If you can’t get to Italy this summer, we are recommending this delightful, romantic musical The Light In The Piazza— set in Florence and Rome in the summer of 1953, with a book by Craig Lucas and music and lyrics by Adam Guettel. The production will be staged in the intimate El Portal Forum Theatre in North Hollywood, and plays July 10-26.
“The most intensely romantic score of any musical since West Side Story.”
—New York Times
The YMTA production will feature an all-star cast headlined by veteran film, TV and stage actress Mary Donnelly Haskell as Margaret Johnson (“Sisters,” “Touched by an Angel,” “7th Heaven,” “Once (and Twice) Upon a Christmas”). Returning to the El Portal stage after appearing in the phenomenal hit musical The Marvelous Wonderettes is Stephanie Wall as Clara Johnson (“The Fantasticks,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Cinderella”). The role of Fabrizio Naccarelli will be played by film, TV and stage actor Blake Ewing (US premiere of “Ragtime” with an ovation nomination, “Full House,” “The Little Rascals”). Blake Ewing began his professional career at 6-years old as the Junior Vocalist Champion in 1992.
The Light in the Piazza is an emotionally rich musical that takes its audience on a journey directly to the center of the human heart. It’s the summer of 1953, and Margaret Johnson is touring the Italian countryside with her daughter, Clara, a beautiful yet naïve, young woman. While sightseeing, Clara loses her hat in a sudden gust of wind. As if guided by an unseen hand, the hat lands at the feet of Fabrizio Naccarelli, a handsome Florentine. This brief episode sparks an immediate and intense romance between Clara and Fabrizio. The musical is based on the 1962 hit film starring Olivia De Havilland, Yvette Mimieux, Rossano Brazzi and George Hamilton.
In 2005, the Broadway (Lincoln Center) production was nominated for 11 Tony Awards (including Best Musical), and won six, including Best Original Score. That year, it was also nominated for 11 Drama Desk Awards and won four, including Outstanding Music. This intimate production in the 95-seat Forum Theatre will feature a live, classical chamber orchestra.
Performances are Thursday- Saturday at 8pm, and Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are available to the public at www.elportaltheatre.com or call (818) 508-4200.