Any Broadway fan will find Dominic McHugh's story of the life and times of 'My Fair Lady' a fascinating read.
By Adam Kirsch, for The Barnes and Noble Review
On February 4, 1956, My Fair Lady was performed for the first time, at out-of-town tryouts in New Haven. Except it almost wasn't. Rex Harrison, starring as Professor Henry Higgins, was inexperienced as a singer – his lines in the show are a cross between speech and song – and the prospect of having to make his voice carry over a full orchestra spooked him. He refused to go on, and at six o'clock the theater sent out announcements over the radio that the performance would be canceled – fortuitously, there was a blizzard that night, which provided a good excuse. But the audience showed up regardless, and it was up to Harrison's agent to give him an ultimatum: "No matter what happened that evening on stage, he said, Rex damn well had to go on."