Theatre UCF, part of the UCF School of Performing Arts, will present Nine by Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit in the UCF Main Stage theater March 19-29.
Nine is the story of a celebrated film director Guido Contini and his attempts to come up with a plot for his next film as he is pursued by hordes of beautiful women, all clamoring to be loved by him and him alone. Flashbacks reveal the substance of his life which will become the material for his next film: a musical version of the Casanova story. The play has also been adapted into a major motion picture.
Senior Ashley Turner plays the role of Guido’s wife Luisa, and speaks to the originality of the production. “This play is nothing like the movie. I hope the audience doesn’t bring in preconceived notions that they are seeing a recreation of it.”
Turner says the play is relatable for college students and older audiences alike. “Luisa loves Guido, but realizes that her marriage is toxic and needs to make a decision about staying with him or doing what is best for herself. And Guido is at a point in his life where he has to change his old ways and adapt to new ideas. He’s having a midlife crisis, but college students are also having to leave old things behind and adjust to a new life. These are ideas that anyone can relate to.”
Nicholas J. Wood, Jr., a Theatre student in his final year of studies, is the assistant director and assistant choreographer. He agrees with Turner that UCF’s production is unique. He says it is sleek, sensual, and bold.
“It is very imaginative. For people who know Nine, this is a different type of production,” he said. “[Director Earl D. Weaver] and I haven’t been trying to copy what happened on Broadway. We’re interpreting this in our own way.
“It’s kind of a voyage between fantasy and reality. From a choreographic standpoint, it was important to have two styles that represented those two worlds. For instance, ‘Folies Bergeres’ is a memory piece for Lilianne LeFleur [Guido’s producer]. It flips between reality and her memories. Her reality is sleek and jazzy and the memories are a glorification of the French showgirl. It’s a show-stopping piece.”
Wood says he is working closely with Weaver. “He offered me the opportunity to be his assistant director for Nine. And the after seeing my work in Kiss of the Spider Woman, he asked me to be the assistant choreographer, as well.”
“Earl is most definitely a mentor. I’m also working on [next fall’s production of] Hair with him. UCF allows you to not just find mentors while at the school, but it helps build relationships with them that will throughout your life.”
School of Visual Arts and Design professor Stephen Schlow will join director Weaver for a post-show discussion on Friday, March 20. This musical contains sexual situations and is not suitable for young audiences.
Production at a glance:
Book by Arthur Kopit, music and lyrics by Maury Yeston
Directed by Earl D. Weaver
March 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28 at 8 p.m.
March 22, 29 at 2 p.m.
$20 standard, $18 senior, $10 student
Main Stage, 4000 Central Florida Blvd., Orlando
For more information about Theatre UCF, visit http://theatre.ucf.edu.