Theater review by Larry Murray
There’s a fresh and fast paced new production of Pygmalion on the stage of the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and it is a wonder. Those of you who are fans of George Bernard Shaw (GBS) would do well to schedule an impromptu trip to see it. If you enjoyed My Fair Lady you will find that this all-talk no-music original has deeper and richer characters, though you might expect the cast to break out in song at any moment. Seeing Pygmalion clues you in to the fact that Alan Jay Lerner did not so much create the lyrics for the musical as simply crib some of them from the original GBS script.
Can it be that a hundred years has passed since George Bernard Shaw wrote Pygmalion? Certainly it is the most popular and beloved of all his plays, yet since the first performance on stage its ending has often been declared unsatisfactory by those who like the leading couple to end up married. Since Higgins and Dolittle do NOT walk into the sunset together, producers and actors have been prompted to ad lib various endings that suggest otherwise. It annoyed GBS so much that he actually penned an epilogue, an essay so detailed and convoluted that it is surprising that some Hollywood filmmaker hasn’t announced “Pygmalion, The Sequal: Eliza’s Revenge.”