Monday, May 02, 2005

"Light" shines through summer

"The Light in the Piazza," which I was lucky enough to see on April 16, is getting the attention it deserves. Its Lincoln Center run has been extended to September 4.

The early reviews were a little shaky. For example, Ben Brantley in the Times, while lavishing praise on Victoria Clark as Margaret, the mother, called the production "pretty and confused." Eric Grode at called it "affecting, occasionally overreaching." But never mind their carping. The musical has gained 11 "Drama Desk" award nominations, including for best musical and best musical actress--just one shy of "Spamalot" (with which it really should not be compared).

One of the best reviews is in small print in the front section of the May 2 New Yorker:

At last, a musical for grownups. Lovely and complicated, deeply feeling without being sentimental. Craig Lucas' book is based on Elizabeth Spencer's novella about a Southern lady who takes Clara, her beautiful but intellectually impaired daughter, to Florence, where she stumbles into a love affair. Adam Guettel's arpeggio-laden music and nuanced lyrics are superb; as Johbn Lahr wrote in his review of the show's Chicago production last year, "Guettel's tunes are richly textured and warmly atmospheric."

Elizabeth was on hand for the opening, and she went back last week to appear in a panel discussion before a performance. Yesterday's Times had a full-page ad. What a triumph! And well deserved.

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