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REVIEW: Nine at Augustana College's Brunner Theatre


Before you hustle over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving, I’ve got another recommendation for you to take in this weekend.

On Wednesday evening Director Shelly Cooper of Augustana College allowed me to sit in on the understudy rehearsal of Augie’s current production of the musical Nine with book by Arthur Kopit and music and lyrics by Maury Yeston and is based on the Frederico Fellini film “8 ½.” The original Broadway production opened in 1982, ran for 729 performances, and won five Tony Awards including Best Musical.

The story takes place in 1960’s Italy and revolves around film maker Guido Contini who is dreading his fast approaching fortieth birthday which has him suffering from a severe case of midlife crisis AND writer’s block which is complicated even further by his failing marriage and deteriorating relationship with his mistress and – oh, yes, he also has some Mommy issues. All the women in his life, in a sense, are haunting him as he struggles to write a script for a new film under pressure from the film’s backers. The harder he tries, the more he spirals down a hole of despair.

Guido is NOT a likable character and it’s the women in his life who shine in their strength as they break away from him. Touching songs include “My Husband Makes Movies” sung by his wife, “Unusual Way” by his mistress, and “Nine” by his mother.

I am purposely not naming performers because this was a rehearsal – a rehearsal for the understudies – so there were some things to work out and, if you go, you’ll see different performers than I did. That being said, this avant garde production is well worth your time.

Augustana’s theatre department has cranked out some incredible talent onto the Quad Cities theatre scene and these young performers totally deserve your support.

Nine opened at the Brunner Theatre’s mainstage on Thursday and continues Friday and Saturday, November 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, November 19 at 1:00 p.m.

I’m Chris Hicks…break a leg.