After earning a Tony Award nomination for her Broadway musical debut in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel, Renée Fleming will cross the pond to further showcase her theatre chops. The opera star will headline a London production of The Light in the Piazza, set to begin performances at the Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall June 14, 2019.
Fleming will play Margaret Johnson, the part that earned Victoria Clark a Tony Award in 2005. Joining her will be Dove Cameron (Hairspray Live!, Off-Broadway’s Clueless) as Margaret’s daughter Clara. Additional casting will be announced later.
The artists will be backed by the 40-piece Orchestra of Opera North, conducted by Kimberley Grigsby.
Olivier Award-winning actor and director Daniel Evans, recently represented in the West End with the 2017 revival of Show Boat, will helm the presentation. Performances will continue through July 5.
Fleming and Cameron have proven themselves Piazza enthusiasts previously. Fleming sings Margaret Johnson’s soaring “Fable” on her recent Broadway-inspired album, and Cameron has a record of publicizing her love of the musical via Twitter.
The musical, featuring a book by Craig Lucas and a score by Adam Guettel, received its European premiere in 2009 at the Curve in Leicester, but has yet to play London. In 2016, the original Broadway cast reunited for a one-night-only benefit concert performance at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater.
Based on Elizabeth Spencer's 1960 novel (which was adapted for the screen in 1962), the show tells the story of Margaret and Clara Johnson, a mother and daughter who, while vacationing in Florence, encounter a young Italian man. As he and Clara quickly fall in love, Margaret must reconcile her daughter's pursuit of happiness with a family secret that could threaten their romance.
The limited engagement is the debut production from Scenario Two, a new company founded by John Berry and Anthony Lilley to focus on commercial theatre in London, the rest of the U.K., and internationally. Following its London premiere, musical will tour major venues in North America and Australia.
Scenario Two director Berry said in a statement, “The score of The Light in the Piazza is sensational and we are thrilled that audiences will hear this London premiere in a new expanded version for full symphony orchestra. By bringing together a cast from different genres we hope to appeal to a wide audience and make this limited run of performances a ‘must see event’ before it travels to the USA.”
Fleming added, “I’m delighted to be a part of the London premiere of The Light in the Piazza. Adam Guettel’s score is ravishing, reaching beyond the boundaries of how we think of musical theatre. For my London theatre debut, to play Margaret Johnson—a fascinating, deeply human character whose predicament I find incredibly moving—this was an opportunity I couldn’t resist.”