My Fair Lady

FACTS AND FIGURES
2005/06 UK tour of MY FAIR LADY

MY FAIR LADY is currently touring the U.K. in celebration of the show’s 50th anniversary. My Fair Lady has won five Olivier Awards including Best Musical Production and Best Theatre Choreography. This tour opened in Manchester in September 2005, where it won the Manchester Evening News Theatre Award for Best Musical.

It is currently one of the largest touring productions in the UK with a cast of 35, orchestra of 16 and 25 technicians who bring the show to life eight times a week.

It takes ten 45' trailers to move the production from one venue to the next. The show finishes in one venue on Saturday evening and opens at the next venue on the following Tuesday, just three days later.

SETS AND PROPS

  • There are 425 books on the set of Professor Higgins study.
  • The dustbin lids used in ‘With a Little Bit of Luck’ are reinforced lids, with specially designed handles and are attached using velcro. These props are changed 12 times throughout the tour.
  • The ‘marbles’ used when Eliza learns to speak clearly are chewable mints!
  • The company consume food and drink on set including eight bread rolls (for the men around the fire eating during ‘Wouldn’t it be Loverly’), 24 Maltesers (all the chocolates eaten throughout the show), 32 Mint Crumbles (marbles as above), four blocks of cheese (for the men around the fire eating during ‘Wouldn’t it be Loverly’), two Jamaica Ginger cakes and four jam tarts (tea being eaten by Pickering and Higgins during Eliza’s lessons), four litres of Coke (the brandy for Professor Higgins and Colonel Pickering) and 600ml of Ribena (mixed with food colouring for Professor Higgins and Colonel Pickering’s Port)

COSTUMES

  • There are 162 separate outfits in the show, including one ‘fat suit’ for the character Zoltan Karpathy.
  • Eliza’s ball dress has over 5897 beads, all of which are hand sewn on.
  • 195 costume changes occur during each performance.
  • The quickest costume change takes 30 seconds and is from Eliza’s everyday outfit to her stunning dress for the ball. This is a complete costume and wig change and takes five people! (three dressers and two wig people).
  • The largest hat in the show is worn for the Ascot scene and is one metre wide, including feathers.
  • After each show there are six loads of washing.
  • 24 shirts are washed, starched and ironed each day.
  • 7kg of washing powder and 3 litres of conditioner are used each week.

WIGS AND MAKE-UP

  • There are a total of 46 Wigs in the show (20 real hair and 26 acrylic), eight moustaches and one beard. Eliza alone has six wigs.
  • There are 75 wig changes during each performance.
  • 10 cans of hairspray and 800 baby wipes are used each week.

TECHNICAL

  • There are 300 separate lights in the lighting rig. All the lights together are a quarter of a million watts of light bulbs. It would cost £12,500 to replace each light unit and £1/2 million to replace the entire lighting rig.
  • The electrics department use over seven miles of cable. The automation department uses 2520' of cable.
  • 88 flying pieces of scenery move during each show. There are 42 bars in the grid used to hang the scenery on. The weight of the set items that are flown is 7980kg (5282kg scenery and 2698kg of lighting).
  • Six motors are used for the set item known as the floral hall arch and 12 motors are used to hang the electrics trusses.
  • There are 171 lighting cues, 13 automation cues and 15 flying cues.
  • When the Study set changes, it takes eight local stage crew, three local fly operators, four stage management crew and the automation operator.
  • It takes73 crew to move the show in the allocated three days.

GENERAL FACTS

  • My Fair Lady was adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion that was in turn based on a classical myth by Ovid in which Pygmalion fell in love with Galatea, a beautiful female statue.
  • My Fair Lady opened at the Mark Hellinger Theatre, New York on 15 March 1956 where it ran for 2,717 performances. The stars of the show were Rex Harrison (Professor Higgins), Julie Andrews (Eliza), then little known to American audiences, and Stanley Holloway as the dustman Alfred P. Doolittle.
  • My Fair Lady subsequently opened in London with the same cast on 30 April 1958 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. It enjoyed a record-breaking 5½ year run at that theatre that remained unbeaten until 19 December 1994 when it was overtaken by the Cameron Mackintosh production of Miss Saigon.
  • The My Fair Lady Broadway cast album spent over 300 weeks in the US chart, many of them at number 1.
  • My Fair Lady was filmed in 1964. It won the 1964 Academy Award for Best Picture together with seven other Academy Awards for Best Actor (Rex Harrison), Best Director (George Cukor), Best Colour Cinematography, Best Colour Art Direction/Set Decoration, Best Sound, Best Score (Andre Previn) and Best Colour Costume Design (Cecil Beaton).
  • Cameron Mackintosh first presented a new production of My Fair Lady in London in 1979, directed by its creator Alan Jay Lerner, where it played for two years at the Adelphi Theatre following a highly successful UK tour sponsored by the Arts Council. This production starred Liz Robertson (Eliza), who in 1981 married Alan Jay Lerner, Tony Britten (Higgins) and Dame Anna Neagle (Mrs Higgins).
  • The Cameron Mackintosh/Royal National Theatre production of My Fair Lady opened at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on 21 July 2001 to a record breaking advance.