Lady in the Dark DVD cover

Recently Video and Arts International (VAI) added to its Weill catalogue with the first home-video release of the television broadcast of Lady in the Dark from 1954 (VAI 4588), NBC’s homage to the long-running Broadway show with music and lyrics by Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin and a book by Moss Hart. The program starred Ann Sothern, Carleton Carpenter, James Daly, Luella Gear, et al., and was the second of a series of color “spectaculars” broadcast by NBC. Max Liebman directed. Although the drama was broadcast in color, only a black-and-white kinescope has survived, but the VAI production makes effective use of it. VAI has already issued a similar production of One Touch of Venus (1955) and Theater Music of Brecht & Weill with Lotte Lenya and Gisela May.

To fit the program into a 90-minute time slot, the book required extensive cutting, but the musical dream sequences, one of the most innovative features of an innovative musical that bowled over Broadway in 1941, retain much of their character. Considerably more of Weill’s score made it into the television version than the feature film of 1944, although the music was reorchestrated by Irwin Kostal. “One Life to Live,” “Girl of the Moment,” “Tschaikowsky,” “Saga of Jenny,” and “My Ship” all get their full due.

The DVD is playable in all regions but is in NTSC format. Professor bruce mcclung, author of Lady in the Dark: Biography of a Musical (Oxford Univ. Press, 2007) contributed liner notes to the release. Devotees of Lady in the Dark will want to add this adaptation to their collections.


VAI page for Lady in the Dark

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