Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Look Back: A Samford Production of Pygmalion and George Bernard Shaw's Birthday

July is the birthday month of George Bernard Shaw. To celebrate, The Special Collection would like to share some photographs of the campus 1957 production of Pygmalion, one of Shaw’s most well-known plays. 

Rod Davis as Colonel Pickering and Lou Jean Porter as Eliza Doolittle in the 1957 Pygmalion production.

Pygmalion is the story of Professor Henry Higgins, who bets he can train Eliza Doolittle, a cockney flower seller, to pass for gentility at a party by teaching her proper English speech.  A biting satire of the British class system and a commentary on women's independence, Shaw was adamant that the play would not end with Professor Henry Higgins marrying Eliza Dolittle.  Despite his protests, this was exactly the ending audiences desired.  Directors regularly transformed the story into a romance, much to the disgust and protest of Shaw. 

The cast in dress rehearsal for the Howard College production of Pygmalion in 1957. 
After Shaw’s death, the romantic musical My Fair Lady transformed the story entirely, making it a romance and gaining mass popularity. It’s through My Fair Lady that most people know the story today. 
A photograph of a cast member, identified on the back of the photograph as Linda Jones, in make up for the 1957-1958 production of Pygmalion

Text and photographs contributed by Rachel Cohen of the Special Collection.

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