Victoria Clark Says "Grazie" to Cast and Crew and Piazza Closing

News   Victoria Clark Says "Grazie" to Cast and Crew and Piazza Closing
The Light in the Piazza star Victoria Clark suprised the audience at the July 2 final performance of the Broadway musical by addressing the audience in a long, heartfelt farewell speech.

Top: Victoria Clark giving her final bow in Piazza on Broadway; Bottom: Clark and Broadway's original Fabrizio, Matthew Morrison
Top: Victoria Clark giving her final bow in Piazza on Broadway; Bottom: Clark and Broadway's original Fabrizio, Matthew Morrison Photo by Jeff Meshel

Following the curtain call, Clark introduced librettist Craig Lucas, composer Adam Guettel, and director Bartlett Sher, who all emerged from the audience and took a bow on stage. obtained the text of the address that followed through Clark's representative. Below is the complete text:

"The closest thing I can compare this performance to is natural childbirth. We knew it was coming, we faced it with equal parts dread and excitement, the head was down, we knew this baby was coming. And then it hurt like hell, it is a relief to have it over, and look what a beautiful baby we have.

"I hope nobody has a roast in the oven, because today we leave the piazza, and there are a number of folks we want to acknowledge and thank. First of all, we are all storytellers up here, and we are no good without a great story. We were given that story by Elizabeth Spencer, a wonderful, Mississippi-born writer who wrote the novella of The Light in the Piazza. She is alive and well in Durham, North Carolina, and could not be with us today, but sends her love. Next, we were fortunate and blessed enough to have this source material fall into the genius talented hands of Adam Guettel and Craig Lucas, whose work stands alone separately as a play,without any music, and as an opera, of sorts, without any scenes. And you put them together and you have, two! Two! Two shows in one, and this complexity and strength in the individual components is what gives Piazza is depth and texture.

"Next, you have to have a director who knows what to do with this material, and Bartlett Sher made us all better than we ever knew we were. "I acknowledged Jonathan Butterell in the audience, and called him `The magic unseen hand' of the piazza, who gave us our beautiful subtle body language, gave the piece its fluid movement of staging and transitions, and kept us all firmly grounded and rooted in our bodies.

"I thanked our designers Michael Yeargan (sets) and Catherine Zuber (costumes) who were both in the audience, and Christopher Ackerlind (lights) and Nevin Steinberg (sound) who could no be there.

"Next, I thanked the Intiman Theater in Seattle, the Goodman Theater in Chicago and its Artistic Director Robert Falls, and especially our Broadway producers, Lincoln Center Theater, Bernard Gersten and Andre Bishop for their courage and dedication, and for giving us the perfect theater, the Vivian Beaumont Theater, to bring this piece to life.

"I introduced our marvelous conductor Kimberly Grigsby and the orchestra (who had to stay in the pit to play the exit music!) And thanked out orchestrators Adam Guettel, Ted Sperling, and Bruce Coughlin.

"I thanked our unbelievable cast, and said I could write a book about each and every one.

"Then I brought out the swings (actors) from the wings and acknowledged their hard work, and thanked the understudies separately:

"Those beautiful men and women you saw pushing the scenery around, and riding the bicycle,and serving the coffee, and bringing the props on and off the stage, are each understudying one of the principal roles in the show. And they are all superstars, and each and every one of them has had to step in and fill their roles on a moment's notice, and they have so brilliantly with great style and leadership. And I have to personally thank Patti Cohenour, who, besides myself, is the only remaining cast member who has performed all three productions of Piazza. In addition to doing Senora every night, for the past four months, she has been the Margaret alternate, going back and forth between doing six shows a week of Senora (and yes, that a high C she is singing), and also Margaret twice a week, and she has done this all with tremendous grace and leadership, and I guarantee you she is the only woman on the planet who could have done that! "

"And to prove to you that it truly takes a village to put on a show, I would like to introduce you to our crew. Our props, sound, lights, set, automation, wardrobe, and hair crew who all work so hard to make the show work.

"And lastly, I want to thank you, the audience for being here today, and for giving us so much energy. I will just speak for myself, and say that there were many days when I wasn't sure I had the strength required to tell the emotional story of Piazza, the strength to climb that mountain. And those were the days, when we could literally feel your support coming out at us, almost as though you were somehow building a road between your hearts and the stage. And we could feel it. It was palpable and strong, so strong we could stand on it. And that's what we did, and you gave us that strength and that love and that support.

"It has been a magnificent ride, and I didn't say this Sunday night, but there was so much talk about what a rainy, dark winter and spring we had here in New York, but I will tell you something. The sun was always shining at the Vivian Beaumont. The light in the piazza came from all of us, from the cast, crew, musicians, the writers, the audience, and we were all able to grow and bask in it and become better people, better lovers of life, better citizens of the planet. So, as the Nacarellis would say `Alla belezza della vita,'—` To the beauty of life.' May we all see each other again soon."

Clark celebrating the <i>Piazza</i> cast and crew.
Clark celebrating the Piazza cast and crew. Photo by Jeff Meshel
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