'Light of the Piazza' opens Nov. 12

Panorama of Florence, Italy
Panorama of Florence, Italy

The School of Music is bringing Adam Guttela's Broadway musical "Light in the Piazza" to UNL. Performances are 7:30 p.m., Nov. 12 and 3 p.m., Nov. 14 in Kimball Recital Hall.

Set in Florence, Italy, "Light in the Piazza" focuses on the interactions between an Italian and American family. The secrets of each character propel the story and create a dramatic dilemma that unfolds through the performance.

Alisa Belflower, a senior lecturer in music and director of the production, said the small details are crucial in accurately depicting the six-time Tony Award-winning show.

"I can't recreate Florence, Italy on the stage at Kimball," said Belflower. "We're making some choices that will create a beautiful space without creating the expense."

She said the performance is a "hybrid" between a musical and an opera.

As an operatic element, the show uses music throughout the production with a wide range or pitches required of each actor. To emphasize the music, the orchestra will be present on stage instead of hidden in the orchestra pit.

"The idea is to sweep people up and make them forget that they're in Lincoln, Nebraska for the duration of the show," Belflower said. "Some of our choices are very literal and some are very symbolic and hopefully that will do the trick to transport the audience to a different place."

Authenticity is also key to producing the illusion of being in a different place.

Belflower said the production would remain true to the setting and the 1950s period. Costumes worn by the performers are from the period, purchased by New York City costume designer Jonathan Knipscher.

Along with accurate dress, the performers will also sound like they've been plucked from Florence, Italy. The performers have been working with Lincoln resident Francesco Ciotti in perfecting the accents. Ciotti is originally from Florence and is instructing the students on the accent that is specific to the city.

"It's nice to hear an adult male use the proper inflection and really give the meaning behind the lines," said Sam Hartley, a senior theater performance major playing the role of Signor Naccarelli. "It took us away from what we were doing in the theater and helped us make it more real."

Belflower said the extra work toward realism will reflect the basic elements of the award-winning show.

"Our goal is to live up to the expectations that people have of how beautiful the story and the music is of this production," Belflower said. "The students are very devoted and are giving it their absolute best. It will be as wonderful as we can possibly make it."

Tickets, $20 for adults and $10 for students/seniors, are available through the Lied Center for Performing Arts at 472-4747 or 800-432-3231. For more information, go to http://go.unl.edu/piazza or call 472-6865.

- Asha Anchan, Music

More details at: http://go.unl.edu/uvh