Tuesday, April 19, 2005

"The Light" revisited

The Light in the Piazza, which I wrote about last month, officially opened last night, and NYT's Brantley had a lot of good things to say about the American mother in the musical, whom I also thought was the highlight of the show, and a real reason to see it:

It's when Ms. Clark sings of the cracks and compromises in life that you experience the privilege of stepping inside someone else's mind. A hitherto inconspicuous Broadway performer, Ms. Clark emerges as a star not through show-stopping flash but with the quiet confidence of an actress who knows every bumpy inch of her conflicted character.

It helps, of course, that Mr. Guettel has such a commanding musical grasp of this character as well. A song in the first act, "Dividing Day," in which Mrs. Johnson reflects on the emptiness of her marriage, is a nigh-perfect fusion of a character, an actress and a song. Such moments are rare enough these days to make Mr. Guettel's Florence worth a side trip for hopeful theatergoers still looking for love in a Broadway musical.

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