The Light in the Piazza is an ambitious undertaking. The show’s score is difficult, there are scenes entirely in Italian, and the characters are complex. The challenges presented are enough to scare away all but the most courageous theater companies.
Green Valley Theatre Company has put up a stunning production which opened to a sold-out house and a standing ovation.
The show seems like a simple love story on it’s surface—an American woman on vacation in Italy falls in love, but the relationship meets strong resistance from the girl’s mother—but the plot’s undercurrents make it much more interesting.
As with any musical, I recommend reading a synopsis before seeing the show so you’ll have an idea what’s going on. This is not a commentary on the actors’ ability to get the story across—the cast at Green Valley does an amazing job. I just like to have an inkling what’s happening, particularly since my Italian needs as much work as it does.
The production’s music alone is reason enough to buy a ticket. A talented 12-piece orchestra, led by Christopher Cook, and excellent vocals, directed by David Taylor, make for a beautiful night of listening.
The show’s romantic leads, Jacob Montoya as Fabrizio Naccarelli and Jennifer Morrison as Clara Johnson, are excellent. Montoya’s voice is beautiful, and he makes the difficult music sound easy. Morrison handles her end of the score very well, and her acting is exemplary. As someone who is sensitive to the portrayal of people with intellectual disabilities, I was pleased to see Morrison’s Clara shown as an interesting and complex character instead of a caricature.
As excellent as Morrison and Montoya are, Carly Giroux as Margaret Johnson steals the show. Margaret is a fascinating character, and Giroux’s performance is one of the best I’ve seen in a community theater.
The rest of the cast is also strong. There are no weak links to be found here. The complex vocal harmonies and counter-melodies in the show are handled excellently, and the acting is strong throughout.
The Light in the Piazza is a beautiful evening of theater, with a great story, lovely singing, and excellent acting. Get your tickets while you can—they’re selling fast—and this show is one you’ll want to see.
Green Valley Theatre Company’s “The Light in the Piazza” runs through September 7. More information and tickets can be found HERE.