It is no secret in this city that before we get to enjoy the often sublimely playful summer stock of theater productions from groups like Circle Theatre and Grand Rapids Civic Theatre (like the debut of Avenue Q, which is sure to turn heads 360 degrees around like the frank-talking puppets on stage), our season of serious works must come to a close.
Taking us on an adventure to Italy this spring is Actors' Theatre of Grand Rapids with their production of the musical The Light In The Piazza.
Based on the film and novella of the same name, Piazza begins with American Margaret Johnson who is touring Italy's Tuscan countryside with her daughter, Clara. While young Clara is out, a sudden gust of wind appears, taking her hat to the feet of a dashing Florentine, Fabrizio Naccarelli. And while romance is the result of this spark, there are other secrets that are revealed right up to the thrilling end.
Unlike most contemporary musical scores, Piazza dips into the Italian Neoromantic classical music styles, crossing freely into the vocal territories often inhabited by those in opera. With a libretto that dips between English and Italian, this is a true international mash-up of styles that worked so well it was awarded the Tony Award for Best Score as well as a Drama Desk Award for Best Outstanding Music in 2005.
All told, The Light In the Piazza won six Tony Awards and five Drama Desk Awards. (Fun Fact: The composer-lyricist Adam Guettel was a student at Michigan's Interlochen Center for the Arts and is the son of film executive Henry Guettel and writer/composer Mary Rodgers, who is herself the daughter of famed composer Richard Rodgers of Rodgers and Hart fame.) Kyle Amanda Dutkiewicz directs our local production of Piazza with music direction provided by Charles Hutchins.
Tickets: From $26 - 28 with discounted student rush seats available day of the performance.