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Rehearsals and Performance: The LADY IN THE DARK Project

ENGL 256.301
instructor(s):

This course is devoted to the research, preparation and performance of LADY IN THE DARK, a landmark 1941 work of American musical theatre by Moss Hart, Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin. LADY was one of the earliest examples of American theatre to take up the topic of psychoanalysis, as well as issues of working women, the fashion industry, and New York between the wars. The show itself is notable because it breaks new ground structurally, eschewing the conventional song-and-dialogue structure in favor of a through-composed series of miniature operas.

We will meet regularly on weekday evenings for approximately16-20 hours each week, during which time we will conduct intensive analysis of the play and research into its background and development. Our work will also include rehearsals led by director and music director. The culmination of the process will be six public performances of the show in the Studio Theatre (March 31st, April 1st, April 2nd, April 7th, April 8th, and April 9th).

Course work will include in-class analysis, rehearsals and performances, as well as a writing portfolio of approximately 25 pages. A working journal will form the foundation for some of the writing, as will academic research into issues surrounding the play.

Entrance to the course is by audition or interview only! All students in THAR 350 must be affiliated with the LADY IN THE DARK production, either as actors, designers or other members of the creative staff (dramaturgy, musical personnel, and others). For more information, contact David Fox (215.573.5636/dfox@sas.upenn.edu)

PARTIAL READING LIST:
Dwight, Eleanor: DIANA VREELAND
Edkins, Diana. POWER OF STYLE
Furia, Philip: IRA GERSHWIN: THE ART OF THE LYRIC
Gross, Michael. MODEL: THE UGLY BUSINESS OF BEAUTIFUL WOMEN
Hart, Moss. ACT ONE: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Hart, Moss and Ira Gershwin. LADY IN THE DARK
Jablonski, Edward and Lawrence D. Stewart. THE GERSHWIN YEARS
Jones, John Bush. OUR MUSICALS, OURSELVES
Malcolm, Janet. IN THE FREUD ARCHIVES
Malcolm, Janet. PSYCHOANALYSIS, THE IMPOSSIBLE PROFESSION
Walker, Nancy: WOMEN'S MAGAZINES 19401960: GENDER ROLES AND THE POPULAR PRESS
Weill, Kurt and Lotte Lenya. COLLECTED CORRESPONDENCE