Lauren Ambrose as Eliza Doolittle. (Photo: Joan Marcus)
Director Bartlett Sher has not changed the ending of “My Fair Lady.” Rather he says he has “interpreted” the ending in a manner that Bernard Shaw, who wrote the source material the musical is based on, would approve. This interpretation, which appears to set Eliza Doolittle on a path to her own life and thus gives her more agency, is also one that the estate of the lyricist and librettist Alan Jay Lerner and the foundation of composer Frederick Loewe approve of and were looking for when they set out to revive the musical this year. The ending of the…

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Talkback

8 COMMENTS

  1. I’m sorry. Changing a timeless and perfect musical like this is an abomination. Yes, there are changes in the world. Women have more rights and rightfully so. But the story takes place in a time when women did not have these rights and the struggle of men and women were different, women being, pardon my language, more subservient. If you are going to change “My Fair Lady” to mirror the changes to modern times, then take it out of the era it was originally written in and bastardize it completely. Bringing the slippers at the end was how it was written and loved and adored by so many millions of fans. It does not make us male chauvinist pigs to want the ending to remain the same. It makes us heroes to have the guts to keep a perfect musical exactly as written. Shame, shame.

    • Except, as the article makes very clear, this WASN’T how it was written, and the “times” you are referring to are the 50s, not the actual time when the show takes place. George Bernard Shaw was ADAMANT that the two characters shouldn’t be romantically involved, and he wrote numerous female characters who were independent. It’s not like it was the Medieval era. This ending is actually the “correct” ending, regardless of “modern times.”

    • I think perhaps you are overreacting. Did you see the rest of the play? The ending has literally nothing to do with the rest. It’s not a romantic play, so the presence of absence of any romance at the end shouldn’t factor into anyone’s enjoyment of the play as a whole. This is sort of like saying you hated the remastered Return of the Jedi because they used Hayden Christensen as Anakin’s ghost in the final scene – it literally doesn’t matter. In both cases it’s like 5 seconds of the entire production and the rest is solid gold entertainment.

  2. My problem wasn’t that she left him, it is that she had already left him. At his mother’s house, she made it quite clear that “I can do, without you.” So there is no point for her to come back to his house and let him know that could do without him, that was already accomplished, and beautifully so. This ending felt clunky and redundant.

  3. As Higgins said – #metoo, HA.
    Irrespective of “modern times” – or Higgins’ horrible treatment (which of course says more about HIM than it ever did about HER)…if we weren’t to conclude that Eliza and Henry ended up together, why waste our time with not one but two songs: I Could Have Danced All Night and I’ve Grown Accustomed to her Face?
    We loved the show. We hated the end.
    Why did she come back? Just to touch his face and then leave…through the non-existent door?
    Let’s leave the classics alone shall we?

  4. She came back to provide closure; her gesture indicated to Henry that she forgives how he used her, appreciates what he has given her, and bears no grudges as she goes out to build herself a life. In my head the next image shows her running a flower shop.