Rome's Teatro Sistina, the long-time temple of Italian musical theatre, currently hosting the highly successful lavish production of Grease, has recently announced the programme of its 1998-99 season, which includes three popular musicals; Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Tommy and Can Can, a play; William Douglas Home and M. Gilbert Sauvajon's Duck a l'Orange, and a musical comedy; Rugantino.
The theatre management holds great expectations for Rugantino perhaps the most popular comedy ever written by the golden couple of the Italian musical theatre, Pietro Garinei and Sandro Giovannini. The show, whose score by Armando Trovajoli includes many popular songs such as "Roma nun fa' la stupida stasera" ("Rome, Don't Be Stupid Tonight"), has not been seen by Italian audiences for over twenty years. The original production of Rugantino dates back to 1963: many still remember the memorable performances of Nino Manfredi, Lea Massari, Aldo Fabrizi and Bice Valori. Since then, the musical comedy enjoyed a highly successful revival in the mid-Seventies and travelled to America, Canada and Russia. The cast of the 1998 revival of Rugantino will be led by the popular actress Sabrina Ferilli, who recently starred in a revival of Un paio d'ali (A Pair Of Wings), another Garinei and Giovannini hit, and teen-ager idol Valerio Mastandrea. Also featured are Maurizio Mattioli and Simona Marchini. The show will be directed by Pietro Garinei and will have scenes and costumes by Giulio Coltellacci and choreography by Gino Landi. Rugantino will open Dec. 22 and is scheduled to enjoy an open run.
Although Rugantino is likely to become the blockbuster of next season, other important shows are going to play in Rome's Teatro Sistina, starting with the new Italian mounting of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the musical set to premiere next July at Trieste's Operetta Festival, which opens in Rome Sep. 22. Written by Lawrence Kasha, David Landay, Johnny Mercer and Gene De Paul, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers will be directed by Saverio Marconi and will star Raffaele Paganini and pop-singer Tosca. The musical will enjoy a four weeks run thru Oct. 18 and will then move on to Milan's Teatro Nuovo.
Cole Porter's Can Can will start its 1998-99 tour with a four weeks residence in Rome beginning Oct. 20. Produced by Tuttoteatro and directed choreographed by Gino Landi, Can Can stars Mino Bellei in the role of Judge Aristide Forestier and Benedicta Boccoli in the>role of Simone Pistache. Corrado Tedeschi plays Francois and the popular comedian Enrico Beruschi plays Monsieur Dupont. The show features sets by Roberto Comotti, costumes by Antonella Poletti, lighting by Enzo Ghinassi and Italian lyrics by Aldo Malinverni.
The third musical in Teatro Sistina's season is The Who's Tommy, in a new production by Messina's Teatro Della Munizione, whose recent credits include Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita. The show, which will open in Rome Nov. 17, will star Egidio La Gioia and Olivia Cinquemani and will be directed by Massimo Romeo Piparo. Tommy was recently revived in New York and London in a production directed by Des McAnuff and for a certain while it was one of the hottest tickets on Broadway. Although the score is very popular among rock music fans, the show has never hit an Italian stage. The last show in Teatro Sistina season will be William Douglas Home and M. Gilbert Sauvajon's L'Anatra a l'arancia (Duck a l'orange). The play, which will open Apr. 27 1999, will be directed by Patrick Rossi Gastaldi and will star the television star Marco Columbro and the popular actress Barbara De Rossi. The play is very popular among Italian audiences having enjoyed a successful film version in the mid-Seventies which starred Ugo Tognazzi, Monica Vitti and Barbara Bouchet.
Further information on the new Teatro Sistina season is available calling the box office at +39 6 48.26.841 and will shortly be available the Teatro Sistina website.
--By Stefano Curti