Notes from Philly weblog

The Light in the Piazza-PTC extends run

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The Light in the Piazza
Music & Lyrics, Adam Guettel
book by Craig Lucas; directed by Joe Colarco
Philadelphia Theatre Company
Suzanne Roberts Theater
Nov. 13-extended-Dec. 13, 2009

Must be tough being born Richard Rodgers’ grandson–Sondheim’s happy fate was simply to have Oscar Hammerstein as neighbor- then mentor. Guettel’s music has a lightness that suits this subject matter. But the transparency can also prove lightweight. Not so Guettel’s lyrics which almost continually provoke, amaze. PTC’s production sports a fine ensemble, with young lovers nicely matched. As Fabrizio, Matthew Scott must have Italian blood. Looks like a stallion; sings like a pup in love. Everything sounds better in Italian and Fabrizio’s part gives him all those vowels to roll over. Whitney Bashor as Clara doesn’t convey a mental handicap until the second act but her acting is quite fine then, her ingenuity exceptional. Small voice but sweet. Too bad these folks must succumb to sound design. Amplification adds a generic edge to the modern musical no matter how sophisticated (and Guettel follows Sondheim’s footsteps here. Sherri L. Edelen plays very well the role of Margaret Johnson, a complicated, frustrated, overprotective mother. She doesn’t sing adroitly but the number “The Dividing Day,” poignantly expresses love’s shifts, its turns, its torments. The song defines Guettel’s s lyric gifts. Joe Guzman is Johnson’s cruelly distant husband.

Kudos to Maureen Torsney Weir as Signora Naccarelli: fun to see her dolled up as an ignored suspecting Signora. Guzman and Torsney Weir can do most anything. Philadelphians who continually surprise and enlighten us.
More soon on radio pehaps other sites. Meanwhile, despite the light of R. Lee Kennedy’s and Michael Fagin’s design, incomparable Firenze must be visited at least once in every life.


Written by Lesley Valdes

November 25, 2009 at 3:53 pm

Posted in 1, Music, Theater

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