State of the Arts Blog

The reviews are in for Latte Da’s ‘The Light in the Piazza’

The musical "The Light in the Piazza" revolves around a mother and daughter on a trip to Florence. When the daughter, Clara, falls for a young Italian man, her mother Margaret worries about the future, while simultaneously regretting her own past.

The show won six Tony awards when it premiered in 2005; Twin Cities critics find themselves either gushing or dissatisfied after seeing Theater Latté Da's production.


Jessica Fredrickson as Clara Johnson and Aleks Knezevich as Fabrizio Naccarelli in Theater Latté Da's "The Light in the Piazza"

Photo by Michal Daniel

From Janet Preus at

Nobody does musical theater better than Theater Latté Da. Notice I didn't qualify that with an "in the Twin Cities." If theater were a competition (and thank heavens that it isn't) this company could offer courses in how to do it right. I don't gush often, but I'm gushing now.

From Graydon Royce at the Star Tribune:

Teasing this story forth in Craig Lucas' script becomes a tedious affair. Clara is written with frustrating inconsistency. She's sharp and insightful, with a growing grasp of Italian one minute; rash and temperamental as a petulant child the next. Fredrickson labors to navigate this mine field, and the result is a stagy character who never leaves us convinced that something real is at stake. Knezevich's Fabrizio is a young innocent, purposely bland.


Jessica Fredrickson as Clara Johnson and Kathleen Humphrey as Margaret Johnson in Theater Latté Da's "The Light in the Piazza"

Photo by Michal Daniel

From Chris Hewitt at the Pioneer Press:

Latte Da's "Piazza" fits perfectly in the Ordway's intimate McKnight Theatre. A chamber-sized musical with a small cast and orchestra, the scale of the production feels exactly right. The moral questions in "Piazza" may be far-ranging, but the musical -- and Latte Da's appealingly modest production -- asks them quietly, without pretending to have all the answers. In fact, the real finale probably will take place not on stage but in theatergoers' cars on the way home, as they debate whether Margaret makes the right decisions.

From Ed Huyck at City Pages:

Not that Theatre Latte Da's production wasn't tightly produced or gloriously sung. Instead, the musical from Craig Lucas and Adam Guettel (based on Elizabeth Spencer's novella) can be a difficult ride. If you come in looking for a light, romantic evening about love blossoming in Italy, you're likely to be disappointed. If you meet Piazza on its own terms, you won't be disappointed.


Jessica Fredrickson as Clara Johnson in Theater Latté Da's "The Light in the Piazza"

Photo by Michal Daniel

Theater Latté Da's "The Light in the Piazza" runs through April 7 at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul. Have you seen the show? What's your review?

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