June 2 2010 12:00 AM

Summer Circle Theater launches season with ’Spirit’

A summer romance in sultry 1950s Italy sparks maternal disapproval in "The Light in the Piazza," the Criag Lucas/Adam Guettel musical inspired by Elizabeth Spencer’s novella.

Jane Falion directs Doak Bloss, Emily English Clark, Chad Dekatch and Paige Lucas in the Riverwalk Theatre production, which closes out the theater’s 2009- 10 season.

Wealthy American tourists Margaret (English Clark) and Clara (Lucas) Johnson get a crash-course in love, Italian-style, when Clara catches the eye of Fabrizio Naccarelli (Dekatch) in a piazza in Florence. Although Margaret wants her daughter to be happy, she feels she can’t allow this particular case of love at first sight to turn into a full-blown affair.

Showtimes for "The Light in the Piazza" are at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 3 and June 10; 8 p.m. Friday, June 4 and June 11, and Saturday, June 5 and June 12; and 2 p.m. Sunday, June 6 and June 13. Adults are $20; seniors and students with ID are $18. For more information or reservations, call (517) 482-5700.

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Summer Circle Theatre is going back to its beginnings with Noel Coward’s ghostly comedy "Blithe Spirit."

“Blithe” was the first show ever performed by Summer Circle 50 years ago,” said Rob Roznowski, chairman of the Michigan State University Theatre Department. “So it kind of brings everything full circle.”

"Blithe Spirit," directed by Anne Levy, is performed at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 9, through Saturday, June 12, at the stage outside of the Michigan State University Auditorium, along the Red Cedar River. All performances are free. The Saturday performance will be preceded by a reception at Kresge Court with music by the Al Cafagna Trio. For more information, visit www.summercircle.org.