Title: The Light in the Piazza (2005 Original Broadway Cast)
Artist(s): Adam Guettel, Craig Lucas, Kelli O’Hara, Victoria Clark, Matthew Morrison
Release date: 24 May, 2005
Media: Audio CD
- Statues and Stories
- The Beauty Is
- Il Mondo Era Vuoto
- American Dancing
- The Joy You Feel
- Dividing Day
- Say It Somehow
- The Light in the Piazza
- The Beauty Is (Reprise)
- Let’s Walk
- Clara’s Interlude
- Love to Me
Slightly Sondheim wanna-be, See the show first
While I don’t believe Kelli O’Hara is the best Clara, (I prefer Katie Clarke actually), the compositions are rich with emotion. You have to see the show to fully comprehend and absorb this. And while the show comes of slightly Sondheim wanna-be, it still has excellent songs, but no one can right the dissonances like Sondheim and the dissonances in these pieces make no musical sense at points. My particular gripe with this show is “Auitami.” Even when you see the show more than once and listen to the songs it makes no sense. It has NO MUSICALLITY!! This song ruins the second act. It does not fit in with the show at all and makes the story go nowhere for quite a while. However, there are a few tunes that stand out and really make the show excellent:
The Beauty Is (and the Reprise)(My personal favorite)
Passeggiata (May need to listen to a while, you’ll catch on)
Say It Somehow (My other personal favorite)
and I’m beginning to like the title song The Light in the Piazza,
Overall its a good show but not my favorite. As I mentioned before several of the songs dont make sense in the show or even musically at all. I cannot emphasize this enough, and I’m not cutting on the vocalists they are terrific!!! Only on the compositions!!!!!!
If you want a good show with good musicality that actually makes sense I suggest “Into the Woods”, or “Assassins”, or even “Sweeney Todd” All excellent shows written in a similar style.
The best Score on Broadway since ‘Nine’.
I am a singer/musician who worked in NY in the musical theatre before working as a Casting Director at a NY Soap thus, not only is this my background but I also know of these performers either by audition or as far back as fellow actors. This score has the power to create a positive cathartic effect to anyone who can even remotely relate to the oscillating emotions swirling about on the stage or, on listening to the CD. The first time one listens… it is true, I was grabbed by one song, “The Beauty is”…and moderately interested by the others. After I sat down at the piano and figured this one song out. I realized that my musical admiration for Mr. Guettal had risen even more. Before I give my opinions about the music and the show, I’d like to say that I wish all Americans had the
interest and knowledge to experience the true inheritance of the one original art-form created by America, being carried into the 21C under the able hands of Richard Rodger’s Grandson, Adam Guettel. It is not par chance, that Grandfather passed on to his Grandson the Rodger’s musical gene in the sense of his greatest capacity as the ‘Father of Musical Theatre’. Emotion felt through music that can evoke a wonderful experience for the listener. After all, whether you find Rodger’s music dated or the Lyrics by Hammerstein corny, when you listen to these scores, and I had performed in ‘South Pacific’ alone over a year and a half, the musical component of their best songs goes exactly where Rodgers wanted your feelings to ascend when experiencing that moment thus, I feel Guettel does the same. I almost feel as if my favorite song from ‘South Pacific’, “Cockeyed Optimist”, the second song performed in the show, written with simple lyrics, is actually a monologue with an insight into the complex character
who sings this song and readies us for her transformation throughout the show. It is almost eerie that ‘The Beauty is ‘, perhaps the single most beautiful song ever written to convey a feeling of wonder, joy, yearning and discovery while also explaining where the character’s internal feelings are at this moment, also a very complex character, is Guettel’s ‘Cockeyed Optimist’ in his
very new, unique musical sound. The song, musicially speaking, takes us in a new exciting direction. I had been lucky to see all the Clara’s (I’ve seen the show 3 times and luckily with my contacts, I’ve always had house seats that allow me to truly study the actors and of course..once a Casting director…always a Casting Director), even the understudy who performed between Kelli and Katie (?) and there is no comparison when it comes to a combo of voice, acting ability and look, Kelli
O’Hara owns this role and now without her voice doing justice to Guettel’s score, Clara’s songs do not have quite the emotional power. I liked Katie, but her instrument is not strong enough to meet the requirements of this complicated score to be able to rise above and be free to express her emotions vocally. That being said, she is a wonderful replacement.
‘The Beauty is’ is now in my top short-list of Songs.
I feel Mr. Guettel gives a nod to his grandfather and again, still with his very own distinctive sound, by writing the wonderful “Passeggiata’ in waltz-time. Everyone knows that Rodgers had a gift with this time meter that can be a trap for many others. Rodger’s songs in 3/4 time soared and I feel that Guettel, in this wonderful song that is again easy to listen to and yet so complex, has chosen to show his ingenius use of this time meter as a nod to his Grandfather and also to catch the most charming moment of the show and score. Adam Lazar, by the way, soars with this score in ways that Morrison was not able, lacking the vocal strenght and quality.
Statues and Stories is pure genius in all ways. To see it performed is to be reminded of why truly good theatre can grab you and transfix. Vicky Clark is truly amazing in this number..on CD and on the stage.
Vicky Clark is someone that I had wanted to cast on the TV show I worked on for years, as I knew her through friends and such since 1988. She even once came to see ‘Company’ where I was doing the ‘Musical Direction’ in-between Acting gigs and I was the lone pianist sitting in the center of the set with a drummer (yikes).We also studied with the same wonderful Vocal Coach, out of SF. I had watched her performances over the years wondering when her time would come to be the lead, not waiting in the wings, because the talent and the voice was exemplary. Well…this is the best Legit voice on Broadway that is only equaled by her own unique choices in portraying Margaret, a very difficult role that requires so much variety to be shown and yet, within the restrains of a Character of the 1950s from NC! Bravo! Her rendering of the reprise of ‘The Beauty is’, is for me, the highlight of her performance.
‘Light in the Piazza’, the song, is what it is..the ballad that will be song by every lyric soprano at auditions for years to come. It seems quite simple with its scale-like melody (another nod to his grandfather) until it soars at the end. Musicially I had never been so overwhelmed and satisfied in where Guttel surprisingly lead me as the song reached its crescendo. Boy…it sounds deceivingly simple..but this is no ‘On my Own’ , from Les Miz. Only Kelli O’Hara had the Vocal Power to sing this difficult ending that is really where the song is going from the first note. It is truly a difficult passage to sing while not letting the intense emotion cause the voice to close… and Kelli O’Hara soars on the CD as she did in performance.
How satisfying to feel like this again so many disappointing nights at the theatre. As a Casting Director, it was my job to see as shows possible (B’way and Off-B’way) during my 11 years at ABC in NY. Nothing
had ever matched the overall talent of the creators of this new move forward for the Muscial Theater nor the two original leading ladies who created these two memorable roles. Listen to the CD twice…you’ll be hooked. ( Actually..I must give a nod to the brilliant Audra McDonald who was discovered in ‘Carousel’ in the same theatre as “Piazza”! Her rendition of “Mr. Snow’ was a highlight of my 11 years of going to the theatre during my tenure as a Casting Director.
and the beauty is… Light in the Piazza
I truly believe that this is the kind of musical where you should see the performance before listening to the cd. Because as much as the music is an incredible artistic creation… it was made as part of a whole… and it should be taken that way in order to be truly appreciated. that said, it is one of the most beautiful scores I have ever heard! I actually listened to it before seeing the show, and, while I recognized the high caliber of the music, there was a kind of unsettling-ness about it. After seeing the show, which was so beautifully and delicately performed, it all made sense. The places in the music that sounded… unexpected?… at first fit perfectly with the scene. It is very difficult to explain, but after seeing the show and listening to the cd again, you realize that it’s all in the music…
If you are not a broadway lover, or a music composition/theory expert–then you MUST see the show first.
This is really a fantastic show, with a unique and amazing score!