Lady in the Dark: Biography of a Musical

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9780195385083: Lady in the Dark: Biography of a Musical
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When Lady in the Dark opened on January 23, 1941, its many firsts immediately distinguished it as a new and unusual work. The curious directive to playwright Moss Hart to complete a play about psychoanalysis came from his own Freudian psychiatrist. For the first time since his brother George's death, Ira Gershwin returned to writing lyrics for the theater. And for émigré composer Kurt Weill, it was a crack at an opulent first-class production. Together Hart, Gershwin, and Weill (with a little help from the psychiatrist) produced one of the most innovative works in Broadway history.

With a company of 101 and an astronomical budget, Lady in the Dark launched the career of a young nightclub performer named Danny Kaye and starred Gertrude Lawrence in the greatest triumph of her career. With standees at many performances, Lady in the Dark helped establish the practice of advance ticket sales on the Great White Way, while Paramount Pictures' bid for the film rights broke all records. New York Times drama critic Brooks Atkinson hailed the production as "splendid," anointed Kurt Weill 'the best writer of theatre music in the country,' and worshiped Gertrude Lawrence as "a goddess."

Though Lady in the Dark was a smash-hit, it has never enjoyed a Broadway revival, and a certain mystique has grown up around its legendary original production. In this ground-breaking biography, bruce mcclung pieces together the musical's life story from sketches and drafts, production scripts, correspondence, photographs, costume and set designs, and thousands of clippings from the star's personal scrapbooks. He has interviewed eleven members of the original company to provide a one-of-a-kind glimpse into the backstage story.

The result is a virtual ticket to opening night, the saga of how this musical play came to be, and the string of events that saved the experimental show at every turn. Although America was turned upside down by Pearl Harbor after the production was on the boards, Lady in the Dark played an important role for the war effort and rang up 777 performances in 12 cities. In what may be the most illuminating study of a single Broadway musical, this biography brings Lady in the Dark back to the spotlight and puts readers in the front row.

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About the Author:


bruce d. mcclung, a native of California's Mojave Desert, teaches American and European music history at the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music.

Review:


BReviews of the Musical


"The American stage may as well take a bow this morning. For Lady in the Dark uses the resources of the theatre magnificently and tells a compassionate story triumphantly." --Brooks Atkinson, New York Times


"Lady in the Dark demonstrates with fine conclusiveness that Miss Gertrude Lawrence is the greatest feminine performer in the theater."--Richard Watts, Jr., New York Herald Tribune


"For both as an example of stagecraft at its most breath-taking, and as an invitation to a performance by Gertrude Lawrence which is incredible in its virtuosity, Lady in the Dark is little short of miraculous."--John Mason Brown, New York Post


Praise for Lady in the Dark: Biography of a Musical by bruce d. mcclung


"mcclung illustrates both the significance of Lady in the Dark as an inventive musical and the specifically modern nature of its themes."--Diana Calderazzo, Theatre Journal


"Highly valuable to scholars, students and fans of musical theatre, this book offers a prototype for how future 'biographies' of other shows might be written.... In considering the show through over 65 years of developments and production history the full 'life' of this musical is given real dpth."--Studies in Musical Theatre


"mcclung's book is a satisfying, well-organized, and very thorough study of a musical that will hopefully nudge Broadway scholarship in a new direction."--Elmar Juchem, American Music


"A fine piece of work that should help nudge studies of the Broadway musical in significant new directions by proving the benefits of careful attention to sources and contexts."--Tim Carter, Kurt Weill Newsletter


"mcclung has written an absorbing account of virtually every detail that went into the making of an innovative show. Filled with clear musical and dramatic descriptions, his exhaustively documented account of Lady in the Dark traces not only the portrayal of psychotherapy and gender identity on the musical stage, but also the evolution of attitudes to musical theater itself during the middle of the twentieth century."--Thomas Riis, University of Colorado at Boulder


"bruce mcclung engagingly illuminates Lady in the Dark as it evolved from Moss Hart's real-life sessions with noted psychiatrist Dr. Lawrence Kubie into Hart's historic theatrical collaboration with Ira Gershwin and Kurt Weill, a tour de force for its legendary first lady Gertrude Lawrence. Thanks to mcclung, we are no longer in the dark about the artistic meaning and rich cultural context of this fascinating and timely show, which captivated America's attention and left an enduring but previously unexplored legacy."--Geoffrey Block, University of Puget Sound


"mcclung is adept at chronicling Broadway's glamour and the backstage idiosyncrasies of its stars. Given Lady's size--and the demands of its lead--there has yet to be a Broadway revival. His book is the next best thing."--Debra Griboff, Encore Magazine


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9780195120127: Lady in the Dark: Biography of a Musical

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ISBN 10:  0195120124 ISBN 13:  9780195120127
Publisher: Oxford University Press, 2006
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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2009. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. When Lady in the Dark opened on January 23, 1941, its many firsts immediately distinguished it as a new and unusual work. The curious directive to playwright Moss Hart to complete a play about psychoanalysis came from his own Freudian psychiatrist. For the first time since his brother George s death, Ira Gershwin returned to writing lyrics for the theater. And for emigre composer Kurt Weill, it was a crack at an opulent first-class production. Together Hart, Gershwin, and Weill (with a little help from the psychiatrist) produced one of the most innovative works in Broadway history. With a company of 101 and an astronomical budget, Lady in the Dark launched the career of a young nightclub performer named Danny Kaye and starred Gertrude Lawrence in the greatest triumph of her career. With standees at many performances, Lady in the Dark helped establish the practice of advance ticket sales on the Great White Way, while Paramount Pictures bid for the film rights broke all records. New York Times drama critic Brooks Atkinson hailed the production as splendid, anointed Kurt Weill the best writer of theatre music in the country, and worshiped Gertrude Lawrence as a goddess. Though Lady in the Dark was a smash-hit, it has never enjoyed a Broadway revival, and a certain mystique has grown up around its legendary original production. In this ground-breaking biography, bruce mcclung pieces together the musical s life story from sketches and drafts, production scripts, correspondence, photographs, costume and set designs, and thousands of clippings from the star s personal scrapbooks. He has interviewed eleven members of the original company to provide a one-of-a-kind glimpse into the backstage story. The result is a virtual ticket to opening night, the saga of how this musical play came to be, and the string of events that saved the experimental show at every turn. Although America was turned upside down by Pearl Harbor after the production was on the boards, Lady in the Dark played an important role for the war effort and rang up 777 performances in 12 cities. In what may be the most illuminating study of a single Broadway musical, this biography brings Lady in the Dark back to the spotlight and puts readers in the front row. Seller Inventory # AAV9780195385083

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2009. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.When Lady in the Dark opened on January 23, 1941, its many firsts immediately distinguished it as a new and unusual work. The curious directive to playwright Moss Hart to complete a play about psychoanalysis came from his own Freudian psychiatrist. For the first time since his brother George s death, Ira Gershwin returned to writing lyrics for the theater. And for emigre composer Kurt Weill, it was a crack at an opulent first-class production. Together Hart, Gershwin, and Weill (with a little help from the psychiatrist) produced one of the most innovative works in Broadway history. With a company of 101 and an astronomical budget, Lady in the Dark launched the career of a young nightclub performer named Danny Kaye and starred Gertrude Lawrence in the greatest triumph of her career. With standees at many performances, Lady in the Dark helped establish the practice of advance ticket sales on the Great White Way, while Paramount Pictures bid for the film rights broke all records. New York Times drama critic Brooks Atkinson hailed the production as splendid, anointed Kurt Weill the best writer of theatre music in the country, and worshiped Gertrude Lawrence as a goddess. Though Lady in the Dark was a smash-hit, it has never enjoyed a Broadway revival, and a certain mystique has grown up around its legendary original production. In this ground-breaking biography, bruce mcclung pieces together the musical s life story from sketches and drafts, production scripts, correspondence, photographs, costume and set designs, and thousands of clippings from the star s personal scrapbooks. He has interviewed eleven members of the original company to provide a one-of-a-kind glimpse into the backstage story. The result is a virtual ticket to opening night, the saga of how this musical play came to be, and the string of events that saved the experimental show at every turn. Although America was turned upside down by Pearl Harbor after the production was on the boards, Lady in the Dark played an important role for the war effort and rang up 777 performances in 12 cities. In what may be the most illuminating study of a single Broadway musical, this biography brings Lady in the Dark back to the spotlight and puts readers in the front row. Seller Inventory # AAV9780195385083

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Book Description Oxford University Press. Paperback. Condition: New. 336 pages. Dimensions: 9.2in. x 6.0in. x 1.0in.When Lady in the Dark opened on January 23, 1941, its many firsts immediately distinguished it as a new and unusual work. The curious directive to playwright Moss Hart to complete a play about psychoanalysis came from his own Freudian psychiatrist. For the first time since his brother Georges death, Ira Gershwin returned to writing lyrics for the theater. And for migr composer Kurt Weill, it was a crack at an opulent first-class production. Together Hart, Gershwin, and Weill (with a little help from the psychiatrist) produced one of the most innovative works in Broadway history. With a company of 101 and an astronomical budget, Lady in the Dark launched the career of a young nightclub performer named Danny Kaye and starred Gertrude Lawrence in the greatest triumph of her career. With standees at many performances, Lady in the Dark helped establish the practice of advance ticket sales on the Great White Way, while Paramount Pictures bid for the film rights broke all records. New York Times drama critic Brooks Atkinson hailed the production as splendid, anointed Kurt Weill the best writer of theatre music in the country, and worshiped Gertrude Lawrence as a goddess. Though Lady in the Dark was a smash-hit, it has never enjoyed a Broadway revival, and a certain mystique has grown up around its legendary original production. In this ground-breaking biography, bruce mcclung pieces together the musicals life story from sketches and drafts, production scripts, correspondence, photographs, costume and set designs, and thousands of clippings from the stars personal scrapbooks. He has interviewed eleven members of the original company to provide a one-of-a-kind glimpse into the backstage story. The result is a virtual ticket to opening night, the saga of how this musical play came to be, and the string of events that saved the experimental show at every turn. Although America was turned upside down by Pearl Harbor after the production was on the boards, Lady in the Dark played an important role for the war effort and rang up 777 performances in 12 cities. In what may be the most illuminating study of a single Broadway musical, this biography brings Lady in the Dark back to the spotlight and puts readers in the front row. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9780195385083

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