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The Light in the Piazza is a musical with a book by Craig Lucas and music and lyrics by Adam Guettel. Based on a novella by Elizabeth Spencer, it is set in Florencemarker and Romemarker in the summer of 1953. A young Americanmarker tourist, Clara Johnson, meets and falls for young Italianmarker Fabrizio Naccarelli. When Clara's mother Margaret learns of the affair, she opposes it for reasons that only gradually become clear to the audience.

The score breaks from the traditional Broadway popular or rock sound by moving into the territory of Neoromantic classical music and opera, with unexpected harmonic shifts and extended melodic structures, and is more heavily orchestrated than most Broadway scores. Many of the lyrics are in Italian or broken English, as many of the characters are fluent only in Italian.

Background and productions

The Light in the Piazza was developed as a musical at the Intiman Playhousemarker in Seattlemarker and then at the Goodman Theatremarker in Chicagomarker. After 36 previews, the Broadway productionmarker opened on April 18, 2005 at the Vivian Beaumont Theatremarker in Lincoln Centermarker, where it ran for 504 performances and closed on July 2, 2006. Directed by Bartlett Sher and choreographed by Jonathan Butterell, the cast featured Victoria Clark, Kelli O'Hara, Matthew Morrison, and Sarah Uriarte Berry. Chris Sarandon joined the cast as Signor Naccarelli later in the run, Aaron Lazar was a replacement in the role of Fabrizio Naccarelli and Katie Rose Clarke was a replacement in the role of Clara Johnson. In the pre-broadway production in Seattle and Chicago, Kelli O'Hara played the role of Franca rather than Clara (who was played by Celia Keenan-Bolger), and Steven Pasquale had played Fabrizio, but could not open on Broadway due to a conflict with the television series Rescue Me that he had just joined.

On June 15, 2006, shortly before its closing night, the show was broadcast on the PBS television series Live from Lincoln Center.

A national tour starring Christine Andreas as Margaret, Elena Shaddow as Clara, and David Burnham as Fabrizio Naccarelli started in San Franciscomarker, California, in August 2006 and ended in Chicago on July 22, 2007.

A Japanese production of the musical was produced in December 2007, having a limited engagement of about a month. It starred Kaho Shimada as Margaret Johnson.

An Australian concert version premiered for a one-night only presentation at the Lyric Theatre, Star City in Sydney on August 17th, 2008. The cast consisted of members of the Australian company of The Phantom of the Opera, with Jackie Rees as Margaret, Kathleen Moore as Clara and James Pratt as Fabrizio. The production was directed by John O'May.

In the summer of 2008, Guettel reconfigured the musical as a smaller chamber piece for the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company, Weston, Vermont, where Sarah Uriarte Berry reprised her role as Franca.

The show had its opera house premiere in October 2008 at Piedmont Opera in Winston Salemmarker, North Carolina. It starred Jill Gardner as Margaret, Sarah Jane McMahon as Clara, directed by Dorothy Danner and conducted by James Allbritten.

The show is expected to open as a Regional production in the Covina Center for the Performing Arts (Covinamarker, California) in January 2009.

The European premiere was directed by Paul Kerryson at the Curve Theatre, Leicester,UK in May 2009, with design by George Souglides, musical direction by Julian Kelly, lighting design by Giuseppe di Iorio, sound design by Paul Groothuis.

Original Broadway cast



Song list

Act I
  • Overture
  • Statues and Stories – Margaret Johnson and Clara Johnson
  • Margaret/Hat
  • Margaret Aside 1
  • Transition to Uffizi
  • Tour Guide
  • The Beauty Is – Clara
  • Il Mondo Era Vuoto – Fabrizio Naccarelli
  • American Dancing
  • Duomo
  • Margaret Aside 2
  • Piazzale Michelangelo
  • Punctuation
  • Passeggiata – Fabrizio and Clara
  • Transition to Tea Scene
  • Che Gorgioso
  • The Joy You Feel – Franca Naccarelli
  • Margaret Aside 3
  • After Tea
  • Dividing Day – Margaret
  • Hysteria – Clara and Margaret
  • Hotel Bar
  • Fabrizio at the Door
  • Say It Somehow – Clara and Fabrizio


Act II
  • Entr'acte
  • Aiutami – The Naccarelli Family
  • The Light in the Piazza – Clara
  • Back to Florence
  • Octet Part 1 – Company
  • Clara's Tirade – Clara
  • Church
  • Octet Part 2 – Company
  • Something is Wrong
  • The Beauty Is (Reprise) – Margaret
  • Transition to Tie Shop
  • Let's Walk – Signor Naccarelli and Margaret
  • Post Promenade
  • Clara's Interlude
  • Love to Me – Fabrizio
  • Wedding
  • Fable – Margaret
  • Bows
  • Exit Music


Critical response

CurtainUp called the musical a "gorgeously staged and musically sophisticated adaptation... the Guettel sound is nevertheless plush and enjoyable with a genuine musical theater sensibility.... Lucas has made room for the young lovers' voices and retained enough of the psychological complexities to prevent this from being the dated soap opera it could easily have been." The Village Voice, commented: "It has some considerable shortcomings, which I'll deal with below, but its main distinction is that its humanity separates it from the bulk of current musical theater."

Critic John Simon, in NY Magazine, wrote: "...anyone who cares about the rather uncertain future of this truly American genre should—must—see the show, think and worry about it, and reach his or her own conclusions.... Lincoln Center Theater’s production is breathtaking. Craig Lucas’s book seems perfectly adequate to me, but the emphasis must be on Adam Guettel’s music and lyrics. Those lyrics, I’m afraid, are a bit self-consciously poeticizing, a trifle arcanely oblique." Ben Brantley, in The New York Times, deemed the show "encouragingly ambitious and discouragingly unfulfilled... the production comes into its own only in the sweetly bitter maternal regrets and dreams of Margaret Johnson."

Awards and nominations

Tony Awards


Drama Desk Awards
  • Outstanding Actress in a Musical (Clark, (WINNER)
  • Outstanding Music (WINNER)
  • Outstanding Orchestrations (WINNER)
  • Outstanding Set Design of a Musical (WINNER)
  • Outstanding Lighting Design (WINNER)
  • Outstanding Musical (nominee)
  • Outstanding Actor in a Musical (Morrison, nominee)
  • Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical (Berry, nominee)
  • Outstanding Director of a Musical (nominee)
  • Outstanding Costume Design (nominee)
  • Outstanding Sound Design (nominee)


Outer Critics Circle Awards
  • Outstanding Lighting Design (WINNER)
  • Outstanding Actress in a Musical (Clark, (WINNER)
  • Outstanding Musical (nominee)
  • Outstanding Director of a Musical (nominee)
  • Outstanding Set Design (nominee)
  • Outstanding Costume Design (nominee)
  • Outstanding Lighting Design (nominee)
  • Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical (Morrison, nominee)
  • Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical (Berresse, nominee)
  • Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical (Harelik, nominee)
  • Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical (Berry, nominee)
  • Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical (O’Hara, nominee)


References

External links




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