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HSRT Brings a Romantic Slice of Italy to Close Their 42nd Season

by Dan Cash

HOLLAND – HSRT’s “summer of love” concludes with the award-winning production ofThe Light in the Piazza. Set in Italy in the summer of 1953, this enchanting musical romance will leave the audience breathless. When a young American, Clara, finds herself falling in love with Fabrizio, a handsome Italian, Clara’s mother Margaret steps in to prevent secrets from being told. Will the path to love be easy for Clara? See the story unfold at8:00 pm on July 19, 20, 24, 27,29 August1, 6, 9 in the Dewitt Theatre (141 E. 12thStreet). 

Margaret Johnson and her twenty six year old daughter Clara are taking a holiday in Florence, Italy to experience the rich beauty and history of the city. While sightseeing, Clara’s hat is blown off her head by the wind and Fabrizio, a local Italian boy, catches it. The two of them are instantly smitten. As their relationship develops, Margaret does everything in her power to keep the two apart. Filled with mystery, romance and beautiful music,The Light in the Piazzais a charming musical that warms the heart and reminds us of the true power of love.

Playing the role of Clara Johnson and making her HSRT debut is Katie Drinkard(Highlands, CO), a rising senior in the BFA Musical Theatre Program at Ithaca College. Margaret Johnson will be played by HSRT verteran and award-winning actress Susan Ericksen(Minneapolis, MN). Susan’s husband and Artistic Director of Hope Summer Repertory Theatre,David Colacci(Minneapolis, MN), will be joining the cast as Signore Naccarelli andMichael Hanna(Minneapolis, MN) who is joining HSRT for his second year will be playing the role of Fabrizio Naccarelli.

Directing the show is Daina Robins(Holland, MI), who has stopped counting the number of seasons she has been a part of HSRT. Past HSRT productions includeSongs For A New World, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Little Women, Sarah, Plain and Tall, The Hypochondriac,and Rounding Third.Daina teaches acting, directing and theatre history at Hope College and is Chair of the Theatre Department. She has just returned from sabbatical leave, which included extended stays in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Vienna, and Berlin. She was a founding member of Double Edge Theatre in Massachusetts and did her graduate work at Tufts University.

Joseph P. Flauto returns to HSRT for his twenty-ninth season as the Scenic Designer forThe Light in the Piazza. Joe continues to come back to HSRT because he is so pleased with the quality of work and considers it his second home. Joe was a member of the faculty at the University of Evansville for 30 years and had numerous designs appear at regional and national Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festivals, such asAnatomy of Gray, which was invited to appear at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC in April of 2006. Since his retirement from University of Evansville in 2008 he has been invited to design productions at Anderson University, the University of Michigan-Flint, and at Hope College.

Renewing collaboration with HSRT isPeter E. Sargent, the Lighting Designer. Peter designed his first production at HSRT in 1991 and has designed many other shows since then. Currently he is the Dean of the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts at Webster University, the resident lighting designer for The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, and on the Board of Directors for the Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, the Arts and Education Council of St. Louis, the Insight Theatre Company and the College of Fellows of American Theatre. Peter is also in the Educational Theatre Association’s Hall of Fame and has received the Arts and Education Council of St. Louis Award for Excellence in the Arts as well as a Special Citation for Excellence in Theatre Education by the United States Institute for Theatre Technology.

Rounding out the production team is Musical Director Stephen Schermitzler, Choreographer Matthew Farmer, Costume Designer Jessica M. Leslie, Sound Designer Mark Gmazel, and Stage Manager Rebekah Carriere.

Individual tickets are now on sale at the DeWitt Ticket Office (141 E. 12thStreet) fromMondaythroughFriday 10:00 am – 5:00 pmSaturdays fromNoon– Intermission. Our new 8thStreet Ticket Office (100 E. 8thStreet – Main Level) is openMondaythrough Friday 10:00 am – 5 pm. Prices range from $12 - $28 forThe Light in the Piazza. Patrons can purchase individual tickets online by visitinghope.edu/hsrtor calling616-395-7890.