The serious-minded musical began previews on March 17, 2005 and opened on April 18, 2005. It will have played 36 previews and 504 performances, making it one of the most successful shows in the history on LCT. It's triumph is all the more remarkable given the romantic, near-classical flavor of Guettel's score and the heady subject matter—the story is about an American mother traveling in 1953 Florence who must decide the best route to take when her mentally stunted adult daughter falls in love with a local Italian boy.
Piazza won six 2005 Tony Awards including Best Score for Guettel and Best Actress in a Musical for Victoria Clark, who is still with the show. It also won five Drama Desk Awards and two Outer Critics Circle Awards.
Clark's commanding performance as doting mother Margaret Johnson catapulted the Broadway actor, who typically played supporting roles before this, to a new tier of theatrical stardom. The show also cemented Geuttel's longstanding reputation as a rising talent.
The current cast also includes Michael Berresse, Sarah Uriarte Berry, David Bonanno, David Burnham, Victoria Clark, Katie Clarke, Patti Cohenour, Beau Gravitte, Laura Griffith, Prudence Wright Holmes, Jennifer Hughes, Felicity LaFortune, Catherine LaValle, Aaron Lazar, Michel Moinot, Adam Overett, Peter Samuel, Chris Sarandon, Joseph Siravo and Diane Sutherland. Leading players Berresse, Berry, Gravitte and Cohenour have been with the show throughout the entire run. Katie Clarke replace Tony-nominated actress Kelli O'Hara as daughter Clara.
The musical has sets by Michael Yeargan, costumes by Catherine Zuber, lighting by Christopher Akerlind, sound by ACME Sound Partners, orchestrations by Ted Sperling and Adam Guettel, music direction by Ted Sperling and musical staging by Jonathan Butterell. Adam Guettel composed the score and Craig Lucas penned the libretto, based on a 1960 novella by Elizabeth Spencer. Barlett Sher directed at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre.
The show will have a national tour starring Christine Andreas, beginning Aug. 1.