Agent Recalls Rex Harrison's MY FAIR LADY Stage Fright, Musical's Cut Songs

Agent Recalls Rex Harrison's MY FAIR LADY Stage Fright, Musical's Cut Songs

In light of a performance of the "lost songs" of MY FAIR LADY at the University of Sheffield, the New York Post writes about Julie Andrews' agent Richard Seff and his memories of the musical's first preview -- and star Rex Harrison's stage fright -- on February 4, 1956 in New Haven, Conn.

Read the original story here.

Seff told the Post, "We got a frantic call from the manager of the theater who said, 'Get your ass up here. Harrison doesn't want to go on tonight, and you have to convince him that he must.'"

Harrison had freaked out at rehearsal the day before because he had never done a musical before and was having trouble following the orchestra.

The team had come to the consensus that the first preview would have to be cancelled, until the theater manager refused to disappoint a sold-out crowd, saying, "If Harrison doesn't go on, I'll make sure everybody right up to Walter Winchell knows he's got stage fright!"

Harrison compromised and agreed to go on as long as director Moss Hart would remind the audience that MY FAIR LADY was still a work in progress. It went off without a hitch. Seff said, "It was wonderful, and Rex and Julie were wonderful, but it was ridiculously long."

Hart, trimming the four-and-a-half-hour show, went on to cut the ballet and the songs "Come to the Ball" and "Say a Prayer for Me".

MY FAIR LADY is headed to the Muny in St. Louis this summer, starring Alexandra Silber and Anthony Andrews. The Lerner & Loewe classic continues to be performed across the country and around the world.

Image source.

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