Eliza Doolittle Day
(Also known as 'Liza Doolittle Day, Liza Doolittle Day)
Eliza Doolittle Day is observed next on Saturday, May 20th, 2023 (104 days from today).
While it doesn't appear on any official lists of holidays, May 20th is Eliza Doolittle Day at least according to Alan Jay Lerner, who wrote the lyrics for the musical My Fair Lady.
Eliza Doolittle Day is in honor of Eliza alias Liza, a fictional character in George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion. Eliza is a classic character that has inspired many people over the years. She is strong, independent and knows how to get what she wants. So if you're looking for some inspiration, look no further than Liza Doolittle.
History of Eliza Doolittle Day
Eliza Doolittle Day is celebrated by fans of the musical My Fair Lady, the musical based on the 1912 play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. In the musical, Eliza Doolittle is a Cockney florist who wants to learn to speak properly. At the time of the story, proper speech was a symbol of movement and upward learning. Eliza meets Professor Henry Higgins at Covent Garden and he agrees to give her lessons on how to deal with it. Higgins believes he can transform her from someone who uses words like "not" to someone who can fit into London's elite.
In the musical, Eliza had dreamed of meeting the king. She sang a song "Just You Wait" to share her thoughts. In the song, the date of Eliza Doolittle Day is stated:
One day I will be famous! I will be decent and flexible; Come to St. James regular, I will call it St. Jim! One evening the king would say: 'Oh, Liza, old thing, I want all of England to praise you. Next week on May 20th, I'm announcing 'Liza Doolittle Day!'
Eliza Doolittle was first played on stage by London actress Patrick Campbell. She appeared in the 1938 film version of Pygmalion by Wendy Hiller. Julie Andrews later played her in the stage version of My Fair Lady, while Professor Henry Higgins was played by Rex Harrison. Audrey Hepburn played Eliza Doolittle in the 1964 film adaptation of My Fair Lady, and Rex Harrison reprized his stage role for the film. Ironically, Audrey Hepburn was not nominated for an Academy Award for her performance as Eliza Doolittle, but that same year, Julie Andrews won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Mary Poppins. Despite this, Hepburn received critical acclaim for his performance. Rex Harrison won the Best Actor award for his role as Professor Henry Higgins in the film.
In recent years, other actresses have played Doolittle. Martine McCutcheon portrayed her in the 2001 revival of My Fair Lady in London. She was always played by Lauren Ambrose in the 2018 production of My Fair Lady at Lincoln Center Theater on Broadway. Laura Benanti took over Ambrose in October 2018 and went on to play Doolittle in 2019.
How to celebrate Eliza Doolittle Day
- Read Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw.
- Watch the 1938 film Pygmalion.
- Watch a production of My Fair Lady on Broadway or elsewhere.
- Watch the movie version of My Fair Lady.
- Sit and enjoy "Just You Wait."
- Visit Covent Garden.
ObservedEliza Doolittle Day has been observed annually on May 20th.
Thursday, May 20th, 2021
Friday, May 20th, 2022
Saturday, May 20th, 2023
Monday, May 20th, 2024
Tuesday, May 20th, 2025