The acclaimed Italian production of the musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Sette Spose per Sette Fratelli ) has finally made its way to Milan, where it starts an open ended stay at Teatro Nuovo, following a four weeks of sold-out residence at Rome's Teatro Sistina.
The show, which opened last July in Trieste, and received sumptuous reviews on the national press, is directed by Saverio Marconi and features scenes by Aldo De Lorenzo, costumes by Zaira De Vincentiis and choreography by Fabrizio Angiolini.
Seven Brides features a book by Larry Kasha and David Landay, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, music by Gene de Paul, new songs by Al Kasha and Joel Hirshhorn, an Italian translation by Michele Renzullo and new orchestrations by Bruno Moretti. Leading a cast of 24 are pop singer Tosca, actor and dancer Raffaele Paganini and award-winning Manuel Frattini (they both starred in the recent Italian touring production of Singin' in the Rain ). The show is a co-production between Trieste's Teatro Verdi and Tolentino's Compagnia della Rancia (which is also touring with A Chorus Line and Nights of Cabiria , a new all-Italian musical based on the famous film).
Adapted from Stephen Vincent Benet's short story "The Sobbin' Women," which was inspired by Plutach's Rape of the Sabine Women , the show is the stage version of the famous 1954 MGM film, considered by many one of the all-time great movie musicals. Set in 1850s Oregon, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers tells the story of Adam Pontipee, who leaves his six scruffy brothers to the squalor of their farmhouse to go into town in search of a hard-working wife. He finds her in the shape of Milly, and their subsequent life together, during which Milly successfully advises the sextet on how to live and love, makes for an entertaining show. Her first "lesson" is "Goin' Courting," just one of the many musical highlights in Gene De Paul and Johnny Mercer's exuberant score. Others include "Bless Your Beautiful Hide," "Wonderful, Wonderful Day," "When You're in Love," "June Bride" and "Spring, Spring, Spring." All the six virile brothers eventually get their brides by somewhat unconventional methods, after displaying exceptionally brilliant dancing skills in the languorous "Lonesome Polecat" and spectacular "barn-raising" scenes, both carefully redesigned in the stage production.
Despite its world-wide success on the big screen, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers never enjoyed a considerable success on the stage: the 1982 Broadway production directed by Lawrence Kasha closed after only five performances. Four years later, a West End version fared a little better, but never became a blockbuster. Tickets for Seven Brides are available at the Teatro Nuovo box office at 011-39-02-76-00-00-86, 011-39-02-76-00-00-87, 011-39 02-76-00-00-88 and in various agencies in Milan including Music Tour (tel. 011-39-02-86-45-23-36). For further information on Seven Brides visit the Musical che spettacolo! website.
--By Stefano Curti