Fans of the Tony Award-winning Fellini-inspired show are looking forward to the Roundabout Theatre Company's 2003 Broadway revival, and the planned CD re-release — which will offers listeners an expansion of the score compared to the truncated 1982 LP release — is being timed to coincide with the new staging at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre (previews begin in February with a spring opening). Antonio Banderas will star in the lead role of conflicted filmmaker Guido Contini, who is turning 40 as he prepares a new picture on location at an Italian spa.
No release date for the CD has been announced, but the plan right now calls for two CDs of the "complete sessions" in spring 2003, with bonus tracks, a spokesman told Playbill On-Line. (Plans sometimes change in the record industry, of course.) The release is part of the label's Columbia Broadway Masterworks series, which pulls and remasters scores from the vaults of what was formerly the Columbia label.
The original LP release offered a greatly trimmed version of the Tony Award-winning score (the show, the score and the director took the Tony that year). The recording later got a CD release (still available), and more of the score could be heard on a studio recording of a London concert version of the show that starred Jonathan Pryce.
Raul Julia starred in the original staging as the only adult male in the cast — boys were cast to play nine-year-old Guido and his pals, and the rest of company was rounded out by divas such as Liliane Montevecchi, Karen Akers and Anita Morris, as the women in Guido's life. The original LP release did not include the complete version of the fantastical sequence known as "The Grand Canal," nor an introduction to "Unusual Way" called "A Man Like You." Some dance and instrumental music will be new for listeners, and it's thought that bonus tracks of Yeston performing will be added. (The cassette version of the 1982 release had additional material.)
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 1991 version of the Gaston Leroux yarn set in the Paris Opera House. The Nine script adaptation from the Italian screenplay of the Fellini film, "8-1/2" 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. Nine began was early as 1973 as a writer's project in Lehman Engel's BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, the advanced class of which Yeston now moderates in Manhattan.
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 Julia the only adult male in the show.
Nine went on to play 732 performances and win the Tony Award for best musical. The show helped establish Julia as a bankable star, made people regard composer-lyricist Yeston as the next-generation Sondheim (he would later pen songs for Grand Hotel and the music and lyrics for the Tony Award-winning Titanic).
A national touring production of Nine with Sergio Franchi moved the action from an Italian spa to a train station, and faltered on the road.