Maury Yeston's NINE
Posted by: wbtpress on Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 12:23:00 pm
Marion Cotillard & Maury Yeston at the 2010 Golden Globes.
In 1973, Maury Yeston, while teaching at Yale, began to write a musical inspired by Federico Fellini's 1963 film 8 1/2 . As a teenager, Yeston had seen the film, about a film director suffering a midlife crisis and a creativity drought, and he was intrigued by its themes. "I looked at the screen and said 'That's me.' I still believed in all the dreams and ideals of what is was to be an artist, and here was a movie about... an artist in trouble. It became an obsession". Yeston called the musical Nine (the age of the director in his flashback), explaining that if you add music to 8½, "it's like half a number more." Playwright, Arthur Kopit wrote the book for the musical. Nine. Opened in 1982 with Raul Julia as Guido, it was a smash hit, winning five Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Score.
Rob Marshall began to think about his film version of Nine about three years ago. From the beginning, the plan was not to make a movie version of Mr. Yeston's musical, a decision with which the composer agreed. "8½," said Mr. Yeston, is "the quintessential film about the making of a film. "Rob did something that's neither Nine nor '8½.' It's an homage to both."
Mr. Yeston wrote three new songs for the film, Kate Hudson, as a Vogue correspondent who believes style is substance, sings a rousing "Cinema Italiano," which artfully explains the appeal of Italy in the mid-'60s, when the new film is set. "Guarda La Luna," sung by Sophia Loren, who plays Guido's mother, summarizes his problem: Do you think that so many will love you as I do? And the powerful "Take It All," sung by Marion Cotillard as Guido's wife, damns him for his infidelity and egocentricity. You grabbed for everything, my friend / But don't you see that in the end / There will be nothing left of me."
According to Show Music magazine, Yeston "has written some of the most formally structured music in recent musical theatre. But he also has the gift for creating ravishing melody – once you've heard 'An Unusual Way' from Nine, 'Love Can't Happen' from Grand Hotel, or 'Home' from Phantom, or any number of other Yeston songs, you'll be hooked."