: "Why Can't the English?"
Appendix 3: "On the Street Where You Live"
Appendix 4: Cut material from "The Ascot Gavotte"
Appendix 5: "You Did It": Cut passage Bibliography Index

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)