Adam Guettel

‘The Light in the Piazza’: It’s love, actually

Portland Playhouse's version of the sublime musical captures its sweetness and pain

A friend of mine is an avid fan of the composer Adam Guettel, and so in 2007 when a touring production of the musical The Light in the Piazza came to town in the Broadway Across America series, I got tickets for my friend and his wife. The show was marvelous. It even accomplished the rare feat of turning the cavernous Keller Auditorium, usually such an inert space, to its advantage, creating a sense of visual and emotional expansiveness.

As I sat next to him during the show, I was certain he was enjoying it as much as I was. That was an underestimation. When the house lights went up after the poignant finale, I saw that he was a mess. The man — hardly someone prone to effusiveness or extremes of mood — had been sweating and crying so much that he looked like a puddle wearing a shirt.

Cross-cultural awareness: Meredith Kaye Clark, Michael Hammack. Photo: Brud Giles

Cross-cultural awareness: Meredith Kaye Clark, Michael Hammack. Photo: Brud Giles

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