Last night Alasdair and I were fortunate enough to catch a showing of the limited-engagement performance of the Pipedream Theatre Project Society’s (PTPS) 2010 production of the musical, Nine. Premiering at Performance Works Theatre on Granville Island with a preview screening Wednesday and the opening night yesterday, the show is only running until this Sunday, June 6th, so if you want to get in on the action you need to go NOW! Alasdair and I were fortunate to have a few friends in common, including my high school chum, Brandon Marshall and his husband Mike Aldridge who are also involved with the show volunteering their time on the Board of Directors for PTPS. The show originally debuted on Broadway with the original production directed by none other than Tommy Tune back in 1982 and is still rocking small changes two decades later.
The connection was perfect as we were able to catch up with old friends and enjoy a brilliant show, Directed by Mike Mackenzie, with Musical Direction by Kevin Michael Cripps and Choreography by Meagan Ekeland. The storyline was foreign to me prior to seeing the show, even with the widespread release of the film version late last year. I have to admit I was definitely excited to see a musical and this particular ticket had me brewing with excitement. Broken into two acts, the story follows the life of film maker/director, Guido Contini, played brilliantly by Brian McBride and the tangled web of love he leads and dealing with the milestone of turning forty. Married to the beautiful Luisa played by the exquisite Kathy Fitzpatrick, Guido is torn between her and two other mistresses (whom he claims to passionately love as well); Carla played by Madeleine Suddaby and Claudia played by Britt MacLeod. The cast itself blew me away, consisting of only one male lead surrounded by over 20 women to help carry the tune of the show. A little insider information from our good friend Brandon, we learned that over 100 women auditioned for the separate rolls within the songstress ensemble – and they definitely selected the best of the best.
I have to admit, my two personal favourite numbers were in the first act of the show. Firstly, The Germans at the Spa – a brilliant song enhanced by incredible performances by all the ladies who make up the troop of Germans, complimented by the ladies who made up the ‘staffers’ at the spa. Absolutely spellbinding. The second performance I adored, and probably the highlight of the show was Ti Voglio Bene/Be Italian performed by the breakthrough star of the show (at least in my opinion), Stephanie Liatopoulos in the character of Sarraghina. Literally, this number had me singing along (of course I knew the words after one stanza of the chorus) and was on the edge of my seat with giddiness and smiles. I tried to search for Stephanie after the show to congratulate her on a brilliant performance, but alas, the starlet was swept away before I had the chance.
On the contrary, by no means do I want to detract from the rest of the cast of ladies who did an outstanding job of embodying the different characters (a few of them had multiple characters to play within the show). This was truly an incredible collaboration of ladies (and one gent) brought together to entire an audience from start to finish.
Based on the reaction of the audience in the auditorium with us, I would be hard pressed to say anything other than this show is bound to be an outrageous success and I encourage anyone with a free afternoon or evening this weekend to check it out. For ticket information for this show and all other Pipedream Theatre Project Society news and updates, check our their website; www.pipedream.ca
*All photos in this article were taken by and should be credited to Kristian Guilfoyle.