At noon Nov. 3 in the Paris-Yates Chapel on the University of Mississippi campus, Adam Guettel, Blake McIver and Mary Donnelly Haskell will have a conversation about Elizabeth Spencer’s novella “The Light in the Piazza,” which was made into a musical.
In celebration of Mississippi writer Elizabeth Spencer’s one hundredth birthday, the University of Mississippi Department of Music is staging a November 2021 production of “The Light in the Piazza,” a musical based on Spencer’s novella of the same name. In conjunction with this production, the department is presenting Piazza composer, lyricist, and orchestrator Adam Guettel in a residency of public programing that explores Spencer, her novella, Guettel’s rationale for and process of creating a musical from Spencer’s work, and the themes, characters and concepts revealed in both pieces.
Guettel is a composer steeped in the opera and musical theatre traditions of America. The grandson of Richard Rodgers (of Rodgers and Hammerstein) and son of writer/composer Mary Rodgers, Guettel is well-versed in the history of American musical theatre forms. As a Tony Award-winning composer in his own right, his work is helping move those forms forward. “The Light in the Piazza” was nominated for 11 Tony Awards and won six, including two for Guettel for original score and orchestration.