Lyric Stage presented Kurt Weill, Ira Gershwin and Moss Hart’s LADY IN THE DARK April 24-May 3, 2015 in the Irving Arts Center’s Carpenter Performance Hall.
Lyric Stage Founding Producer Steven Jones described how this production came to be.
“LADY IN THE DARK had been on our short list for a number of years. Back in 2009 we produced the premiere of the restoration of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s THE KING AND I. After seeing this production, Ted Chapin, President of The Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, suggested to the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music that Lyric Stage would be a great place for Weill’s musicals.” Carolyn Weber of the Foundation contacted Jones and asked if Lyric Stage would be interested in producing the critical edition of LADY IN THE DARK when the restoration process of the performance materials was complete.
Elmar Juchem, Managing Editor of the Kurt Weill Edition and Associate Director for Publications and Research at the Weill Foundation, supervised the years long restoration of LADY IN THE DARK. There are more surviving musical materials for LADY IN THE DARK than for any other American work by Kurt Weill. There were also multiple published versions of the script that did not match each other or the show that originally ran on Broadway. The sheer volume of material made this restoration a very tedious project. All of the years of work on the critical edition of LADY IN THE DARK culminated with Lyric Stage’s production.
LADY IN THE DARK deals with the psychoanalysis of central character Liza Elliott, editor of the high fashion magazine Allure (inspired by Diana Vreeland of Vogue). The theme of psychoanalysis is said to be based on director/author Moss Hart’s own experiences with psychoanalyst Gregory Zilboorg. Except for the final song, all the music in the play is heard in three dream sequences: the Glamour Dream, the Wedding Dream, and the Circus Dream which are like mini musicals within a straight play. The final song, “My Ship,” functions as a leitmotif for Liza’s insecurity: as each dream commences, a snippet of the tune is heard, as it is a haunting melody which Liza recognizes but cannot name, or sing with words, until her anxiety is resolved.
Janelle Lutz starred as Liza Elliott with Ryan Appleby as Russell Paxton, Shane Peterman as Charlie Johnson, Christopher J. Deaton as Kendall Nesbitt and Conor Guzman as the young Hollywood movie star Randy Curtis. Also in the cast were Sonny Franks, Lois S. Hart, Jenny Tucker, Matthew Anderson, Alex Bigus, Carlee Cagle, Alexandra Cassens, Jack Michael Doke. Nicolette Doke, Anthony Fortino, Tanner Garmon, Alex Heika, Kyle Hughes, Emma Le, Megan McCullough, Michael Scott McKay, Nick Moore, Quinlin Sandefer, Lucy Shea, Kelly Silverthorn, Dustin Simington, Kayla Smith, Samantha Snow, Seth Womack, Camryn Wright and Katie Moyes Williams.
Lyric Stage Music Director Jay Dias conducted the 30 piece orchestra. Ann Nieman directed and choreographed the production.
Lyric Stage’s production of LADY IN THE DARK was funded in part by TACA, The City of Irving through the Irving Arts Board and The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc., New York, NY.