BWW Review: NINE at Musical Theatre Southwest
The Tony award winning musical NINE is based on Federico Fellini's semi-autobiographical film 8 ½. Set in 1960's Italy, NINE explores the life of film director Guido Contini as he approaches his 40th birthday. Contini's professional and private lives are crumbling around him as he struggles with coming up with an idea and script for a film that is about to be produced as well as no longer being able to juggle his relationships with his wife, mistress, muse, and various other affairs he has had along the way.
Musical theatre Southwest presents NINE with a sparse stage and minimal set design by Wendie and Mike Cutcher that allow the actors to shine in their roles as the story unfolds. Jonathan Gallegos leads the cast as Contini with ease especially in, "The Overture," where Guido is attempting to literally conduct the women in his life. Gallegos brings a depth to the character and his struggles that allows the audience to sympathize with him. This culminates in "The Belles of Sebastian", a song in which Contini reminisces about his childhood. Courtney Awe is perfectly cast as Luisa Contini, a woman who has given up her life and career for her husband only to find he is unable to remain faithful to her. "Be on Your Own," where Luisa has to decide if she is able to remain married to Guido, is a show-stopping song that nearly had the audience on its feet applauding at the end. The other women in Guido's life, Claudia and Carla, played by Christine Smith and Kir Kipness respectively, both gave memorable and moving performances.
NINE runs from August 3rd- August 28that Musical Theatre Southwest, which is located at 6320 Domingo Rd. NE, Albuquerque NM. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 PM and Sunday at 2:00 PM. General admission is $22 general and $20 for seniors, students and ATG members. Tickets can be purchased at the box office by calling 505-265-9119 or online at www.musicaltheatresw.com.