FRIDAY 5 (+1): THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA's Lindsay Hess and Briar Moroschak
Street Theatre Company begins a new chapter in its storied presence in Nashville theater tonight with the debut of Adam Guettel and Craig Lucas' The Light in the Piazza at the company's new theater space at 1120 Elm Hill Pike.
With two performance spaces available - the mainstage area will seat more than 125 patrons, while the smaller cabaret space greets audiences as they enter the expansive new space, replete with just about everything a theater company could hope for - STC's new home promises Nashville's ever-growing creative community the kind of new venue for which people have long dreamed.
STC artistic director Randy Craft says he hopes to work with existing companies and individuals in the coming months to make the new theater available for all manner of creative endeavors.
First up, however, is the Nashville debut of the critically acclaimed The Light in the Piazza, featuring an all-star cast of local theater favorites performing a beloved score and script that has become beloved by serious theater artists.
Ernie Nolan, artistic director of Nashville Children's Theatre, helms the production starring Lindsay Hess, Briar Moroschak, Jairus Maples, Alan Smith, Teal Davis, Margaret French, Brooke Leigh Davis, Mac Ogle, Corrie Maxwell, Crystal Kurek, Julie Adams, Carly Rose and Austin Jeffrey Smith.
The Light in the Piazza, which takes place in Italy in the summer of 1953. Margaret Johnson (played by Lindsay Hess), the wife of an American businessman, is touring the Tuscan countryside with her daughter, Clara (Briar Moroschak). While sightseeing, Clara-a beautiful, surprisingly childish young woman-loses her hat in a sudden gust. As if guided by an unseen hand, the hat lands at the feet of Fabrizio Naccarelli (Jairus Maples), a handsome Florentine, who returns it to Clara. This brief episode, charged with coincidence and fate, sparks an immediate and intense romance between Clara and Fabrizio. Margaret, extremely protective of her daughter, attempts to keep Clara and Fabrizio apart. As The Light in the Piazza, unfolds, a secret is revealed: in addition to the cultural differences between the young lovers, Clara is not quite all that she appears. Unable to suppress the truth about her daughter, Margaret is forced to reconsider not only Clara's future, but her own hopes as well.
Running through April 20, tickets for The Light in the Piazza are available at https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?ticketing=strc&fbclid=IwAR2ybPCcYP7kwqzQB1xw_XatG4J9i_jR1TI1F195LEaSjSUePLNbYneZm2s.
Today, we invite you to get to know Briar Moroschak and Lindsay Hess, who play the daughter and mother at the heart of the story, who graciously answered our questions for the latest in our continuing series of Friday 5 (+1) in order to gain some insight into the two women and to suggest why you might want to make reservations now to see the acclaimed musical at Street Theatre Company.
Briar Moroschak (Clara Johnson)
What was your first "live, onstage" taste of theater? My first taste of theatre was when my mom was performing in Smoke on the Mountain when I was around four-years-old. I still remember the theatre. The gorgeous red seats, the huge theatre, and feeling so small. I remember being so infatuated by the show and sitting still the whole time. But it wasn't until the end of middle school, that I realized "hmm, maybe I could do this."
What is your favorite pre-show ritual? It used to be getting a large McDonald's sweet tea, but now I like to get in a corner by myself about 5-10 minutes to curtain, feel present and do a quick chakra balancing to make sure I'm receptive to all emotions that I'm about to go through as the character and to calm myself down.
What's your most memorable "the show must go on" moment? Is it bad I had too many to pick from? One of the first ones I thought of was when I was doing my first show at Austin Peay State (Footloose) and it was our final dress. I had forgotten my gym socks for the Act 1 finale and I was so flustered by it that I completely forgot that we had a storybook set and when it opened, there were these wooden flats that would come down. So I literally ran on headfirst into this flat as it was coming down. I fell backward off stage and I remember looking up and seeing the flat swinging back and forth. I heard from the booth "Briar, are you okay?" and I didn't want to stop anything, so I said, "I'm fine!!" and we just kept going. I went through that whole scene and I remember touching my forehead while we were dancing to make sure I wasn't bleeding. Anyways, I still have the picture and it is so funny. Not at the time but looking back at it, it was great.
What's your dream role? THIS. Clara Johnson has been my dream role for years. I can't believe I'm able to play her and I hope I'll be able to do it again. Also, if Tangled becomes a full-fledged musical, then Rapunzel would be the new dream.
Who's your theatrical crush? Sierra Boggess. Hands down.
Why should people come see The Light in the Piazza? Wow, there's so many thoughts. This show is so beautiful. The story, the music, the singing. It truly is a masterpiece that everyone should see. It teaches you about love. Not just cheesy love (huge fan), but it shows every single aspect of love. Hardship and victories, even self-love. This is the type of show that makes you feel refreshed after you leave. I can't express how much I love this show and I can't wait to share this story with everyone!
Lindsay Hess (Margaret Johnson)
What was your first "live, onstage" taste of theater? In second grade I got to be a Russian baker in my elementary schools production of The Nutcracker. I think I still remember all of the words to our song too! "We've got a Russian recipe all that a recipe should be, it makes it bakes sweet Russian tea cakes..."
What is your favorite pre-show ritual? I do try to drink a lot of water the days leading up to a show or big rehearsal and limit dairy and salty foods. I also like to take some alone time without distraction to get into character and to focus before the start of a performance.
What's your most memorable "the show must go on" moment? I won't mention the name of the show, but I had a near-humiliating moment when my skirt was just a little too long and my cross across the stage just a little too far and quick and I started to trip center stage and continued to trip and catch myself about five more times before I finally was able to steady myself with another cast member . How I managed to not fall is a complete miracle, and had I fallen, I'm sure I would have gotten up and played it off and continued on, business as usual. I'm thankful for being spared that humiliation.
What's your dream role? Well, Piazza has always been a dream show of mine, ever since i saw it with my mom at Lincoln Center. Now that this dream is becoming reality, I would say Francesca in Bridges of Madison County is a dream role of mine and doing just about any role in Into the Woods.
Who's your theatrical crush? I've always been a huge Barbra Streisand fan; what an amazing talent and what an amazing career!
Why should people come see The Light in the Piazza? Everything about this show is magic, from feeling like you've been transported to Italy, to the gorgeous score, to the emotional and romantically charged ride you follow these characters on. I believe you will leave the theatre inspired and changed.