Nine to Begin at Bway's O'Neill in February 2003; Banderas Confirmed

News   Nine to Begin at Bway's O'Neill in February 2003; Banderas Confirmed The Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of the musical, Nine, will bow at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in February 2003, a company spokesperson told Playbill On-Line.

The Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of the musical, Nine, will bow at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in February 2003, a company spokesperson told Playbill On-Line.

Also confirmed was the casting of Antonio Banderas in the lead role of Guido. Film actor Banderas ("Spy Kids," "The Mambo Kings") has long been connected with the project, but this is the first official announcement of his involvement. This marks his Broadway debut but not his first singing gig — he sang his own work in the film, "Evita."

Laura Benanti, Nell Campbell, Jane Krakowski, Chita Rivera and Saundra Santiago will play some of the women in Guido's life. The names were reported by Variety, but have not been confirmed by the Roundabout. However, both Krakowski and Benanti have personally affirmed their participation.

Benanti, who will play film actress Claudia, is currently living a Cinderalla story in Broadway's Into the Woods. She won a Tony nomination for her slipper-losing servant girl. Krakowski, who has been cast as mistress Carla, spent much of the '90s in L.A., co-starring in the television show "Ally McBeal." She graced Broadway in Grand Hotel. Santiago, set to play film critic Stephanie, appeared in Chronicle of a Death Foretold and A View from the Bridge. Tony Award-winner Rivera, of course, boasts many Broadway credits, from West Side Story to Bye Bye Birdie to Chicago. This year she will be among the Kennedy Center honorees. She will play Liliane La Fleur, Guido's producer, who has a taste for the "Folies Bergeres." Campbell will fill the role of Saraghina, the lusty wench who teaches the 9-year old Guido how to "Be Italian" with women.

Nine has music and lyrics by Maury Yeston (Titanic) and a book by Arthur Kopit (Indians, Wings). The pair would later pen Phantom, a popular version of the Gaston Leroux yarn set in the Paris Opera House. The Nine script adaptation from the Italian screenplay is by Mario Fratti. Nine first opened at the 46th Street Theatre on May 9, 1982, under the direction of Tommy Tune, who also did the choreography along with Thommie Walsh.

The show was the brainchild of Yeston, who loved the Fellini film, about Guido Contini, a stalled Italian film director experiencing a career crisis. Tune filled the show with dreamlike stage images, establishing his reputation as a musical theatre director driven by arresting visions and stage pictures. Tune also came up with the idea of surrounding the director hero with female characters, making star Raul Julia the only adult male in the show.

Among the women were Karen Akers as Guido's wife, Liliane Montevecchi as his French producer, Shelly Burch as his leading actress and Anita Morris as his mistress, Carla. The buxom Morris owned what was perhaps the most sensational moment in the musical, singing "A Phone Call from the Vatican" in nothing but a lacey body suit.

Nine went on to play 732 performances and win the Tony Award for best musical. The show helped establish Julia as a bankable star.