In Maury Yeston's 1982 musical Nine, one can easily recall the song "Folies Bergere", a showstopper performed by the Liliane Montevecchi. This big number was a tribute to the famous Parisian theatre which used to features cabaret and music-hall artists as well as lines of half-naked ballet girls. French legends such as Maurice Chevalier or Josephine Baker made their debuts there.
In the last four years, the real Folies Bergere has dropped the feathers and the sequins to concentrate on musical shows and revues. On Sept. 16, the Folies Bergere will host a French production of Nine and, at last, the song created by Liliane Montevecchi will get its full meaning in this theatre.
Heading the cast will be Jerome Pradon who started his musical career originating the role of Marius in the 1991 production of Boublil and Schonberg's Les Miserables. Pradon then moved to the West End where he played Chris in Miss Saigon, appeared as Courfeyrac at the Tenth Anniversary Concert Performance of Les Miserables at the Royal Albert Hall before creating with great acclaim the role of Guillaume in Boublil and Schonberg's latest musical, Martin Guerre.
No big stars will appear in the female cast and we can only regret the production didn't obtain the services of Montevecchi to reprise her signature role, which won her a Tony Award.
Saverio Marconi, who has directed a lot of musicals in Italy, will direct the show and Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, a succesful French playwright, has adapted Yeston's lyrics. The Fellini Foundation is supporting the project. The theatre will also hold an exhibition of Fellini's drawings in the hall. Nine is based on Fellini's film, 8 1/2. For booking and information, you can visit the Folies Bergere website at http://www.foliesbergere.com.
-- By Stephane Ly-Cuong