The Illinois State University School of Theatre and Dance and School of Music will present The Light in the Piazza, at 7:30 p.m. March 1, 2, and 5–8, and at 2 p.m. March 3 at the Center for the Performing Arts Theatre. Tickets are $12 for students and seniors and $17 for all other adults.

Winner of six Tony Awards including Best Score in 2005 and a Drama Desk award for Outstanding Music, The Light in the Piazza is a musical adaptation of the novel by Elizabeth Spencer. The story is set in the summer of 1953 and revolves around an American mother, Margaret Johnson, who is touring the Italian countryside with her daughter, Clara. While sightseeing, a gust of wind causes Clara’s hat to land at the feet of a handsome Florentine named Fabrizio. This serendipitous beginning sparks a whirlwind romance between Fabrizio and Clara, in spite of a dark secret standing in their way.

While the play can be defined as a modern musical because of its introduction in 2003, director Enrico Spada notes, “The neoclassical score makes it unique among other contemporary musicals.” With its soaring operatic melodies and a score densely featuring piano, harp, guitar, and strings, The Light in the Piazza ventures into a distinctive category of its own.

A collaboration between the School of Theatre and Dance and the School of Music normally happens every spring semester. In Piazza, students from the School of Music make up the orchestra, led by conductor Glenn Block. Music Director Dennis Gotkowski works closely with both Block and Spada. “Making sure the music and the physical action on stage really support each other has been a fun part of the experience,” says Spada. “I have to work closely with Dennis and Glenn so that all the elements of story and music are working together as an effective whole. I hope the show inspires people to take more risks, to really put themselves out there in search of love and connection.”

For tickets or additional information, contact the College of Fine Arts Box Office, located in the Illinois State University Center for the Performing Arts, open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, at (309) 438-2535, or purchase tickets online at Performance parking is available for free in the School Street Parking Deck in spots 250 and above, 400 W. Beaufort St., Normal.