Saturday, June 13, 2015


When you speak of midlife crisis and facing your lack of immortality, theatrically talking, the musical "Nine" pops into mind.  A pending celebration (or wake) on reaching forty, that definitive age of questioning and self-doubt, causes film director Guido Contini to implode metaphorically an explosion a sexy new little red sports car is not likely to cure.

Ironically this acclaimed musical was initially penned by a young and gifted Maury Yeston as a school project way back in 1973 for the Lehman Engel's BMI Music Theatre Workshop.  As an impressionable teenager Yeston had viewed Frederico Fellini's semi-autobigraphical film "8 1/2" and had recognized himself on the screen.  He identified with Guido's angst on going through adolescence, Yeston's first to Guido's second. As a budding artist stuffed with dreams and hopes, he was obsessed with this older achiever in the arts suffering a crisis of faith..

To enter into this revealing and astonishing glimpse of a man in the throes of self-analysis, go directly to the Westport Community Theatre, 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport weekends until Sunday, June 28. Come meet Guido and his harem of lovers as well as his wife and mother as he attempts to save his marriage to Luisa and also find a sure fire plot for his new movie, especially since he has recently suffered a series of flops.

Bennett Pologe's Guido as an adult and Nicholas Ferreira's role as the nine year old Guido take the audience on an adventure shrewn with love affairs of women currying their favors. The qualities of charisma, ego and enigma are present at a young age and only increase as time passes.  Now Guido reflects back on his youth, with a little help from his mother (Lucia Palmieri)  and acknowledges he is at a crossroads.  His faithful wife of many years Luisa (Beth Bria) has issued an ultimatum:  he must give up his romantic dalliances with other women or she is leaving.

 His feminine collection ( Donna McLaughlin Wyant, Lisa Dahlstrom, Janice Rudolph, Robie Livingstone, Karen Hanley, Stephanie Ficarra, Jodi Maxner and Sarah Hernandez) float in and out of his thoughts, tempting him to be distracted, with seductive choreography designed by Carole Schweid.

Guido's decision to play himself as Casanova, with a current love Claudia (Betsy Simpson) as his muse, seems inspired but she refuses to be his "healing spirit."  Another roadblock is the sudden reappearance of Carla (Josie Bielmeir), armed with new  divorce papers and ready to fall into his waiting embrace. Chaos alternates with passion as Guido discovers there is no separation between his real life and the creative life he yearns to recapture. A pair of young spirtes, Ainsley Dahlstrom and Mia Cenholt -Haulund, offer a lighthearted addition to the cast.  Mark S. Graham makes this intense dramatic and melodramatic play a delight to watch.

For tickets ($28, seniors and students $26), call Westport Community Theatre at 203-226-1983 or online at  Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m., with an additional matinee Saturday, June 27 at 2 p.m.

Take a romp romantically and playfully, with a touch of the devil between the lines, as the younger and older Guido, perhaps still not the wiser, attempt to come to terms with their demons.

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