Mastervoices presents "Lady in the Dark" at City Center - New York City Article

Mastervoices presents "Lady in the Dark" at City Center

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Mastervoices presents "Lady in the Dark" at City Center

Apr 20, 2019

Mastervoices presents "Lady in the Dark"
by Kurt Weill, Ira Gershwin, & Moss Hart
City Center
131 W 55th St., CityTix (212) 581-1212
April 25 - 27

Don't be another "Poor Jenny" - make up your mind at once to see this remarkable theatrical event.  It may be an exaggeration to say this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see this legendary show - but only slightly. In 1941, Lady in the Dark was a rather daring Broadway effort both in terms of its subject matter - an overtly Freudian show about psychoanalsys and repressed female desires - and its technique, which was a combination of a "straight" dramatic play alternating with full-blown operetta-like musical scenes that were presented as dreams.  Viewed from the perspective of history, the show is equally notable for its music and words team: Lady in the Dark was the first Broadway success by the emigre Kurt Weill and simultaneously the major return to form for Ira Gershwin following the death of his brother, and principal collaborator, George, four years earlier.

Alas, for all of its melody, beauty, and charm, it's unlikely that the show could be fully revived on Broadway - its depictions of feminine psychosis were even somewhat dated in its day - without a total rewrite of the book by a major female playwright.    Yet artistic director Ted Sperling has promised a concert production that will bring all of its glory to the fore, not least because of leading lady Victoria Clark (a standout in Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, a female fantasy of a different sort). 

Although the other elements are hardly mere window dressing, here's a show that's worth staging for its score alone: at the time, "The Saga of Jenny" ("...bright as a penny...") was the big hit at the time, although today everyone knows "My Ship" as a major jazz standard.  But if you don't know "This is New," "Girl of the Moment,"  and "Tchaikovsky," the frantic tongue-twister that made a star out of Danny Kaye in 1941, you're missing out on some of the greatest music of the American musical theater. 

For further information and tickets, please click here.

To hear scholar Laurence Maslon and director Ted Sperling present a fuller history of the show, with recordings from across an 80-year period, click here.

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Author: Will Friedwald
Photography by: STEPHEN SOROKOFF

Author: Will Friedwald

Will Friedwald writes about music and popular culture for THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, VANITY FAIR and PLAYBOY magazine and reviews current shows for THE CITIVIEW NEW YORK. He also is the author of nine books, including the award-winning A BIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP SINGERS, SINATRA: THE SONG IS YOU, STARDUST MELODIES, TONY BENNETT: THE GOOD LIFE, LOONEY TUNES & MERRIE MELODIES, and JAZZ SINGING. He has written over 600 liner notes for compact discs, received ten Grammy nominations, and appears frequently on television and other documentaries. He is also a consultant and curator for Apple Music.

New Books:

THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP VOCAL ALBUMS (Pantheon Books / Random House, November 2017)