My Fair Lady


On a rainy London night, the crowds are leaving the opera at Covent Garden. Freddy Eynsford-Hill runs into flower girl Eliza Doolittle, spilling her flowers onto the muddy ground. While she is dressing him down for his clumsiness, phonetics expert Professor Henry Higgins, takes notes regarding her thick, cockney accent. Higgins attracts the attention of another linguist, Colonel Pickering. Since each has been seeking an opportunity to meet the other, it is agreed that Pickering will come to stay with Higgins.
Eliza, having saved a bit of money, comes to Higgins’s home in hopes of engaging his services for speaking lessons. Her accent is so dreadful that Higgins sees a challenge and accepts a wager with Pickering that he can teach her sufficiently to pass her off as royalty. Higgins takes Eliza into his home and the arduous refinement begins.
Alfred Doolittle learns of his daughter’s good fortune and shows up at the Higgins residence. He is not an outraged father demanding that his daughter be brought to him, he wants only compensation of a five-pound note, no more, no less. Higgins is amused at his moral reasoning and pays him off.


Higgins grills Eliza mercilessly. Finally, progress can be seen and Higgins decides to give her a brief “trial run” at the Ascot races.
The now-beautiful Eliza immediately wins Freddy’s heart and does quite nicely with her slow, measured speech. That is, until the races begin. The more excited she gets, the more she slips back into her cockney speech and finally shocks several of the ladies into a graceful faint with some encouragement shouted at her horse: “Move yer bloomin arse!”


Six weeks later, despite the setback, Higgins decides that Eliza is ready for the Embassy Ball. Eliza charms everyone quite completely, including the queen and the nefarious linguist, Zoltan Karpathy. After the ball, Higgins and Pickering congratulate each other profusely, but not a word of compliment is spent on the heartbroken Eliza, who confronts Higgins about his lack of caring. He dismisses her with his usual coldness.


Upon leaving, Eliza finds Freddy seated on the front steps of Higgins’s house, and he professes his love for her. She tells him in no uncertain terms how tired she is of words. “If you’re in love,” she sings, “show me!”


Eliza returns to her familiar Covent Garden. There, she finds her father being treated as royalty by pub proprietor and friends alike. Higgins’s recommendation of Doolittle as the most original moralist in England has led to a fantastic monetary windfall. Since he is now “respectable,” his lady friend demands that he marry her.
Higgins learns that Eliza has left and becomes desperate to find her. Finally, he locates her at his mother’s home. Mrs. Higgins has taken a definite liking to Eliza and defends her to her insensitive son. Higgins asks Eliza to return, asking her if she has ever known him to treat anyone any better than he has treated her. She agrees that he treats everyone equally badly, and, unconvinced that he can ever change, she leaves.


That same evening, Higgins realizes how much he misses Eliza. As he listens wistfully to the recording of their first meeting in his home, Eliza steps into the room, lifts the arm from the machine, and recites the next sentence in her former cockney accent. “I washed me face and hands before I come, I did.”


She has returned

Characters


Eliza Doolittle:

A cockney flower girl from Lisson Grove, Eliza works outside Covent Garden. Her potential to become “a lady” becomes the object of a bet between Higgins and Pickering.
Feisty and common to start with must be able to transform into a Lady with an elegant upper class accent, must be able to move/dance
Playing age 18 to mid 20’s


Henry Higgins:

A British, upper class professional bachelor, Higgins is a world-famous phonetics expert, teacher, and author of “Higgins’ Universal Alphabet.”
Arrogant self centred, must be able to demonstrate a softer side at the end of the show.
Must be able to move
Playing age 40 - 55


Colonel Pickering:

A retired British officer with colonial experience, Pickering is the author of “Spoken Sanskrit.”
A real gentleman, perhaps slightly eccentric. Takes a shine to Eliza
Must be able to move
Playing age 40 - 55


Alfred P. Doolittle:

Eliza’s father, Doolittle is true cockney. Lively and strong – he is a dustman
In his demeanour he is the equivalent of Higgins.
Playing age 40 – 55
Must be able to move well/dance


Freddy Eynsford-Hill:

An upper class young man, Freddy becomes completely smitten with Eliza. Perhaps he is slightly unworldly and immature
Playing age Mid 20’s early 30s


Mrs. Pearce:

Henry Higgins’ housekeeper. mid 40 – 60


Prof. Zoltan Karpathy:

A Hungarian, Karpathy is a former phonetics student of Henry Higgins who fancies himself impossible to dupe when it comes to identifying the origin of anyone’s speech patterns.
Playing age 30 – 40 (younger than Higgins)

Must be able to move/dance

Mrs. Eynsford-Hill:

A friend of Mrs. Higgins, Mrs. Eynsford-Hill is Freddy’s mother.
Playing age 40 - 50


Mrs. Higgins:

Henry’s long-suffering mother. Despairing of Higgins she takes Eliza under her wing in the end.
Playing age mid 50’s - 70


Harry:

Drinking companion of Alfred Doolittle. Must be able to move/dance


Jamie:

Drinking companion of Alfred Doolittle. Must be able to move/dance

Bartender:

George works the Tottenham Court Road Pub.


Mrs. Hopkins:

A cockney woman of Tottenham Court.

A Bystander

First Cockney, Second Cockney, Third Cockney, Fourth Cockney: Four people who form a Cockney quartet.

Butler: Henry Higgins’s household employee.

Footman: Henry Higgins’s household employee.

Lord Boxington: A friend of Mrs. Higgins, Boxington is an Ascot race patron.

Lady Boxington: The wife of Lord Boxington.

Flower Girl

Footman: An embassy employee

Selsey Man: A bystander outside Covent Garden

Various Servants, Maids, Stewards, Etc.