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THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA A musical in 2 acts by Craig Lucas. Based on a novella by Elizabeth Spencer. Music and lyrics by Adam Guettel Vivian Beaumont Theatre, Lincoln Center, New York - Opened 18th April, 2005. Closed 2nd July, 2006 (504 perfs) SYNOPSIS A young American tourist, Clara Johnson, meets and falls for young Italian Fabrizio Naccarelli. When Clara's mother Margaret learns of the affair, she opposes it for reasons that only gradually become known to the audience. STORY Act 1 In the early morning of their first day in Florence, Margaret reads from her guidebook to Clara as the piazza around them is waking up and coming to life (“Statues and Stories”). A breeze carries Clara’s hat off her head and across the square where a young Italian man, Fabrizio, catches it, mid-air, and returns it to her. The two are instantly smitten. But Margaret steers her daughter away from the encounter, bringing her next to the Uffizi Gallery where the reaching figures in the paintings speak to Clara of her own yearnings (“The Beauty Is”). Fabrizio appears, hoping to arrange a time to meet with Clara, but once again Margaret intervenes. Alone, Fabrizio sings in Italian his declaration of love at first sight for Clara, along with a heartfelt cry of fear that she could never love anyone as lost and without position as he (“Il Mondo Era Vuoto”). Fabrizio begs his father and his brother Giuseppe to help him dress more presentably for Clara. Giuseppe attempts to teach Fabrizio some dance steps as well (“American Dancing”). At the Duomo, Fabrizio once again catches up with Margaret and Clara, and this time Fabrizio’s father, Signor Naccarelli, is able to help penetrate Margaret’s resistance to any further involvement. They all agree to meet at sunset to take a walk and admire the view of the city from above at the Piazzale Michelangelo (“Passeggiata”). Margaret and Clara are invited to have tea at the Naccarelli home. Giuseppe’s wife, Franca, takes Clara on a tour of the apartment, and alone in a separate room, she warns Clara about how quickly love can stale in marriage (“The Joy You Feel”). Though the Naccarellis are universally impressed with Clara, Margaret tries without success to share her deep reservations. When she looks in Fabrizio’s eyes and sees the love there, she cannot bring herself to disappoint him, as much as she feels she must; for there is something about Clara that none of these people know. Clara secretly makes plans to meet Fabrizio at midnight near the hotel. Margaret calls her husband Roy, who is back in the states. She tries to tell him what is happening with Clara and Fabrizio, but he is brusque and not very understanding, cutting short the conversation. Margaret, alone in her hotel room, reflects on the loneliness in her marriage (“Dividing Day”). She checks in Clara’s room and finds that she is missing. On her way to meet Fabrizio, Clara becomes lost in the maze-like streets of Florence. She loses all poise and control, becoming hysterical and screaming like a child (“Hysteria”). Her mother takes her back to the hotel and, as Clara sleeps, reveals the source of her disquiet. When Clara was a young girl, she was kicked in the head by a Shetland pony, and the accident has caused her mental and emotional abilities to develop abnormally. Margaret feels that she must take Clara away from Florence at once, and she steps down into the lobby to have a drink. While she is away, Fabrizio comes to the room, distraught; he cannot find the right words to express his feelings, and Clara urges him to use any other means; Clara accepts Fabrizio’s proposal of marriage, and the two are embracing, half undressed, as Margaret walks in on them (“Say It Somehow”). Act 2 Margaret takes Clara to Rome to distract her and put an end to the affair. Back in Florence, the Naccarelli