Shows L

LADY IN THE DARK A Musical Play in Two Acts, 7 Scenes. Music by Kurt Weill, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, book by Moss Hart Alvin Theatre, New York, 23 January 1941 (467 perfs) Playhouse, Nottingham, England, 9 December 1981 A film version was produced by Paramount in 1944 with Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland. SYNOPSIS ACT I Liza Elliott, editor of the fashion magazine Allure, has come to consult Dr. Brooks, a psychiatrist. She insists she is physically well and normal in her behaviour, but has been suffering from seizures of depression and fatigue. Asked by Dr. Brooks to describe anything that comes to mind, however insignificant, Liza mentions a song learned in childhood, which now haunts her continually in moments of terror because she cannot complete it. She begins to hum the song's initial motif, and we are carried for the first time into Liza's dream world. She is no longer the conservatively dressed and prim editor but a radiant, red-haired beauty to whom all pay homage. The scene melts away, and Dr. Brooks points out that in this dream Liza sees herself as a glamorous woman, unlike her appearance in real life. Another contradiction is that while Liza tells other women how to be beautiful in her magazine, she herself does not take advantage of this advice. Back in Liza's office, a screen star, Randy Curtis, has come to be photographed for the magazine. After he leaves, Kendall Nesbitt, publisher of Allure and Liza's lover, arrives to inform her that his wife has finally agreed to divorce him and that they will soon be free to marry. This news does not have the expected exhilarating effect on Liza. On the contrary, she feels depressed and faint. Dismissing Kendall abruptly, she locks the door and falls wearily on a couch. Suddenly she begins to hum the child's tune, and drifts into another dream. In the dream which starts in her girlhood, she is going to marry Kendall Nesbitt, but Randy Curtis intervenes with a passionate declaration of love. In her indecision, she recalls a school play and suddenly the wedding ceremony degenerates into a nightmare. At her next session with Dr. Brooks, Liza reveals that her preference for simple clothes dates from early childhood. She says she has a dinner date with Randy which she intends to break. Dr. Brooks points out that her fetish for plainness is a refusal to compete with other women, and that her dread of marriage comes from the fear of having Kendall all to herself. These revelations so anger Liza hat she rushes impetuously out of the office. The next morning Liza comes late to her office, where a new issue of Allure is going to press. When Kendall enters, she tells him she does not want to marry him. She is also abrupt with her advertising manager, Charley Johnson, who, because Liza is "married to her desk", has no chance for advancement and is leaving. Randy comes to take her to dinner. She had forgotten she had made this date, but decides to dress elegantly for the first time and join Randy for a night on the town. ACT II Liza is in her office the following afternoon, where she cannot decide whether the cover design for the next issue will be a standard Easter cover or a circus scene. Magically the circus scene comes to life, with Russell Paxton, the photographer of Allure, as the ringmaster. The main event is a trial in which Liza is tried for her inability to make up her mind. Kendall Nesbitt gives evidence, there is an irrelevant but hilarious interruption and finally Liza tries to defend herself, but in vain. That evening, Liza returns to Dr. Brooks and tells him that she has experienced once again the hurt and