July 12, 2013 – Nine – The Musical

A neatly tucked away theater in the heart of Los Angeles theater district, with plenty of wine and food on tap, this place is a gem among gems. At Doma Theater Company’s Met Theater you are able to bring your drinks and food to your seat, which added to the casual attitude of the theater. The production was sleek and sexy. The entire player’s never missing a beat. There is so much talent, on one small stage. Not without it’s struggles, but all in all Nine is one very powerful romp into Italian cinema.

Nine, the multiple Tony Award-winning musical with book by Arthur Kopit and music and lyrics by Maury Yeston, is based on Federico Fellini’s semi-autobiographical film 8 ½. The Musical is adapted from the movie directed by Ron Marshall; it pretty much follows the 2009 film to a tee. The musical numbers and staging are all reminiscent of this spectacular theatrical release.

The story follows the passion and pitfalls of a very well known Italian film director, having a mid life crisis as well as directors block. His marriage is failing, his mistress is distraught and his former muse is betraying him. He ponders his unraveling life by revisiting the innocence of his childhood at the age of nine. Through a series of dreams and flashbacks he begins to see his past journey as a collusion of regret, love and fidelity. By the time he is ready to fix things all of the women in his life have left him.

The usual pratfalls were not part of this show, instead real falls, around 2 that I could see. One that happened in rehearsal that I did not see, but as they say the show must go on and with the character Claudia it did. Actress Toni Smith fell in rehearsal and fractured her leg, while she was trying to rest on table coming down the stars in the audience, the table gave way and she fell. The theater in general is all about comedy and tragedy, this was an interesting tragedy. Claudia had quite a sparkly cane on stage, with her dark black up to the knee cast, and managed to use her disability to it’s bittersweet best. She did a remarkable job and should really be commended for her courage. There were some other stand out performances; Carla was dead on. With her slinky little body, and fantastic large voice she captures the part that Penelope Cruz played in the memorable movie. Melissa Anjose did a remarkable job playing Luisa Contini, Guido’s wife. In her solo song she was so emotional it took her some time to snap out of that mood. Her stoic character never really breaks; she plays the part with dignity and grace, and lends her marvelous voice to the overall talent of this show. The ensemble did a remarkable job, dancing and strutting with the utmost ease.

The set was simple, but must have been treacherous for the actors, having to bolt down 2 different flights of stairs intermittently during the show. Some traveled with ease others were watching their steps closely. The set never changed, but because it was not a typical proscenium, you as the audience felt very interactive with the show.

The cast was well chosen, and most were very talented: David Michael Trevino Guido Contini, Lovlee Carroll – Carla Albanese, Michelle Holmes – Guido’s Mother, Donovan Baise – Young Guido, Emilia Sotelo – Lilianne La Fleur, Brittany Rodin – Lina Darling/Mama Maddelena, Andrea Arvanigian – Staphanie Necrophorus, Beani Boyd- Our Lady of the Spa, Leslie Marrero – Diana, Ra’Shawn Durell – Francesco/Cardinal, Victor Mercado – Renato, Alan Lee – Alan, Devin Holliman – Maria. And some new NINE cast members to the DOMA family: Melissa Anjose, Luisa Contini, Toni Smith, Claudia Nardi, Liza Baron, Sarraghina/Spa, Amy Garbett, Dancer. Nicely produced and directed by Marco Gomez.

This show is very lively and fun. Enhanced by sultry costumes, and good renditions of Italian, and French accents. For a small production, this show really hits the mark. It is a limited run through August 18, worth every penny for a thrilling night on the town. Culture is hard to come by in Los Angeles people say, but with Doma Therater Company you need look no more. This neighborhood Theater Company will give you a lot of bang for your buck.

Nine The Musical
Doma Theater Company
The Met Theatre
1089 N. Oxford Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90029


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