The Light In The Piazza

Book by Craig Lucas,
Music and Lyrics by Adam Guettel

Directed by Elaine Wyler
September 18 to October 4, 2009


Read the Reviews:

ThirdCoast Digest

Photos:
Click on a photo to see a larger image

Photos By Carroll Studios Of Photography

Volunteer of the Production

Joe Nolan

Sponsored In Part By

WCT projects are supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Cast 

Nadine Borngraeber

Margaret Johnson

Jason Brinker

Priest

Nicholas Buendia

Giuseppe Naccarelli

John Byhre

Ensemble

Karin Cunningham

Ensemble

Eric Eggers

Roy Johnson

Todd Herdt

Ensemble

Beth Keller

Ensemble

Laurie Krmpotich

Ensemble

Kristel Metsig

Clara Johnson

Lisa Muehlbauer

Signora Naccarelli

Joe Nolan

Signor Naccarelli

Ashley Sprangers

Franca Naccarelli

Shanna Sweeny

Ensemble

Matthew Walton

Fabrizio Naccarelli

Production Staff 

Director

Elaine Wyler

Stage Manager and Choreographer

Rayen Singletary

Music Director

Jenee O’Connor

Scenic Designer, Master Carpenter,
and Lighting Designer

Jeff Schultz

Orchestration Sequencer and Sound Designer

Jacob Sudbrink

Costume Designer

Patricia Fox Schindler

Properties Designer

Michelle Tiarks

Wig Master

Anthony Mackie

Assistant Stage Manager

John Byhre

A 'Light' shines in Waukesha

By Paul Masterson
September 23rd, 2009

Waukesha Civic Theater opened its 53rd season with The Light in the Piazza, a production of Adam Guettel’s six-time Tony Award-winning show, based on the book by Craig Lucas.

Piazza is an extraordinary accomplishment for a Broadway show. It is much more a showpiece of modern musical writing than a typical collection of easily remembered melodies. At times, it is more opera than musical.

Set in 1953 Italy, the plot is really a simple love story. An American mother and daughter named Margaret and Clara Johnson are vacationing in Florence when a young local boy, Fabrizio Naccarelli, encounters the duo on the piazza. The classic boy-meets-girl romance then ensues in song. The scene is replete with all the trimmings, including the inevitable twist that may undo the whole process. But of course — there’s another twist.

The play is also partially sung and spoken in Italian. But no need to feel left out. One scene is delightfully deconstructed for the audience by an impromptu translation.

WCT Director Elaine Wyler’s adroit staging and musical direction by Jenee O’Connor move the cast through this production with a balanced control and beautiful vocal command. Patricia Fox Schindler’s costumes well suit the 1950s setting. The set by designer Jeff Schulz is relatively sparce, but architectural structures and projected images support the action throughout the performance. Numerous scene changes from exterior and interior realms is efficient and smooth. The only weakness here was an ancient torso suspended downstage that obstructed sight lines for the duration of the museum scene.

Nadine Borngraeber performs Margaret by showing a natural emotional affinity in the role of watchful mother, with a voice that is clear and articulate. Ashley Sprangers manages some wonderful vocal accrobatics as Franca Naccarelli, the frustrated wife of Frabrizio’s womanizing brother, Giuseppe — played very capably by Nicholas Buendia. Kristel Metsig plays the consumate naïve American tourist in Clara, with a light and contemporary voice. She smoothly blends modern harmonies with Fabrizio in a lover’s duet that concludes the first act.

The true light in this musical is Matthew Walton. The young actor appears for the second time at WCT, and will no doubt be seen and heard here and elsewhere again. He portrays and sings the role of Fabrizio with a sincere innocence and a particular charm that steals the show. His voice is well suited to the score’s modern intracasies and delivers his role with a energetic sovereignty.

This is an evening of true entertainment. Piazza is a wonderful work that tests the performers in its musical strong points. They pass the test. It’s not an everyday musical in its sound and that’s refreshing. For Milwaukee theatergoers, travelling out to Waukesha for a evening’s entertainment might seem like too much of an effort when the city already offers such a good range of theater and music. Waukesha Civic Theatre’s current show might broaden that horizon.

Light in the Piazza runs weekends now through October 4. More information and ticketing can be found at the WCT website, or call 262-547-0708.

Review Title

By Reviewer Name
Posted: Month 16, 2012

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Review Title

By Reviewer Name - Waukesha Now Theater Critic
Month 12, 2012

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Volunteer of the Production - Joe Nolan

Joe’s discipline, commitment, and dedication throughout the entire rehearsal and performance process were appreciated by cast and crew members alike. He was always prepared, always attentive, and always positive. He strove to set the example by offering to help no matter what the need. On top of that, he was ready with a smile and words of encouragement when needed by a cast-mate or member of the crew.