MASTERVOICES PRESENTS WORLD PREMIERE OF NEW ADAPTATION OF LADY IN THE DARK
APRIL 25-27, AS PART OF NEW YORK CITY CENTER’S 75TH-ANNIVERSARY SEASON
VICTORIA CLARK HEADS UP CAST IN PRODUCTION THAT FEATURES COSTUMES BY
ZAC POSEN, CAROLINA HERRERA, AND THOM BROWNE
Tickets Now Available for Newly-Added Third Performance on April 27
New York, NY, 3/25/2019 – MasterVoices will conclude its 2018-19 season with the world premiere of a new adaptation of the legendary Kurt Weill, Ira Gershwin, Moss Hart musical Lady in the Dark. Presented as part of New York City Center’s 75th–anniversary season, it is directed and conducted by MasterVoices Artistic Director Ted Sperling, and choreographed by Doug Varone. The musical will star Tony Award winner Victoria Clark in the lead role of Liza Elliott. In addition to the previously announced performances on April 25 and 26, because of high-ticket demand, a matinee has been added for April 27. Opening on Broadway in 1941, Lady in the Dark was groundbreaking in its unusual subject matter—psychoanalysis—and unconventional structure. It has not been seen in New York in 25 years, since it was presented as part of the inaugural Encores! season at New York City Center in 1994.
Lady in the Dark will feature MasterVoices’ 120 singers, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and Doug Varone and Dancers. Varone’s new choreography makes dance an integral element in Liza’s story, as dancers act out her thoughts sung by the chorus. In addition to Miss Clark, the cast of eight includes Tony Nominees Montego Glover, Ashley Park, and Ron Raines; Ben Davis, Christopher Innvar, and David Pittu; and Golden Globe Award and Academy Award Nominee Amy Irving.
MasterVoices has performed several of Kurt Weill’s lesser-known works, including The Firebrand of Florence, Knickerbocker Holiday, and The Road of Promise. The City Center Lady in the Dark performances premiere the new edition of the script and score; the music will be performed in its entirety, and the script has been edited for this presentation by Christopher Hart and Kim Kowalke. Doug Fitch, who recently collaborated with MasterVoices on Orphic Moments, is the scenic designer, and close collaborators Tracy Christensen (costume design), James Ingalls (lighting design), and Scott Lehrer (sound design) join the artistic team.
For the surreal Glamour, Wedding, and Circus dream sequences for which the revolutionary Broadway musical is known, MasterVoices enlisted the curatorial help of Vogue international editor-at-large Hamish Bowles to identify designers to collaborate on the costumes. He selected Zac Posen to bring his glamour and period-inspired sophistication to the design of the Glamour Dream in which Liza dreams that she is the toast of New York high society. Carolina Herrera will employ her signature avant-elegant style to the disturbing Wedding Dream with its themes of sex and death. Thom Browne’s sense of whimsy, playful use of bright colors and oversized patterns, and signature upending of expectations on proportion, will help visualize the Circus Dream with its “house-of-mirrors” effect representing Liza’s tortured mind. Thanks to a Zac Posen collaboration with Brooks Brothers, the brand is dressing the male dancers in the Glamour Dream. Costume designer Tracy Christensen—who worked previously on MasterVoices projects including The Pirates of Penzance, Song of Norway, and Babes in Toyland—will provide the clothing for the real-life scenes, and also supplement and coordinate the work of the three fashion designers for the dreams.
“I’ve been fascinated with this musical since I discovered it in college,” said Artistic Director Ted Sperling. “I staged a production in Philadelphia in 2001, and it’s been my dream to stage it in New York with my wonderful friend Victoria Clark, ever since. This is a rare chance to experience this groundbreaking work in all its musical glory. Like almost all shows of the golden age, Lady in the Dark is built on period expectations of how men and women are supposed to fit into society. But I think the authors were quite forward-thinking, and I admire their choice to center the show on a woman in charge who is trying to find the right balance in her life, as so many of us—both men and women—are today.”
Thursday, April 25, 2019, 8:00 pm
Friday, April 26, 2019, 8:00 pm
Saturday, April 27, 2019, 2:00 pm
Book by Moss Hart
Music and Lyrics by Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin
Ted Sperling, Artistic Director and Conductor
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Doug Varone Dancers
Scenic design by Doug Fitch
Costume design by Tracy Christensen
Lighting design by James Ingalls
Sound design by Scott Lehrer
Additional select designs by Zac Posen, Carolina Herrera, and Thom Browne
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Victoria Clark LIZA ELLIOTT, editor-in-chief of the fashion magazine Allure
Amy Irving DR. BROOKS, a psychiatrist
Ashley Park MISS FOSTER, Liza’s secretary / SUTTON, Liza’s maid
Montego Glover MAGGIE GRANT, fashion editor of Allure
David Pittu RUSSELL PAXTON, staff photographer of Allure / Beekman, Liza’s chauffeur
Christopher Innvar CHARLEY JOHNSON, advertising manager of Allure/a Marine
Ben Davis RANDY CURTIS, a Hollywood star
Ron Raines KENDALL NESBITT, publisher of Allure / PIERRE, headwaiter at The Seventh Heaven
Tickets: Priced from $30 to $140, may be purchased online at NYCityCenter.org, by calling 212.581.1212, or in person at the City Center Box Office, 131 W 55th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues.
About Lady in the Dark
For writer Moss Hart, lyricist Ira Gershwin, and composer Kurt Weill, Lady in the Dark represented a departure and a turning point. It was Moss Hart’s first full book for a musical, Ira Gershwin’s first collaboration after the death of his brother George, and would prove to be Kurt Weill’s first major Broadway success. In 1941, all three wanted to break free of the prevailing musical comedy conventions of the day, and they succeeded, creating a witty and engaging hit musical with an unusual structure, about a serious subject, psychoanalysis. It ran for two seasons on Broadway, followed by a national tour and a return to Broadway for close to 800 performances.
The show blooms into music in the extended dream sequences experienced by Liza Elliott, a fashion magazine editor who suffered a trauma early in life. She has retreated emotionally, and built barriers that keep her from fully living her life and engaging with others. As she reaches middle age, Liza’s protective wall begins to develop cracks, and her unhappiness rises to the surface. Her visits to Dr. Brooks—originally a role for a male actor, and here performed by actress Amy Irving—help Liza face her unhappiness, and force her to consider her childhood experiences from a wiser, adult perspective.
The 1941 production of Lady in the Dark boasted a cast of 56 actors, singers, and dancers, an orchestra of 21, and four stage turntables. It featured costumes by Irene Sharaff and gowns by Hattie Carnegie. Gertrude Lawrence starred and Danny Kaye became an overnight sensation when he brilliantly executed the tongue-twisting lyrics to “Tschaikowsky.” The 1944 film version starred Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland and was, at the time, the most expensive and lavish movie since Gone with the Wind. With its unusual subject matter and structure—a naturalistic play with extravagant musical dream sequences interspersed—Lady in the Dark marked the start of an era of continuing innovation in the musical theater.
Major funding for Lady in the Dark has been generously provided by: Arthur F. and Alice E. Adams Charitable Foundation; Nancy Dale Becker; Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts; the Howard Gilman Foundation; Jerome Robbins Foundation; The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music; National Endowment for the Arts; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; Ted & Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund; Frank and Mary Skillern; and The Roger Rees Fund for Musical Theater.