Lady in the Dark

Musical play in two acts.
Book by Moss Hart. Lyrics by Ira Gershwin.

Maggie Grant (Margaret Dale), Russell Paxton (Danny Kaye),
and Liza Elliott (Gertrude Lawrence), New York, 1941.


A play of psychoanalysis. Liza Elliott, the protagonist, is an extremely successful editor of a fashion magazine, and several desirable men want to marry her, but she is miserable. She goes to a psychiatrist, who delves into her feelings by way of her dreams. She recounts three dreams (which are actually extended musical sequences)--of glamor, of marriage, and finally a manic trial scene in which she is forced to defend herself against the charge that she refuses to make up her mind. Finally the analyst explains that her feelings toward her mother are the root of her problem, and they are symbolized by a childhood song which haunts her, but which she is unable to remember in full. She comes to terms with her memories, remembers the song, and realizes that the man she really wants is her advertising manager, who had not previously been a candidate.

Song list

Glamour Dream Wedding Dream Circus Dream Childhood Dream

Performance Information

Cast: Singing roles -- Liza Elliott (soprano), Miss Foster, as Sutton in Dream 1 (mezzo-soprano), Russell Paxton, as Beekman in Dream 1, as Ringmaster in Dream 3 (baritone), Kendall Nesbitt, as Pierre in Dream 1, as Witness in Dream 3, Charley Johnson, as Marine in Dream 1, as Jewelry Salesman/Minister in Dream 2, as Prosecuting Attorney in Dream 3 (baritone), Randy Curtis, as Defense Attorney in Dream 3 (baritone), ensemble.

Speaking roles -- Dr. Brooks, Miss Bowers, Miss Stevens, Maggie Grant, Alison Du Bois, office boys, models, children, dancers.
Orchestra: fl (picc), Reed 1 (cl, alto sax), Reed 2 (cl, bass cl, alto sax, bar. sax), Reed 3 (cl, ten. sax, ob); 3 tpt, 1 tbn; Hammond organ, piano, timp & perc; strings (without violas).
Duration: full evening, 65 minutes music
Authorized Translations: German -- Marianne Schubart & Karl Vibach; Maria Teichs

Principal productions


Alvin Theatre, January 23, 1941 (467 perf.)
Director: Moss Hart
Choreographer: Albertina Rasch
Musical Director: Maurice Abravanel
Orchestration and Vocal Arrangements: Kurt Weill
Dr. Brooks- Donald Randolph-
Miss Bowers- Jeanne Shelby-
Liza Elliott- Gertrude Lawrence- mezzo
Sutton/Miss Foster- Evelyn Wyckoff-
Miss Stevens- Ann Lee-
Maggie Grant- Margaret Dale-
Alison Du Bois- Natalie Schafer-
Russell Paxton- Danny Kaye- tenor
Charley Johnson- Macdonald Carey-
Randy Curtis- Victor Mature-Baritone
Kendall Nesbitt- Bert Lytell
Chorus and Smaller Roles: 11M/12F


78: Decca 208   Studio Cast 194
Hildegarde Hannon, Robert Hannon
Harry Sosnik, cond
CD ASV LIVING ERA 5265 (extraits)
CD Prism PLATCD 999
Original Broadway Cast 1941
Gertrude Lawrence
Maurice Abravanel, cond.
CD AEI-CD003 [excerpts]
Original Cast members 1950
Gertrude Lawrence, MacDonald Carey, Hume Cronyn,  Arthur Vinton
Maurice Abravanel, cond.
LP RCA Victor LM-1882
EP 45 RCA Victor ERB-1882
CD Sepia 1052
CD Documents Historische Ton 4032250197830 (2 CDs)
Television Cast 1954
Ann Sothern, Carleton Carpenter, MacDonald Carey
James Daly, Luella Gear, Shepperd Strudwick
Charles Sanford , cond
LP Columbia COS-2390
CBS MK 44689
CD Sony MHK 62869
Studio Cast 1963
Risë Stevens, Adolph Green,
Lehman Engel, cond.
(Sony CD includes tracks featuring Danny Kaye's recordings from 1941)
JAY 1278
TER 1244
Original London Cast 1997
Maria Friedman, James Dreyfus, Paul Shelley
Mark W. Dorrell, conductor 
(complete score) includes "Liza, Liza", "Woman at the Alter"
Film Lady in the Dark  (1944)   Paramount 100 min.
Starring : Mischa Auer, Warner Baxter, Jon Hall, Ray Milland
Ginger Rogers, Barry Sullivan
Director Mitchell Leisen
Producer Richard M. Blumenthal
Original Story Moss Hart
Director of Photography Ray Rennahan
Editor Alma Macrorie
Composers Johnny Burke
Ira Gershwin
James Van Heusen
Kurt Weill
Screenwriters Frances Goodrich
Albert Hackett

Symphonic Nocturne : Suite from Lady in the Dark

Concert suite arranged by Robert Russell Bennett.

I. My Ship: Andante misterioso
II. Girl of the Moment
III. Bolero, "This is New"
IV. Allegro alla marcia
V. Dance of the Tumblers
VI. The Saga of Jenny

Performance Information

Orchestra: 2 (picc).2 (Eng hn).3 (bass cl).2;; harp, celesta (or piano), timp & perc; strings.
Duration: 12 minutes
First known performance: July 29, 1949, New York, Lewisohn Stadium, New York Philharmonic, Maurice Abravanel, cond.

Naxos 8.557481 Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop