“Nine,” the Tony Award-winning musical, is the current production on the Wagner College Theatre Main Stage, with the next set of performances scheduled from Nov. 30 through Dec. 3 in the Main Hall auditorium.
“Nine” features a bewitching score by Maury Yeston (“Titanic”) and book by Arthur Kopit as translated and adapted by Mario Fratti.
Based on Italian director Federico Fellini’s comic masterpiece of biographical filmmaking, “8⅓,” Maury Yeston’s sultry and enchanting musical follows the life of world-famous film director Guido Contini as he prepares his latest picture and balances the numerous women in his life. After recent box office failures, Contini is drifting toward a nervous breakdown, from which he is held back only by the support of his wife Luisa. 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.
The award-winning score includes “Be Italian,” “My Husband Makes Movies,” “A Call from the Vatican,” “Unusual Way,” “Folies Bergeres” and “Be On Your Own.”
Making his WCT directing debut is Gregg Wiggans, a directing associate for the award-winning Transport Group.
“Wagner has a noteworthy tradition of providing the theater community with the next generation of great artists,” Wiggans said. “I jumped at the opportunity to get to know the artists of tomorrow, today. I am proud of how this group has come together as an ensemble to set the bar high and, with each choice, strive to achieve it. The courage of these young artists to take risks, fail, get up and try again doesn’t make just good artists; it makes better people.”
Wagner’s production features Matthew Drinkwater (Guido Contini), Sophia Tzougros (Luisa Contini), Isabelle Miller (Carla), Emma Pittman (Claudia Nardi), Santa Claire Hirsch (Liliane La Fleur), Maggie Eley (Sarraghina), Julia Adams (Our Lady of the Spa), Victoria Gitten (Guido’s mother), Hayley Hemminger-Martin (Lina Darling), Dana Kluczyk (Stephanie Necrophorus), Anthony Arpaio (Young Guido 11/16-11/19), Robert Terzino-Torres (Young Guido 11/30-12/3), Kolten Bell (Guido u/s), Miranda Abbott, Gabrielle Baker, Brianna Brice, Bailey Claffey, Emily Cobb, Erin Damers, Sabrina Kalman, Maddie Kendall, Katelyn Norman and Francesca Valeska Litterio.
The production team includes Gregg Wiggans (director), Lauri Young (music director), Carissa Bellando ’04 (choreographer), Anthony Freitas ’13 (scenic design), Jimm Halliday (costume design), Caitlyn Maxwell (hair and makeup design), Vicki Neal (lighting design), Richard Kroth (sound design), Phill Hickox (production manager), Brian T. Sharron (technical director), Annie Fox (assistant director), Anabel Caba (assistant lighting design),and James Collins (production stage manager).
Directed and choreographed by Tommy Tune, “Nine” premiered on Broadway at the 46th Street Theatre (now Richard Rodgers) in 1982, running 890 performances. Winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical, the original cast included Raul Julia, Karen Akers, Liliane Montevecchi. In 2003, Antonio Banderas made his acclaimed Broadway debut playing Guido Contini with Laura Benanti, Tony Award-winner Jane Krakowski, Mary Stuart Masterson and Chita Rivera in the Tony Award-winning revival.
Wagner College Theatre presented “Nine” in 1997, directed by Christopher Catt, with a cast that included Craig Laurie, K.T. Pike, Heather Wagner, Amanda Conn-Levin and Christine Nardone.
Performances of “Nine” are Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Located in Main Hall, the Wagner College Theatre box office can be contacted at (718) 390-3259 or www.wagner.edu/theatre. Box office hours are Monday through Friday, 12 to 4 p.m. Single ticket prices: Thursday evenings, $25-$29; Fridays, Saturdays and matinees, $28-$32; with price ranges for children, senior and adult tickets. Wagner College students attend free with current ID.