Theater RED Invites Milwaukee to “Be Italian!” with NINE the Musical

Theater RED Invites Milwaukee to “Be Italian!” with NINE the Musical

January 25-27, 2019

Directed by Theater RED’s New Artistic Associate, Eric Welch

Che bello! Theater RED proudly announces a new addition to the company! Eric Welch joins Theater RED as Artistic Associate following his collaboration with the company in June of 2018 for the Wisconsin premiere of I’LL EAT YOU LAST: A CHAT WITH SUE MENGERS. Eric Welch directed this one-woman comedic romp as a co-production with his theater company, Untitled Productions.

The great secret of NINE is that it took “81⁄2” and became an essay on the power of women by answering the question, ‘What are women to men?’ And NINE tells you: they are our mothers, our sisters, our teachers, our temptresses, our judges, our nurses, our wives, our mistresses, our muses.

– Maury Yeston

Be Italian! New Theater RED Artistic Associate Eric Welch will direct NINE the musical, with music and lyrics by Maury Yeston and book by Arthur Kopit, in January of 2019. Reimagined with a cast of nine (9) women and one (1) man, NINE brings Theater RED alumni and newcomers together for a courageous, no-frills production that brings the core of Guido’s crisis to audiences up-close in Sunset Playhouse’s intimate Studio Theater.

Based on Italian director Federico Fellini’s comic masterpiece of biographical filmmaking, “8 1⁄2”, Yeston’s sultry musical follows the life of world-famous film director Guido Contini as he prepares his latest picture. Contini is also, after recent box office failures, drifting towards a nervous breakdown. Contini has turned 40 and faces two crises: he has to shoot a film for which he can’t write the script, and his wife of 20 years, film star Luisa del Forno, may leave him if he can’t pay more attention to his marriage. As it turns out, it is the same crisis. Luisa’s efforts to talk to him seem to be drowned out by voices in his head: voices of women in his life, speaking through the walls of his memory: insistent, flirtatious, irresistible, potent. These are the women Guido loved, and from whom he derived the entire vitality of a creative life, now as stalled as his marriage. As his sanity disintegrates, he drifts into nostalgic reverie, eventually focusing on the formative sexual encounter of his life, which occurred at the age of 9.

Dates (three performances only): Friday, January 25 at 7:30 PM Saturday, January 26 at 7:30 PM

Sunday, January 27 at 2:00 PM

Tickets: $20 General Admission
Order online at https://sunsetplayhouse.com/shows/nine or by calling 262-782-4430

Location: Sunset Playhouse Studio Theater, 700 Wall Street, Elm Grove, WI 53122

Stage Direction:

Music Direction:

Choreography:

Eric Welch

Lydia Rose Eiche

Ashley Patin

Featuring:

Timothy J. Barnes as Guido

Marcee Doherty-Elst as Serraghina

Jennifer Larson as Mama Maddelena

Rae Elizabeth Paré as Luisa

SaraLynn Evenson as Lilliane Le Fleur 

Hannah Esch as Our Lady of the Spa

Samantha Sostarich as Carla

Laura McDonald as Guido’s Mother

Carrie Gray as Lina Darling

Kara Ernst-Schalk as Claudia

Marcee Doherty-Elst as Stephanie

 

About NINE

NINE is a musical, initially created and written by Maury Yeston as a class-project in Lehman Engel’s BMI Music Theatre Workshop in 1973. It was later developed with a book by Mario Fratti, and then again with a book by Arthur Kopit, music and lyrics by Maury Yeston. The story is based also on Frederico Fellini’s semi- autobiographical film 81⁄2. It focuses on film director Guido Contini, who is dreading his imminent 40th birthday and facing a mid-life crisis, which is blocking his creative impulses and entangling him in a web of romantic difficulties in early 1960s Venice.

The original Broadway production opened in 1982 and ran for 729 performances, and starred Raul Julia. The musical won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical and has enjoyed a number of revivals. The 2003 Broadway revival featured a star-studded cast: Antonio Banderas, Mary Stuart Masterson, Chita Rivera, Jane Krakwoski and Laura Benanti, and won 2 Tony Awards itself, including Best Revival of a Musical and Best Supporting Actress in a Musical (Jane Krakowski).

The movie [81⁄2] has a phenomenal impact on me when I saw it as a teenager when it first came out. I was fascinated with Guido who was going through his second adolescence when I was going through my first! As I grew I began to realize that there was room to explore the reacting of the inner workings of the women in Guido’s wake…I think that’s what opened the gateways of creativity for NINE – to hear from these extraordinary women.

– Maury Yeston to the New York Times

About the Title

Fellini entitled his film 8 1⁄2 in recognition of his prior body of work, which included six full-length films, two short films, and one that he co-directed. Yeston’s title for the musical adaptation adds another half-credit to Fellini’s output and refers to Guido’s age during his first hallucination sequence. Yeston called the musical NINE, explaining that if you add music to 81⁄2, “it’s like half a number more.”

Getting There

The intimate 88-seat Studio Theater is located at Sunset Playhouse in Elm Grove, WI and is the sister performance space to their larger 299-seat Furlan Auditorium. Sunset Playhouse is in the heart of the Elm Grove shopping district at 700 Wall Street with ample free parking available in their spacious parking lot. Sunset Playhouse is easily acceptable for patrons coming from all corners of the world (even Italy!). Visit https:// sunsetplayhouse.com/contact/map-directions for detailed, localized directions from the West, North, South, and East of Southeastern WI.

About Theater RED: Theater RED produces theater in Southeastern Wisconsin. Each production addresses three founding tenets: Substantial roles for women, growth in craft for artists, and support for new playwrights.

For more information: www.theaterred.com and www.sunsetplayhouse.com Be Italian with Theater RED in January 2019!

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