Theatrical legend Alan Jay Lerner was commemorated today, Wednesday 14 June, 25 years after his death, with a plaque in St Paul's Church Covent Garden. The plaque was unveiled by his wife, actress Liz Robertson, during a service in celebration of his life and work, attended by friends, family and other theatrical greats including Don Black, Anthony Andrews, Tim Rice, Russ Abbot and Tony Britton.
As well as heartfelt tributes from Don Black, Jasper Britton and Gerard Kenny, the service also included lively performances, such as Russ Abbot singing ‘With a Little Bit of Luck' from MY FAIR LADY, backed by the West End Chorus, Tim Rice singing ‘Wandrin' Star' from PAINT YOUR WAGON, backed by Cantabile, and students from Laine Theatre Arts performing the ‘Ascot Gavotte.'
MY FAIR LADY, Lerner's most famous musical, was ever present during the service. The show opens with Eliza selling flowers from the portico of St Paul's Church itself. One of the original costumes that Julie Andrews wore on stage was elegantly displayed (thanks to the V&A). Finally, Liz Robertson, Katie Knight-Adams, Jill Martin, Jean Scott, Amy Nuttall, and Sally Ann Howes, all of whom have played ‘Eliza' at various times over the last fifty years, all came together to sing ‘Wouldn't it be Loverly'.
There were drinks and canapés after the ceremony in the Grand Saloon at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, where the London productions of My Fair Lady and Camelot first opened.
Alan Jay Lerner was the lyricist of many famous musicals including BRIGADOON, PAINT YOUR WAGON, CAMELOT, GIGI, ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER and, most famously, MY FAIR LADY.
The event was produced by Lerner's wife Liz Robertson, directed by Hugh Woolridge, and with musical direction by David Firman and Jason Carr.
Photo Credit: Roy Tan