Chapter

My Fair Lady

Ethan Mordden

in Coming up Roses

Published in print November 2000 | ISBN: 9780195140583
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199848867 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195140583.003.0010
My Fair Lady

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My Fair Lady was a phenomenon, running for almost seven years on Broadway, with 2,717 performances. It held the long-run record for musicals, had spun off more foreign productions than any other show, and had simply become the summoning title in any discussion of hit musicals. This raises the question of why My Fair Lady seem to embody the brilliance and beauty of the American musical in a way that no other title was thought to. Critic Ken Mandelbaum says that the show's heavily English background gave it what we might call “intelligentsia control”. At the time, musicals were looked upon by some as entertainment for the tired businessman; those who felt then that musicals were not on the same artistic plane as the best plays and who were ashamed of adoring The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, or Li'l Abner felt safe raving about Fair Lady because it was not just a Broadway musical but also a play by Shaw.

Keywords: My Fair Lady; intelligentsia control; plays; hit musicals

Chapter.  4968 words. 

Subjects: Popular Music

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