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Theatre / Nine (Musical)

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I would like to be here.
I would like to be there.
I would like to everywhere at once;
I know that's a contradiction in terms.
And it's a problem,
Especially when
My body's clearing forty
As my mind is nearing ten.
"Guido's Song"

A 1982 musical adaptation of Federico Fellini's classic . Nine was conceived by librettists Arthur Kopit and Mario Fratti, and songwriter Maury Yeston. The story is that of world-famous film writer/director Guido Contini (played by Raúl Juliá in the original Broadway production), a man who's facing a midlife crisis on many fronts as he turns forty. On one hand, he can't come up with a script for his latest film. On another hand, his marriage to his wife Luisa is on shaky ground. Factor in the other women in his life, including his mistress, his confidant and costume designer, his film star muse, and his mother, and Guido's got some issues.

It was adapted into a film in 2009, with the cast consisting of Academy Award winners Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench, and Sophia Loren; Academy Award nominee Kate Hudson, and Fergie.

Not to be confused with the "stitchpunk" animated film 9, which came out three months before Nine's film version was released.

This show and film feature examples of:

  • '20s Bob Haircut: Lili sports one in the film. As the film is set in the 60s, Lili would have been the right age to be The Flapper in the 20s.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Although Saraghina in is a Big Beautiful Woman, she's still meant to be chubby, but she's been played by more slender actresses on stage. Fergie plays her in the film, but did have to gain weight for the role.
    • The film's version of Stephanie Necrophorus turns the older, vitriolic film critic of the musical into a young reporter played by Kate Hudson.
  • Adaptational Nationality:
    • Claudia Nardi in the original show is Italian. In the film, where she's played by the very fair and blonde Nicole Kidman, her last name becomes 'Jenssen' - implying she is Dutch or German.
    • Stephanie is Italian in the original musical, but becomes an American in the film.
    • Luisa is Italian but becomes French in the movie to accommodate Marion Cotillard (though she's said to have Italian ancestry).
  • Adaptational Personality Change: In the musical, Stephanie Necrophorous is something of a Caustic Critic , whereas in the film she's just another of Guido's admirers.
  • Age Lift: For the film version, Guido's age was changed to fifty. (Daniel Day-Lewis was 52 in 2009, when the film was released.)
  • All Musicals Are Adaptations: The original musical is itself an adaptation of Fellini's .
  • All Take and No Give: Guido. As put in the song "Take It All".
    "You're just an appetite. And if you'd stop being greedy you'd die."
  • Beard of Sorrow: In the film, Guido grows one after his film fails and Luisa leaves him. He claims it's so he can go about without being recognised.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • In the 2003 revival, Luisa embraces Guido just as the curtain falls.
    • In the film version, Luisa sneaks onto the set and hides in the shadows as Guido makes his newest film.
  • Brownface: Daniel Day Lewis wears a hint of a tan to portray an Italian filmmaker.
  • Break-Up Song: From the stage version, "Simple" (Carla) and "Be on Your Own" (Luisa).
  • BSoD Song: "I Can't Make This Movie."
  • The Casanova: Deconstructed (although Guido is definitely more in the Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places category) and lampshaded with Guido's film, a filmed opera version about the Trope Namer starring Guido himself that resembles Guido's own life a little too closely.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: "My Husband Makes Movies" starts out as an upbeat number about how Luisa is proud of her husband's success. It quickly becomes very sombre as we see how their marriage is in shambles.
  • Coming of Age Story: As Guido turns forty, he looks back on his life and realizes it's finally time to grow up.
  • Composite Character: Stephanie, the American reporter in the film version, is a composite of the associate producer Stephanie Necrophrous and reporter Lina Darling from the musical.
  • Cool Old Lady: Liliane, having been the vedette of the Paris Folies Bergeres and, in the film, the costume designer, who's also the Only Sane Man and the only person who both encourages Guido and calls him out on his stupidity.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In the musical, Stephanie is this in spades, and to an extent so is Liliane.
  • Defiant Strip: At the end of the "Take It All" number, Luisa gradually strips off to symbolise how her husband has taken everything from her. The end of the song has her ripping her bra open, which coincides with her breaking it off with him in real life.
  • Downer Ending: Guido's film, and his marriage, both die.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Guido nearly ends his life after his midlife crisis overwhelms him, but he is stopped by his nine-year-old self. This is absent in the film version.
    • In the film version, it is Carla who nearly ends her life after Guido rejects her.
  • The Eleven O'Clock Number: "Getting Tall"
  • Epic Movie: In-universe, Casanova (in the musical)/Italia (in the film) seems to be that kind of movie.
  • Establishing Character Moment: At the beginning of the musical, Guido is shown with Luisa, who is trying to tell him about a meeting she had with an old friend of hers. He's not listening and drifts off into fantasizing the opening number "Overture delle Donne".
  • Even the Girls Want Her: If you weren't a fan of Penelope Cruz before A Call to the Vatican, you will be.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes:
    • Stephanie's portrayal in the movie, given that she's played by Kate Hudson.
    • Claudia as portrayed by Nicole Kidman has this image as well, being a glamorous blonde who is Guido's favourite leading lady.
  • Fan Disservice: In the film during "Take It All", Luisa, portrayed by gorgeous Marion Cotillard, declares her intention to leave him, Guido imagines his wife as a burlesque dancer performing a tantalizing strip-tease while a bunch of callow men catcall and fondle her, all while she tearfully sings of what Guido has reduced her and her self-worth to.
    Luisa: (singing) You had the world, you had your fling!
    You wanted more than everything!
    You got your wish, you got your prize!
    Now take it right between your thighs!
    You grabbed for everything my friend,
    But don't you see that in the end,
    There will be NOTHING left of me!
  • Flat Character: Roger Ebert criticised all the characters in the film for being this. "But that's what they are, stars, because the movie doesn't make them characters".
  • Ghost Song: Technically, anything Mama Contini sings. The film version's "Guarda la Luna" counts especially.
  • Gratuitous French: Liliane in the musical
  • In Name Only: The film's version of Stephanie Necrophorus bears little to no resemblance to her supposed stage counterpart other than her name, being a vapid American reporter rather than a renowned Italian film critic hired by Liliane to assist her with producing Guido's film.
  • "I Want" Song / "I Am" Song: "Guido's Song".
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: "Cinema Italiano" has Stephanie singing about everything she loves in Guido's films. But she only focuses on the superficial aspects, such as the camera angles, costumes and accessories. Word of God is that the song represents journalists who write on subjects they know nothing about.
  • Lingerie Scene: Carla is clad in sexy pink lingerie for "A Call From The Vatican".
  • Male Gaze: There's one rather gratuitous bit in the film where Stephanie is in the dressing rooms before the "Finale" - and the camera tilts down to focus on her ass.
  • Manchild: Guido, by his own admission, has a mentality similar to that of a young boy despite approaching middle age.
  • Maybe Ever After:
    • In the film Luisa is seen sneaking onto the set to watch Guido start shooting. Lili says earlier that she assumes Luisa is seeing someone new but isn't sure - and the last shot of Luisa is her smiling. This leaves it open as to whether she and Guido may reconcile.
    • It's the same case for Carla and her husband. The last we see of her (outside of Guido's imagination) is him taking her back home, implying he knows about the affair. It's left open whether their marriage will survive.
  • Movie Bonus Song: Three of 'em!
    • "Cinema Italiano", a solo for Stephanie Necrophorus, establishing both her character and the popularity of Italian movies in the 1960s for the audience's benefit. (despite the fact she is the exact opposite type of character in the musical)
    • "Guarda la Luna", replacing the show's titular song as the solo for Guido's mother. Based on the "Waltz for Nine" instrumental from the second act.
    • "Take It All", which replaces Luisa's "Be On Your Own", since Yeston believed the latter to be to inactive and stage-y for film. Originally conceived as a trio for her, Carla, and Claudia.
  • Musical World Hypothesis: Rob Marshall's film blends the 'All In Their Head' and 'Adaptation' theories. Each musical number is a manifestation of Guido's inner thoughts and memories. Or else it's a representation of a conversation he's having with someone - namely his dramatic scenes with Claudia and Luisa.
  • The Muse: Each of the women in Guido's life is one to him in some way. In Greek mythology, there were nine muses, which could be what his film title Nine is referring to.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Guido realizes what a jerk he's been, and says the line, when Luisa leaves him and the film dies.
  • N+1 Sequel Title: Or N+1/2 Adaptation Title in this case. This musical is an adaptation of , called such because Federico Fellini directed 6 features and 3 shorts (or "7 and a half" films, counting each short as "half" a film) before it. The musical is counted as a new "half", bringing the total to 9.
  • Oktoberfest: The musical, though set in Italy, provides a taste of this flavor with the number "The Germans At The Spa."
  • Open Shirt Taunt: Rare female example. At the end of the "Take It All" number, Luisa gradually strips off to symbolise how her husband has taken everything from her. The end of the song has her ripping her bra open, which coincides with her breaking it off with him in real life.
  • Oscar Bait: Oh yes, very much so. In fact, take a look at the film's cast: All but two of the film's main stars have won Oscars. That's to say nothing of the Oscar winners and nominees on the crew. In the end, it could only manage four nominations at the Oscars, far less than the thirteen raked in by Chicago seven years earlier.
  • Parental Love Song: Both the tile song in the musical and "Guarda La Luna" in the film, sung by Mama Contini, count as this.
  • Patter Song: "Contini Submits", "The Script", Stephanie Necrophorus' section of "Follies Bergeres".
  • Prima Donna Director: Guido.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Luisa delivers one very powerful one in between lines of her song "Take it All" Thank you...for reminding me I'm not special. You don't even see what you do. Even the moments I think are ours, it's just you working to get what you want... You're just an appetite, and if you stop being greedy you die. You take everything and I'm empty. You know, I'm glad I came. I can see now it's hopeless.
  • Screen-to-Stage Adaptation: And back again with Rob Marshall's film.
  • Shaking Her Hair Loose: Played for Drama actually. We're shown a memory of Luisa and Guido's first meeting, where he took her hair down during a screen test. When she sees him doing the same to another actress in her screen test, it's the last straw for their marriage.
  • Show Within a Show: Guido's film. Casanova in the musical, Italia in the film.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Inverted in the stage musical, where Guido is the only adult male in the cast.
  • Solo Duet: Lampshaded by Guido during his "I Am" Song as he sings how much he'd "like another me to travel along with myself/I would like to be able to sing a duet with myself."
  • Swing Low, Sweet Harriet: In the film, Carla makes use of a swing during "A Call From The Vatican". Given that she's wearing lingerie, fanservice is most definitely intended.
  • Troubled Production: In-universe. The production of Guido's future masterpiece Italia is, to put it very mildly, a living hell: no script, no cast, outrageous sets and costumes, and one crazy director.
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: Luisa's movie song "Take It All" has her stripping off to her underwear (ending in Toplessness from the Back) as she breaks things off with Guido.

Alternative Title(s): Nine