“The Light in the Piazza” opened June 24 at the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival, and along with the enchanting storyline about the enduring strength and power of love, one of our favorite parts about the show was the fantastic outfits (designed by Lucy Brown). 1950s American and Italian fashion was marked by bold styles, and we’re exploring some of those and the inspiration behind our production of “Piazza” with pictures comparing real-life photos from that time period to photos from the show!
The outfits chosen in the show not only represent the time period well, but fit each character’s personality too! From the structured, tailored outfits worn by Margaret (Sally Wilfert) to the softer, more flowing dresses worn by Clara (Heather Botts), we are given insights into each character. Margaret begins the show with set ideas and a “closed off” attitude, which are reflected in her beige, buttoned up suits, but as she warms and softens throughout the show, her outfits become more open, colorful, and dramatic. Likewise, Clara’s light and girly personality is well reflected in her pastel color palette and full-skirted frocks.
Italian fashion in the 1950s was marked by strong, dramatic lines. This is demonstrated in all of the Italian women in “The Light in the Piazza.” For example,Franca (Tracy Ganem) is known for herpassionate outbursts and fiery temperament, which is well depicted in her clothing choices. The strong colors, clean lines, and form-fitting style is representative of young Italian women in the 1950s.
Signora, the matriarch of the Naccarelli family (Ariela Morgenstern), is a vibrant, intense woman. Her clothing has strong, geometric outlines and bold colors as well. Whether she’s singing in Italian, explaining events to the audience in English, or reveling in intrigue and suspense, Signora Naccarelli does it in style.
The Naccarelli men are no strangers to the fashion world, as they own a shop that sells clothing items “not for you, but for your husbands!” Whether selecting the perfect tie, strolling through the piazza, or wooing a woman, they are always sharply dressed. Although Fabrizzio (Nathan Gardner) doesn’t have the sense of style possessed by his father and brother (Patrick Oliver Jones and Nick Fitzer, respectively) at the beginning of the show, his desire to impress Clara inspires him to seek their advice and get decked out in the latest Italian fashion.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this brief tour through the fashion in “The Light in the Piazza.” The costumes are only one element in this moving and emotional musical, and we highly encourage you to come experience this inspiring love story yourself!