Current VPA News

Joseph Whelan

From the streets of Venice to the stages of the Syracuse University Department of Drama comes the classic 1982 Broadway musical "Nine" from Sept. 30 to Oct. 8 in the Archbold Theatre at the Syracuse Stage/SU Drama Complex, 820 E. Genesee St.

Based on Federico Fellini’s film "8 ½," the Tony-winning show tells a tale of Italian film director Guido Contini reaching a boiling point in his career and personal life. Contini, approaching his 40th birthday, struggles with his latest film, which drives him to call on all the women in his life for inspiration – his wife, his mistress, his favorite actress and his producer, to name a few.

While Contini works desperately to finish his film, his relationships with the women in his life continue to tangle, until he must decide whether art or the love of his wife, Luisa, is more important.

This romantic jaunt is sure to appeal to theatre newcomers and experts alike. Themes of creative struggle and inspiration ground a show filled with flights of fancy and imagination.

Tony Salatino, director and choreographer of the Department of Drama production, says that the appeal of "Nine" comes from the musical’s ability to vividly bring to life the balance that an artist must tread – between reality and fantasy, humor and drama.

“'Nine' is about the struggle involved in the creative process, both technical and personal, and the problems artists encounter when expected to deliver a personal and profound work,” he said. “With Guido, there is always an intense public scrutiny, always a tight schedule and an expectation that the new work will be as good if not better than his previous movies.”

Guido Contini, called Guido Anselmi in "8 ½," is an autobiographical representation of Fellini himself and was inspired by the famous director’s own personal crisis as he struggled to understand what his next film would be about. On the verge of giving up, Fellini had a breakthrough as he sat alone on the partially completed set following a party for the film crew.

“It was in that moment that I found the heart of the film I was looking for,” he recalled. “I would tell exactly what was happening to me. I would make it the story of the director who no longer knew what he wanted to make.”

Composer Maury Yeston said Fellini’s film called to him as an artist and young man.

“You have to try to imagine a 17-year-old boy looking at an Italian movie and falling in love with it,” Yeston told the Los Angeles Times. “I really just wanted to grow up and turn that into a musical.”

"Nine" – with music and lyrics by Yeston, book by Arthur Kopit and direction by Tommy Tune – opened on Broadway in 1982 to great critical praise. The show was awarded five Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Score. It has been revived and performed all over the world continuously since its inception and even inspired a 2009 film starring acclaimed actors Daniel Day-Lewis and Marion Cotillard.

Tickets for "Nine" may be purchased at the Syracuse Stage Box Office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by telephone at 315-443-3275 or at