Lady in the Dark has a gorgeous score, a captivating plot, and plenty of star turns. Under the expert direction of Ted Sperling, our production aims to make its fundamentals shine and its innovations pop!
In its day, Lady surprised audiences by dispensing with the opening number, taking dark material for its subject matter, and fully integrating dance and music into the plot – innovations commonly associated with Oklahoma!. All the more reason to come experience our Lady in the Dark for yourself – Weill, Gershwin, and Hart’s masterpiece preceded Rodgers and Hammerstein’s by nearly three years!
Meet the (Other) Ladies of Lady
While the men may be the source of Liza’s problems, she’s got herself a solid base of female support. And in our production it’s even bigger: her psychiatrist, Dr. Brooks. Originally written as a man, but will now be played by a woman. It required no changes to the text, but it sure makes a world of difference!
Maggie Grant (played by Montego Glover): Fashion editor of Allure, and Liza’s best friend, and master of the deadpan. Maggie runs a tight ship and has her two feet solidly on the ground. Originally played by Margaret Dale, Montego’s extraordinary career ranges from The Color Purple (2007) and her Tony Award-winning turn in Memphis (2007) to the stoic and complex Angelica Schuyler in the Chicago production of Hamilton (2017-2019). MasterVoices fans will remember her from our acclaimed 2015 production of Pirates of Penzance.
Fun fact: Montego got her start working at Disney World in the late 1990s!
Miss Foster (played by Ashley Park): Liza’s indispensable secretary, who is as patient as the day is long. In our production this role has also assumed many of the lines given to the Alison Du Bois character in the original, who elicited giggles for her obvious resemblance to the outré Diana Vreeland. Ashley may be familiar to you from her roles as Tuptim in The King and I (2015), where she was music-directed by our very own Ted Sperling, and her Tony-nominated turn as the original Gretchen Wieners inMean Girls (2018).
Fun fact: Ashley made her Broadway debut as a replacement in Mamma Mia!
Dr. Brooks (played by Amy Irving): Liza’s therapist, who helps her to gain insight into the issues (and dreams) that plague her. Based on the legendary psychiatrist Dr. Lawrence Kubie, whose practice flourished in the 1930s and 1940s with patients including Tennessee Williams, Leonard Bernstein, Sid Caesar, and a certain Mr. Moss Hart. Amy Irving’s illustrious career includes roles in theater (Amadeus, The Coast of Utopia) television (Anastasia, The Good Wife), and film (Yentl, Crossing Delancey, Traffic).
Fun fact: Amy was once married to director Stephen Spielberg; she made her film debut in Carrie (1976).
Dissection of a Dream
To dramatize Liza’s psychoanalysis, Lady is structured around three sumptuous dream sequences in which her imaginings and fears are played out. The mix of fantasy and reality provides the perfect arena for the seductive and dramatic power of music – and fashion!
Last week we analyzed the Glamour Dream; this week we focus on the Circus Dream: 813 measures of sheer delightful madness. Replete with 5 musical numbers, a dance corps, a trial, a circus march and “The Saga of Jenny” (see below), our Circus Dream will feature looks by the inimitable Thom Browne, a CFDA Award-winning designer whose signature upending of proportion has inspired the use of circus themes in many of his own fashion shows.
Some Songs you may know
On the opposite end of the spectrum from last week’s “My Ship” – but nearly as famous – is “The Saga of Jenny,” recorded by everyone from Dawn Upshaw to Benny Goodman. Its lyrics were considered so scandalous that radio stations refused to play it. Gertrude Lawrence, performing the number on a USO tour, was nearly banned before receiving a reprieve from the Pentagon: “Miss Lawrence may do the bumps, provided she does them sideways.”
Listen to a tasteful snippet here, or watch a wild and woolly production number starring Julie Andrews below!