Under the Piano

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Under the Piano
Under the Piano DVD.jpg
DVD cover
Written byBlair Ferguson
Directed byStefan Scaini
StarringAmanda Plummer
Megan Follows
Teresa Stratas
Theme music composerChristopher Dedrick
Country of originCanada
Original language(s)English
Executive producer(s)Trudy Grant
Producer(s)Nicholas Gray
Kevin Sullivan
CinematographyRobert Saad
Editor(s)Mairin Wilkinson
Running timec. 92 minutes[1]
Production company(s)Sullivan Entertainment
Picture formatColor

Under the Piano is a 1995 television film directed by Stefan Scaini and features Kevin Sullivan as executive producer. The film follows the story of one woman’s overwhelming faith in her talented but emotionally defenceless sister. The film starred Megan Follows and Amanda Plummer as the sisters and opera singer Teresa Stratas as their mother.[2] Stratas won a Gemini Award as best supporting actress for her performance.[3]

The film is loosely based on the life experiences of Dolly and Henrietta Giardini. Sullivan had seen their story on an episode of 20/20 and was moved by the potential of it. Henrietta was born an autistic savant; though her mental/emotional faculties have never fully developed, she possesses an extraordinary gift for memorization and for music. The two sisters lives were crucial to each other's survival as Dolly was handicapped, born with a paralyzed arm.[4]


Franny Basilio (Amanda Plummer) is determined to help her musically gifted autistic sister Rosetta (Megan Follows) have a life of her own. Their mother Regina (Teresa Stratas), who gave up a promising career as an opera singer to raise her children, refuses to acknowledge Rosetta’s talent and believes she will never be capable of looking after herself. Franny vehemently disagrees with her mother, which has caused friction between them since she was a child. Eventually, Regina’s bitterness, ignorance and desire for acknowledgement of her own talent cause a rift between her and her daughters. Franny ultimately moves out of the house causing Rosetta to hurt herself in a desperate cry for help. Rosetta is hospitalized and assessed by doctors who recommend to Regina that her daughter be lobotomized for her own good. Franny must summon all of her courage in order to prevent her mother from allowing Rosetta to have the operation and be committed to an institution for the rest of her life.


List of awards[edit]

  • Cable Ace Nomination – Best International Dramatic Special or Series/Movie or Miniseries, 1996
  • 3 Gemini Awards – Best Costume Design, Best Supporting Actress in a TV Movie (Teresa Stratas), Best Sound, 1996
  • 2 Gemini Nominations – Best TV Movie, Best Direction in a Dramatic Program (Stefan Scaini), 1996


  1. ^ Under the Piano on IMDb
  2. ^ "Stratas makes movie debut". The Record. Kitchener, Ont. 1995-05-12. Retrieved 2010-12-09. (Paywall)
  3. ^ Quill, Greg (1997-03-03). "Net Worth scores big at Gemini TV Awards". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2010-12-09. ....Teresa Stratas, best supporting actress in the movie Under The Piano. (Paywall)
  4. ^ Hibbert, Amy (Jan 6, 1996). Nanaimo Times. Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]