Eliza Doolittle through the century, in My Fair Lady and Pygmalion

The fifth Broadway production of My Fair Lady opened a year ago today, as good a time as any to wax nostalgic over not just Lerner and Loewe’s 1956 musical, but over Pygmalion, the 1913 play by George Bernard Shaw on which the musical is based.

What better way than a photo gallery of Eliza Doolittles?
There have been at least 27 Eliza Doolittles on Broadway alone, including the Elizas in the six Broadway productions of Pygmalion, portrayed by some of the great actresses of the American theater, including Lynn Fontanne in 1926 and Gertrude Lawrence in 1945. As the photo captions below make clear, the play is still being performed,  long after the musical made its debut — Amanda Plummer  in 1987, Claire Danes in 2007, Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey) was Eliza in a London production in 2008. Diana Rigg was Eliza in a 1974 Pygmalion, and Mrs. Higgins last year in the current Broadway revival of My Fair Lady.

Click on the photographs to read the captions.

 

 

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Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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