1940 TO 1957
Before the attack on Pearl Harbor plunged the United States into World War II, the nation's economy had climbed out of the Depression and was enjoying prosperity again. The theatre shared in this prosperity to the extent that Broadway's dwindling number of theatres were in greater demand and hit shows ran longer. The full employment which came with war brought some expansion of the road, but the accompanying rise in the cost of living acted as a brake not only on the theatre outside New York City but also on Broadway. The rapidly spiraling costs made it increasingly important that a play be instantly popular and attract capacity audiences for longer and longer periods.
Midway in the 1940-1941 season appeared a "musical play" with the ingredients for success. Lady in the Dark treated a fashionable subject lightly. It permitted a versatile performer to sing, dance, and act. It was beautifully staged, with no expense spared to run off its many scenes like clockwork. John Mason Brown reviewed it in the New York Post, January 24, 1941.1