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Lady In The Dark

Gertrude Lawrence

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Album Review

Lady in the Dark, a musical with songs by Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin, has a surprisingly serious libretto by Moss Hart concerning a middle-aged New York magazine editor plagued by indecision in her personal and professional life who undertakes psychoanalysis. The musical opened on Broadway on January 23, 1941, to begin a successful 467-performance run. The age of the original Broadway cast album had not yet begun (Decca Records' recording of Oklahoma!, which would launch that era, was still more than two years off), but one month after the opening, RCA Victor put the show's star, Gertrude Lawrence, in the recording studio to cut a six-track, triple-disc, 78 RPM album of its songs. Lawrence was responsible for two of the show's hits, the recurring theme "My Ship," and "Jenny" (aka "The Saga of Jenny"), a racy and comic story song justifying her character's indecision (Jenny "would make up her mind," but every time she did something disastrous happened). Lawrence also handled four other songs from the score including a medley of "O Fabulous One" (aka "O Fabulous One in Your Ivory Tower") and "Girl of the Moment," which were performed by a male vocal quartet, and "Huxley," known in the playbill as "The World's Inamorata." Five of the show's songs, ones not sung by Lawrence on-stage, were left out, notably the tongue-twisting patter song "Tschaikowsky," sung by the young comedian Danny Kaye, who made his fortune singing it on-stage. Thus, the album was missing a significant part of the score, but what was included was impressive, and so were Lawrence's interpretations, recorded while she was in the first flush of her success with the show.

Biography

Born: 04 July 1898 in London, England

Genre: Vocal

Years Active: '10s, '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s

Gertrude Lawrence was one of Great Britain's brightest theatrical stars during the first half of the 20th century. A lifelong friend and colleague of Noel Coward, Lawrence's forte was sophisticated musical comedy, where she exuded a lively, charismatic stage presence that easily overcame her shortcomings as a singer. She was sometimes criticized for a small vocal range and a tendency to sing flat, but her emotional commitment and flat-out star power earned her the approval of most of the musical...
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Lady In The Dark, Gertrude Lawrence
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