GVSU Opera Theatre presents 'The Light in the Piazza'

Ryan DeBoer and Claire Chardon, both of Grand Rapids, perform as Fabrizio and Clara in the GVSU Opera Theatre production.
Ryan DeBoer and Claire Chardon, both of Grand Rapids, perform as Fabrizio and Clara in the GVSU Opera Theatre production.
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Travel to Rome and Florence from the comfort of a theater seat during the Grand Valley State University Opera Theatre production of the romantic Broadway musical "The Light in the Piazza."

Six performances are scheduled February 3-4 and 10-11, at 7:30 p.m. and February 5, 12 at 2 p.m. in the Louis Armstrong Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus.

“This production is about a young woman who finds romance for the first time, while vacationing in Italy with her mother,” said Dale Schriemer, GVSU Opera Theatre artistic director. “It is a wonderful opportunity to showcase our very talented students and the beautiful music and expressive feelings of the Italian culture.”

Based on the novella by Elizabeth Spencer, the musical was developed at the Intiman Playhouse in Seattle and the Goodman Theatre in Chicago before opening on Broadway in 2005, with a run of more than 500 performances. Music and lyrics by Adam Guettel garnered the 2005 Tony Award for Best Original Score. A 1962 film adaptation featured Olivia de Havilland and Yvette Mimieux.

A team of guest professionals comprises the artistic team, including New York City stage director Dorothy Danner and Chicago music director and conductor James Barnett. Grand Valley’s all-student performers include the live orchestra and a double-casting of the leading female roles for alternate performances:

   - Claire Chardon and Alexandra Papas, who also both performed in a previous GVSU Opera Theatre production of “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Do His Homework,” play young Clara.
   - The role of Margaret, Clara’s mother, is performed by Lynnae Meyers, a voice major from Hudsonville, whose previous roles at Grand Valley have been as Cinderella in “Into the Woods” and Maureen in “Rent.” She was also was seen in the TV show The Glee Project.
   - Also performing as Margaret is Caitlin Cusack, a voice major from Ionia.  Last year she was seen as The Chaise Lounge in the GVSU Opera Theatre production of “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Do His Homework.”
   - The role of Clara’s lover, Fabrizio, is performed by Ryan DeBoer, a voice performance major from Grandville. 
   - Anthony LaJoye, a music performance major from Petoskey, performs as Fabrizio’s father, Signor Nacarelli. His previous roles at Grand Valley include Shepherd in, “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Do His Homework,” and the title role in “Beauty and the Beast” at Bay View Music Festival.

General admission tickets are $14; alumni, faculty, staff and seniors $12; all students $6. Tickets are available to purchase online at www.gvsu.edu/theatre; in person at the box office, located in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center, open Mondays-Fridays, 12-5 p.m. and one hour prior to performances, or by calling (616) 331-2300. Tickets may also be purchased, with a service fee, through StarTickets online at www.startickets.com, or by calling (616) 222-4000 or (800) 585-3737.