Welcome back to my 'And the Tony Almost Went to...' series, where I talk about the one show that probably came closest to winning Best Musical in any previous year of the Tony Awards.
Based on Elizabeth Spencer's 1960 novella of the same name, The Light in the Piazzais set in the 1950s and revolves around Margaret Johnson, a wealthy Southern woman and Clara, her daughter who is developmentally disabled due to an unfortunate encounter with her birthday pony. The two spend a summer together in Italy. When Clara falls in love with a young Italian man, Margaret is forced to reconsider not only Clara's future, but her own deep seated hopes and regrets as well.
The original cast included Victoria Clark as Margaret Johnson, Kelli O’Hara as Clara Johnson, Matthew Morrison as Fabrizio Naccarelli, Michael Berresse as Giuseppe Naccarelli, Sarah Uriarte Berry as Franca Naccarelli, Patti Cohenour as Signora Naccarelli, Beau Gravitte as Roy Johnson, and Mark Harelik as Signor Naccarelli.
The production received 11 Tony Award nominations for Best Musical, Best Lead Actress in a Musical (Victoria Clark)*, Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Matthew Morrison), Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Kelli O’Hara), Best Direction of a Musical (Bartlett Sher), Best Book of a Musical (Craig Lucas), Best Original Score (Adam Guettel)*, Best Orchestrations (Adam Guettel, Ted Sperling, & Bruce Coughlin)*, Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Christopher Akerlind)*, Best Scenic Design of a Musical (Michael Yeargan)*, and Best Costume Design of a Musical (Catherine Zuber)*.
*denotes an award it won.
Yet, despite winning the most awards of the night, The Light in the Piazza still couldn't overcome the smash hit of the season that was...
Why Didn’t The Light in the Piazza Win?:
Monty Python's Spamalot won 3 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Sara Ramírez), and Best Direction of a Musical (Mike Nichols).