The first Italian mounting of the musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Sette Spose per Sette Fratelli) will open July 18 at Trieste's Sala Tripcovich, one of the main events in the programme of the city's musical theatre festival.
The show will be directed by Saverio Marconi (a specialist in musical theatre, with a number of hits including Grease, A Chorus Line, Nine, West Side Story) and will feature scenes by Aldo De Lorenzo, costumes by Zaira De Vincentiis and choreography by Fabrizio Angiolini. The stage version of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers 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 (who recently dubbed the Italian version of the cartoon Anastasia), 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.
Adapted from Stephen Vincent Benet's short story The Sobbin' Women, which was inspired by Plutarch's Rape of the Sabine Women, the show is a stage adaptation of the famous 1954 MGM film, considered by many one of the all-time great 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' Co'tin", 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.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers never enjoyed a considerable success on the stage: the 1982 Broadway production directed by Lawrence Kasha closed after five performances. Four years later, a West End version fared a little better, but never became a blockbuster. Director Saverio Marconi recently told PBOL that he is conceiving Seven Brides for Seven Brothers as a nice fairy tale: the show will have many special effects, there will be a live orchestra and a big cast.
Performance schedule for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers will be as follows:
July 18, 22, 23, 24, 28 at 20.30; July 26 at 18.00
Following the short Trieste run, the show will be revived at Rome's Teatro Sistina from Sep. 22 and at Milan's Teatro Nuovo from Nov. 3. Ticket prices for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers in Trieste range from 15.000 to 70.000 Italian lire (8,50 - 40 US dollars). For further information call the box office at +39 40 67.22.500. Postal application is available writing to "Biglietteria del Festival - Teatro G. Verdi, Riva III Novembre, 1 - 34121 Trieste, Italy" or faxing to +39 40 67.22.249. Further information on Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is available visiting the Musical che spettacolo! website.
-- By Stefano Curti