The Lyric Stage company in Dallas has for years put on classic Broadway musicals with their original orchestrations, helping to drive a trend particularly congenial to Weill fans, and Lady in the Dark (Weill, Ira Gershwin, Moss Hart) has been on their short list for some time. Meanwhile, bruce d. mcclung and Kurt Weill Edition Managing Editor Elmar Juchem have been engaged in the painstaking process of preparing a new critical edition of Lady in the Dark, which not only establishes the original scoring but also restores the show’s book as performed on Broadway, a shorter and more effective script that plays much better than the uncut, “literary” version Hart published in 1941 that has become standard for licensed performances. When you prepare a new edition of a musical theater work, you have to test it out–the script but also the instrumental parts. And so the Edition has asked Lyric Stage to put its tradition to work and stage the show with the new materials, which are really, for the most part, the old materials, preserving the show as performed during the Broadway run.
The benefits to the Edition and the theater are obvious, but Texas audiences are also in for a treat. They will have an opportunity to see a groundbreaking Broadway show that set several new standards for the Great White Way. There’s the show’s unique structure, with nearly all the music placed separate from the book scenes in three “little one-act operas” (as Weill called them) depicting the main character’s dreams as recounted to her psychoanalyst. Lady was one of the earliest instances on Broadway of using psychoanalysis as subject matter. The show marked Ira Gershwin’s return to Broadway, four years after the death of his brother George.
Lyric Stage stalwarts Ann Nieman and Jay Dias direct and conduct, respectively. Janelle Lutz takes a star turn as fashion magazine editor Liza Elliott, who must come to grips with her childhood traumas in order to cure her emotional maladies. The male leads are Ryan Appleby, Christopher J. Deaton, Conor Guzman, and Shane Peterman.
American Theatre’s coverage of the production
Back story of Dallas production (Dallas Morning News)
Blog post on 2014-15 Lyric Stage season
Learn more about Lady in the Dark