Winner of six Tony Awards including Best Original Score, The Light in the Piazza is set to enchant Melbourne as it prepares to open tonight at Arts Centre Melbourne for a limited season until 6 November 2016.
Produced by Life Like Company, best known for the 2014 production of Sondheim and Lapine’s Passion and the award-winning City of Angels in 2015, this new Australian production of The Light in the Piazza is the first fully staged professional production of the show to be seen in Australasia.
Written by Adam Guettel (music and lyrics) and Craig Lucas (book), The Light in the Piazza is an adaptation of Elizabeth Spencer’s novella of the same name. The award-winning score by Adam Guettel (Floyd Collins, Saturn Returns) is full of romance and passion with music and lyrics that explore and illustrate emotions through soaring melodies.
Taking place in Florence, Italy in the summer of 1953, Margaret Johnson (Chelsea Plumley) – an elegant and strong-willed Southern woman, is touring the Tuscan countryside with her daughter, Clara (Genevieve Kingsford). When a gust of wind blows Clara’s hat into the hands of Fabrizio (Jonathan Hickey), a young Italian gentleman, neither age nor language nor familial disapproval can stop their whirlwind love affair.
As The Light in the Piazza unfolds, a secret is revealed: in addition to the cultural differences between the young lovers, Clara is not quite all that she appears. Unable to suppress the truth about her daughter, Margaret is forced to reconsider not only Clara’s future, but her own hopes as well.
The sumptuous and breathtaking score underpins two heart-warming love stories – Margaret’s love of Florence and her daughter Clara’s love for Fabrizio, her Italian suitor.
Directed by Theresa Borg with musical direction by Vanessa Scammell and choreography by Jo-Anne Robinson, The Light in the Piazza also features Johanna Allen, Anton Berezin, Colin Dean, Madison Green, Ashleigh Hauschild, Tobias MaddenJosh Piterman, and Jeremy Stanford.
With soaring operatic melodies that set it apart from most contemporary musical theatre, The Light in the Piazza is a story about mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and the deeply intertwined emotions of love and loss.
Adam Guettel is a composer and lyricist living in New York City, and hails from the iconic theatre family responsible for writing over 60 Broadway musicals, including much loved hits The Sound of Music, South Pacific amongst many others. It was no surprise to his family when Guettel starting tinkling the ivories and putting pen to paper at only thirteen years of age.
Grandson of legendary musical theatre composer, Richard Rodgers (The King and I, Oklahoma!, Carousel) and son of composer and author Mary Rodgers (Once Upon a Mattress, The MAD Show, Freaky Friday), in the last two decades Adam Guettel has proudly continued the family tradition of writing beautiful and popular musicals including Floyd Collins, and Saturn Returns (Myths and Hymns), and the upcoming project, Millions and Invisible Man.
Craig Lucas is a playwright, screenwriter, theatre director, musical actor and film director. A graduate of Boston University, Lucas worked many day jobs while performing in Broadway musicals including Shenandoah, On the Twentieth Century and Sweeney Todd. Lucas’ other written works include Missing Persons, Marry Me A Little, Singing Forest, The Dying Gaul, Longtime Companion, Reckless, Prayer for My Enemy and many others. Lucas wrote the book for the musical King Kong which had its world premiere in Melbourne in 2013.
Adam Guettel and Craig Lucas are collaborating once more on a musical based on the popular film Days of Wine and Roses.
The Light in the Piazza
Playhouse – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Season: 28 October – 6 November 2016
For more information, visit: www.lifelikecompany.com for details.
Image: Jonathan Hickey (Fabrizio) and Genevieve Kingsford (Clara) star in The Light in the Piazza – photo by Ben Fon