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The Light in the Piazza (2005 Original Broadway Cast)

126 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 24, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Light in the Piazza is arguably one of the most highly anticipated theatrical events of the decade for serious Broadway theatergoers. The Los Angeles Times has already declared its creator, Nonesuch artist Adam Guettel, "a composer for the new century," on the strength of his two Off-Broadway productions, the 1996 Obie-Award winning "folk musical" Floyd Collins and the 1998 song cycle, Myths and Hymns, TIME has described him as "a startlingly original songwriter." Few theatrical composers have been watched as closely as Guettel, and few musicals in the course of their development have generated so much substantial press or been praised so highly on the road as The Light in the Piazza. Both the New Yorker and The New York Times magazine devoted in-depth coverage to the evolution of Guettel’s sophisticated, deeply moving score. New Yorker critic John Lahr decided,"Guettel’s kind of talent cannot be denied. He shouldn’t change for Broadway; Broadway, if it is to survive as a creative theatrical force, should change for him."

Like a shimmering pearl, The Light in the Piazza emerged from a sea of revivals, rehashings, and movie adaptations to secure 11 2005 Tony nominations, including Best Musical. Based on an Elizabeth Spencer novella (which was also made into a 1962 film), it follows a mother, Margaret (Victoria Clark), and her daughter, Clara (Kelli O'Hara), as they take a vacation to Italy. There, Clara and a young Italian (Matthew Morrison) fall in love, but Margaret is determined to keep them apart.

The Light in the Piazza doesn't fit the model of most Broadway scores, with a splashy opener here, a swing number there, then the big ballad. The score is more of a unified whole, sometimes jarring, sometimes following the patterns of speech, and sometimes unfolding in glorious sheens of sound. (Heck, some of it's even in Italian!) In that sense, it's similar to another unconventional American musical set in Italy, Stephen Sondheim's Passion, which is more chamber opera than musical, and composer-lyricist Adam Guettel (song of Mary Rodgers, grandson of Richard Rodgers) seems the most likely heir apparent to Sondheim in the current generation of musical theater creators. O'Hara's voice soars in the score's most beautiful moments ("Say It Somehow," the title song), but Clark enjoys two exquisitely lyrical moments with "Dividing Day" and "Let's Walk." She was one of the show's six Tony winners (for Leading Actress), along with Guettel's score and the orchestrations, scenice design, lighting, and costumes, while O'Hara (for Featured Actress), Morrison, Craig Lucas's book, and Bartlett Sher's direction were also nominated. --David Horiuchi

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 24, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B0009A1AQE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,449 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Adam Guettel's soaring melodies and passionate, romantic lyrics combine to make "The Light In The Piazza's" score one of the most stunning I have heard in ages. Mr. Guettel's work brings rare wonder to the musical stage. It almost belongs in a genre of its own. Certainly, his contemporary score is not recognizable in any of your mother's Broadway show tunes, nor is it quite opera. This extraordinary album, featuring the original cast, was released recently by Nonesuch Records. I immediately bought a CD and have listened to it repeatedly over the last weeks. Beautifully arranged and orchestrated by the composer, with Ted Sperling and Bruce Coughlin, the more you listen to "The Light In The Piazza," with its swirling sound of strings and harp, and slight dissonances, the more you want to hear.

Based on the novella by Elizabeth Spenser, the musical is set primarily in Florence, Italy, in the summer of 1953. Margaret Johnson, (Victoria Clark), is touring the Tuscan countryside with her daughter, Clara, ((Kelli O'Hara). While sightseeing, beautiful, young Clara meets Fabrizio Naccarelli, (Matthew Morrison), a handsome, spirited Florentine. Her hat is blown off by a gust wind and the young man recovers it for her. Fate sounds a chord, romance resonates. The protective Mrs. Johnson is determined to keep the two lovers apart. Clara is not all she appears to be at first glimpse, and her mother is finding this increasingly difficult to keep secret.

Silver-voiced, Mrs. Johnson, (the magnificent Ms.Clark), reflects on her empty marriage in the heartbreaking "Dividing Day," a song in the first act which is one of my favorites. Another major highlight is her poignant closing number, "Fable." Throughout, the music and lyrics eloquently articulate the actors' feelings.
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74 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Eliza Poehlman on May 24, 2005
Format: Audio CD
When we have to suffer through a Broadway season that includes the likes of Dracula and Good Vibrations, The Light in the Piazza is HOPE. Adam Guettel's score is the best in YEARS, and this recording is breathtaking. While not perfect (some of the songs don't quite work and the lyrics can become a bit general), the music moves in such intricate and beautiful ways. The orchestrations (with great string parts and a little guitar sneaked in there) are BEAUTIFUL; sadly, no recording could give justice to the experience of hearing those orchestrations in the real space.

Plus, there are many noteworthy performances. Victoria Clark's voice has so much character and emotion, Kelli O'Hara just floats through those notes like it's nothing, and Matthew Morrison does such a great job with a difficult score that calls for him to sing an Italian aria, and it's so funny to think that this is the same guy who starred in Hairspray :)

The CD is a MUST HAVE; if you don't know Adam Guettel you need to get acquainted. He is the new voice of musical theatre.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Betty on May 24, 2005
Format: Audio CD
The Light in the Piazza is incredible. Guettel's score is outstandingly beautiful. There is not one song on this recording not worth listening to over and over again.

Guettel said in an interview that the goal of this show was to make people feel as if they were in Italy, in the piazza, and in love. Although this obviously works better in the theater, (Definitely worth $100 dollars to see-even the best recording could not emulate the beauty of the production-go see it, you'll be glad you did) the recording captures this feeling incredibly.

The orchestrations are lush and full, absolutely stunning. Despite being musical theatre, Piazza's musical style borders on modern opera, with classical Italian influences.

The story is not your average romance. It is complex and intricate. It examines all of the main characters' views of love, some jaded and weary, others young and hopeful.

Performances given are wonderful. Victoria Clark, especially, is brilliant in her role. Her voice soars, and her emotion overwhelms. Kelli O'Hara's beautiful voice is exactly what Guettel's music needs to satisfy it. Matthew Morrison is also extremely good- as is the entire remainder of the cast.

As the previous reviewer said, this show gives hope for the future of musical theatre. This is the kind of show to revive broadway- and Guettel is the composer to do it.

There are two words to describe the show: INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ruth Cook on December 27, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This musical is one of the strongest things ever to grace Broadway. It won't last as long as Phantom of the Opera, and Spamalot will more than likely outlast it, but that is only because it isn't a crowd pleaser but more of a thought-provoking musical.

The overture is one of the most beautiful things in the world. It slowly calls you to it. It bubbles up slowly with the opening harp, with thoughts of more as more insturments join it, and it breaks out into the violins which breath the sound of unrequited love. Then a solitary voice joins, Clara's, and then you hear her questioning her mother, Margaret, on what happened there in Italy, in a prophetic statement, Margaret says, "I played a tricky game in a foreign country."

People have given this low ratings because they say this is too boring. If you look at any other good musical cd on Amazon you will find the same complaint. This is because it is a CD, it's not going to get up and dance and give you any emotion other than sound (not to step on the emotion given in this CD.)

On a final note The Light in the Piazza needs a couple of listens before it starts to sink in. Like most good music.
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Nope, not really. There's one scene were we see the young lovers kiss and she leads him to the bed and begins to unbutton his shirt, but the mother walks in and the lights go out on the first act at that point. There's really no sex, no nudity (except for a main character being amused at how many... Read More
Jan 11, 2007 by Lostgirl |  See all 2 posts
Nice try but no cigar
I disagree 100%. I think people who go into this expecting a big, splashy spectacular with showpieces and pop ballads are disappointed. The songs in The Light in the Piazza aren't meant to be show stoppers: they're meant to carry you though the story. The orchestrations are almost entirely... Read More
Dec 21, 2006 by Lostgirl |  See all 5 posts
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The Light in the Piazza (2005 Original Broadway Cast)
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