Everything you need to know about the London premiere of The Light in the Piazza

By | Posted on 13-Jun-2019

Everything you need to know about the London premiere of The Light in the Piazza

The Light in the Piazza is now closed. Why not check out our favourite mothers and children on stage here?

With the London premiere of The Light in the Piazza at the Royal Festival Hall this summer, take a look at the history behind the rarely-performed musical.

A complete guide to The Light in the Piazza

What is the synopsis?

Be whisked away to the warmth of Florence in Summer 1953. When Margaret and Clara Johnson travel to the idyllic Italian destination, they meet Fabrizio Naccarelli, a local whose dream-like aura draws Clara in. Falling in love at first sight, Clara constantly thinks of him. But as their friendship develops, the pair must open up about her family secrets usually kept undercover. Will relationships crumble or will friends and family grow stronger?

When was The Light in the Piazza first performed?

The Light in the Piazza

The world premiere of The Light in the Piazza was performed in Seattle in 2003, later transferring to Chicago in 2004. Following successful engagements, the musical received its Broadway debut at the Vivian Beaumont Theater on Broadway, where it ran for over a year. Winning six Tony Awards, The Light in the Piazza was later televised on 15th June 2006 and watched by over two million viewers.

The original Broadway cast of The Light in the Piazza starred Victoria Clark as Margaret Johnson and Kelli O’Hara as Clara Johnson. Matthew Morrison played Fabrizio Naccarelli, with Michael Berresse as Giuseppe Naccarelli and Sarah Berry as Franca Naccarelli. Patti Cohenour, Beau Gravitte and Mark Harelik also appeared in the show.

Who starred in The Light in the Piazza?

Dove Cameron made her West End debut in The Light in the Piazza playing Clara Johnson. Making her theatre debut in Clueless the Musical at Pershing Square Signature Center, Cameron has starred in Liv and Maddie playing both titular roles, as well as Mal in the Descendants film series.

American opera singer Renée Fleming made West End debut opposite Cameron as Margaret Johnson, Clara’s mother. Regularly on stage performing operas around the world, The Light in the Piazza will also mark her musical theatre debut.

Rob Houchen played Fabrizio Naccarelli, with previous West End credits including Eugenius and Les Miserables. Later this year, Houchen will play Marius in Les Miserables: All-Star Staged Concert.

Alex Jennings played Signor Naccarelli. The BAFTA-nominated actor has starred in The Crown and Unforgotten, as well as stage productions of My Fair Lady and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Celinde Schoenmaker played Franca Naccarelli, with previous West End credits including The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables, alongside Phantom alum Liam Tamne as Giuseppe Naccarelli.

The cast was completed by Simbi Akande, Danny Becker, Nicholas Duncan, Chlöe Hart, Molly Lynch, Rhona McGregor, Marie McLaughlin, Tom Partridge, Malcolm Sinclair and Matthew Woodyatt.

Where can I listen to the soundtrack?

Why not listen to the beautiful soundtrack of The Light in the Piazza here, showcasing the lush orchestrations and sweeping sounds of Florence. The soundtrack won two Tony Awards and two Drama Desk Awards, both for best score and best orchestrations in the respective ceremonies.

What did critics say about The Light in the Piazza?

The Light in the Piazza is a score of swelling, surging musical joy, full of meltingly lovely arias, laments and a sense of overwhelming feeling. I don’t think that there’s a more ravishing sound to be heard in all of London right now.”
Mark Shenton

“This luxuriously cast show is an unusual hybrid of light opera and Broadway musical.”
Henry Hitchings
Evening Standard

Did you know this about The Light in the Piazza?

  • The European premiere was performed at the Curve Theatre in Leicester, starring Caroline Sheen as Margaret Johnson.
  • Original music and lyrics is written by Adam Guettel, who is the grandson of Richard Rodgers, half of the infamous theatre duo Rodgers and Hammerstein.