Lady In The Dark
Reviewed by David Kashimba

Marin Theatre Company, under the direction of Lee Sankowich, really makes its musical mark with their current production. Lady In The Dark opens with New York fashion magazine editor Liza Elliot (Marsha Merchant) walking into a psychiatrist’s office for the first time. She’s a very successful independent woman, but lately she’s been full of terror and her fears are starting to affect her job performance.

Sound like a modern day musical written after September 11, 2001? It was actually written by Moss Hart, with music by Kurt Weil and lyrics by Ira Gershwin, during WWII. Though there is little mention of the war, the audience is aware that the characters are living in dangerous times by the sheer open immediacy of their lives and their willingness to change.

Liza best demonstrates this willingness. Though she resists change, like all of us, she is aware that she’s stuck in life, and if she doesn’t soon find out why, she’ll be trapped in a living death. Though it doesn’t sound like a formula for a happy go lucky musical, there are some very colorful song and dance numbers that evolve from the dreams Liza tells her psychiatrist.

What is Liza’s problem? In a world out of control with war, she’s become a control freak. Only the harder she tries to control her world, the more it unravels and the more frightened she becomes. Only when she finally relinquishes control and makes some changes in her life does her terror begin to subside.

One of the most therapeutic parts of this production is to see how writers and performers in the WWII era were able to turn some of the decreative traumas of war into a creative laughter that helps heal the soul.

Sankowich has found the right balance between a feel good musical and a drama with a message. This, combined with a very talented cast and an excellent live orchestra, makes Marin Theatre’s production of Lady In The Dark a night of entertainment you won’t want to miss.

For tickets or more information call (415) 388-5208 or visit

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