Nine, the musical running this weekend in Colorado College's Packard Hall, owes its origins to the classic film 8½ and a plot seeped in Jungian theories on the unconscious, archetypes and dreams. It's the story of an acclaimed Italian director who's suffering a creative block and becomes preoccupied with the numerous women in his life.
Though the protagonist, Guido Anselmi, shares unmistakable similarities with the film's director, Federico Fellini, it seems the latter suffered no dearth of creative inspiration when he made the film in 1963. 8½ is regarded by many to be Fellini's best work, a directors' poll conducted by the British Film Institute in 2002 ranked it the third-best film of all time. Maury Yeston's musical adaptation premiered on Broadway in 1982, and garnered five Tony Award wins, including Best Musical.
"I think it's a very accessible piece," says show director and Colorado College vocal instructor Ann Brink, who selected it for her annual all-student production. "I'm surprised it's not done more often."
Apparently, others feel similarly. A film adaptation of the musical-inspired-by-the-film comes to theaters this Christmas, an opening day usually reserved for behemoth blockbusters and Oscar contenders. Daniel Day-Lewis stars as Guido, with Marion Cotillard and Penélope Cruz as his wife and mistress, respectively. And the big names don't end there; half the ensemble is marquee-worthy.
Unfazed by her Hollywood counterpart's dizzying scale, Brink notes that she has "some tremendously talented students" among her 23-member cast. Eric Einstein, a junior psychology major, stars as Guido and calls it a dream part.
"The character is so deep," he says. "He's basically going nuts."
The show's simple set, reminiscent of an orchestral pit, reflects Guido's psychological struggle to, as Einstein puts it, find "cohesion out of the mess."
As for what else the audience can expect, Brink doesn't want to reveal too much: "I like for there to be a little mystery and surprise," she says, but promises "singing, dancing and innuendo aplenty."