Lady in the Dark | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Lady in the Dark 

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A huge hit in its lavish 1941 Broadway premiere, Lady in the Dark was, for its time, a ground-breaking exploration of a mature career woman's competing needs for personal and professional satisfaction--as well as a virtuosic vehicle for the inimitable Gertrude Lawrence and a showcase for up-and-coming comic Danny Kaye. The collaborative effort of three giant talents--composer Kurt Weill, lyricist Ira Gershwin, and playwright Moss Hart--Lady tells the story of a fashion-magazine editor who wrestles with emotional distress on a psychiatrist's couch, her dreams coming to life in elaborate musical fantasy sequences that incorporate the sounds of American jazz, French and Viennese operetta, the German cabaret, and the American circus. Though individual songs ("My Ship," "Tschaikowsky," "The Saga of Jenny") have endured, Weill's original orchestration was lost; now it has been restored under the auspices of the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, and Light Opera Works is giving the definitive critical edition of the work its first professional staging. Directed by Peter Amster and conducted by Edward Zelnis, with Janis Knox as the troubled heroine and Philip Kraus as the madcap second banana, this significant performance should be a treat for lovers of one of musical theater's fabled classics. At Cahn Auditorium, December 28 through 31 (600 Emerson, Evanston, 708-869-6300). Thursday, 2 PM; Friday and Saturday, 8 PM; Sunday, 2 and 8 PM. $13-$32.


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