Getting serious for a moment, this is the fact around which we will orbit: What really constitutes American culture? Literature and architecture and painting -- yes, certainly. But what particularly animates our hearts is song -- and, in particular, the living energy of the American musical theater. In that buoyant realm, there’s no greater literate master than lyricist and writer Alan Jay Lerner (1918-1986). The open-and-shut-case evidence for this assertion is his CV: On A Clear Day, Brigadoon, Gigi, Paint Your Wagon, An American In Paris (story and screen play), Camelot, and -- most famously, My Fair Lady.
Watching our black and white TV, as a child I noticed my parents (and the studio audience) were delighted by a singer I’d never heard of. I could not understand the big to-do about him.