Skip to main content

Collection Lars Schmidt Collection

My Fair Lady

Schmidt's development as a producer of American musicals culminated in the eight-year run of My Fair Lady (MFL) across European stages. Between 1959-1967 Schmidt produced twenty-two productions of MFL in nine countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Holland, Italy, Norway, Sweden). In 1960-1963 alone MFL played in twelve cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague,  Brussels, Antwerp, West Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt,  Milan, Rome, and Vienna).

To accomplish this feat Schmidt brought together all the elements he tested on Kiss Me, Kate; Annie Get Your Gun; Showboat; and the Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals (use of producing partners; negotiation of percentage of take; translation into local language; replication of costumes, sets, posters, and programs; employment of musical-style performers). He also used MFL to introduce the commercial tie-in. Programs and newspapers carried advertisements for MFL-related or inspired cigarettes, lingerie, household items, and menswear.

Despite the emphasis on replicating the London/Broadway original, Schmidt did continue to seek out translators who could use nuanced language to convey the original intention of librettists and lyricists. In MFL this was especially important when it came to the differences between Eliza's Cockney dialect and the more proper language used by Higgins. Souvenir programs often included song lyrics in the language of the production locale.

While replication made for cohesion between productions and across national borders, there were complaints about the lack of originality. Not every theater-goer or critic was ready for a prefabricated experience.

Related digital items: Browse My Fair Lady

 Back to top