31 March 2002 | caribeno
A groundbreaking, one-of-a kind work! The grandaddy of American musical drama!
"Lady in the Dark" is an absorbing, audacious, one-of-a kind journey into musical theater. The use of dream sequences and music in an otherwise serious drama about the self-sabotage of an emotionally-scarred woman is a wonder to behold, conveying more clearly the connections between the mind and a person's actions than more straightforward serious dramas. The music by Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin beautifully integrate and propel Liza Elliott's (the main character) inner life to her outer life, showing the different facets of Liza Elliott's character that she is too afraid to show outwardly. The range of musical genres (jazz, ballads, Broadway showstoppers, semi-classical) are arrestingly illustrated in such songs as "This is New", "Beautiful Girl", "My Ship", and the incomparable "Saga of Jenny". Ann Sothern plays Liza Elliott brilliantly. This may well be her finest dramatic performance. Certainly, she conveys the quick wit, savoir faire, glamour,emotional brittleness, vulnerability, and emotional pain that inform the character of Liza Elliott. Hers is an emotionally wrenching and arresting performance. The rest of the cast is uniformly good. James Daly reveals complexity in what could have been a stereotypical role of a womanizer. Sheppard Strudwick conveys gravity and creepiness in his role as Liza Elliott's psychologist. The dances choreographed by Rod Alexander are beautiful to see, though not always well-integrated into the plot. A brilliant gem of American theater and American television! "Lady in the Dark" deserves to occupy a far more visible, important place in the history of American entertainment. It's content and performances were far ahead of their time. It's theme is just as relevant now as it was in the 1940's (when it was on Broadway) and in 1954 (when this television version was broadcast. A must see!