Jonathan Stahl's NINE is a Ten!
Director of NINE, Jonathan Stahl
I grew up in south central PA in the valley between the north and south mountains. Newville, PA to be exact. I lived in the country and had a very enjoyable upbringing that did not have a lot of urban culture. I went to public school and did high school theatre productions. I played in the band, sang in the choir... I did not start dancing till much later and eventually went away to college for musical theatre -- somewhat against all odds
I was somewhat influenced by Sunday afternoon movie musicals and movies by Shirley Temple. I had a very supportive teacher in middle school who did one small community review who gave me encouragement. In high school, I was mesmerized by the movie ALL THAT JAZZ. I did not see much live theatre, but did go to local regional theatre when the opportunity arose. My own work has been greatly influenced by working with Richard Stafford as his associate the last few years.
In approaching directing NINE, I obviously did as much research as I could... watching the movie 8 1/2, reading up on Fellini, watching his movies, etc. I saw the original production video at Lincoln Center Library as well as the 2002 revival for research. I also have the life experience of also being a man who has reached 40 and knows the intricacies on moving forward in life that can accompany such a milestone.
I have seen the recent movie of NINE. I think Mr. Marshall took on an interesting challenge. It appears as if he tried to merge the movie "8 1/2" with the musical NINE. They are two very separate mediums that do not lend themselves to being merged. I think the movie is cinematically stunning, and there are a few wonderful performances. I enjoyed the movie, but was mostly disappointed with how the "ensemble" of women that are in the musical were handled amongst the medium. The stage version so beautifully gives the audience the opportunity to see how ALL women, from ALL walks of life had affected Guido. The movie just made it look like super models and the likes were his only muse. I think Guido has many muses. I hope our production represents that.
I am not a big "favorites" person. If I had to name a few favorite shows I guess I'd say RAGTIME, FALLSETTOS, INTO THE WOODS, KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN. I have always wanted to play Whizzer in Fallsettos, I loved playing Lumiere in Beauty and Beast, and would like to play the lead in KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMEN.
When I'm not working on a show, I like continuing my education…either as a performer (dance classes, acting classes and the like), or as a student of life. I recently got my undergraduate degree after a 25 year hiatus and thoroughly enjoyed the education I received in doing so. I like traveling, going to the gym and museums. Ironically, I have to remind myself I need to go see shows from time to time. I tend to forget to do that. But when I do go, I always love the theatre.