Friday, April 15, 2011

Hollins Production of 'Nine' Another Triumph

Hollins University's production of the Maury Yeston-Arthur Kopit "NINE" brought out a lot of stars tonight and not all of them were on the stage. Ernie Zulia's direction, as always, is simply splendid, pulling professional performances from college kids. Julie Hunsaker's black and white costuming is striking and becomes a character. John Sailer's sets are a thing to behold, a kind of artistic transformers for the theater, accentuating and never inrusive.

But it is the singing of young women like Marry Ellen Apgar, Courtney Gorman, Patrice Lawrence and Emma Sperka and the dominating personnae of the only adult male in the cast, Aaron Farr of Lynchburg College, that is simply captivating and draws instant comparison to professional theater.

Zulia was recently named the recipient of the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge's Perry F. Kendig Award for Performing Arts and it is just this kind of production that led to the selection--one richly deserved. He consistently pulls solid performances from kids doing extremely difficult work, which "NINE" is.

The 1980s Broadway play is an homage to Italian director Federico Fellini (whose semi-autobiographical "8 1/2" is at the heart of "NINE") and it is a complex look at a difficult and masterful artist. You could make the argument that this work should be left to the professionals, but after seeing the Hollins production, you get the distinct feeling that in this case it was.

The play is drawing large crowds and it runs 7:30 p.m. Tomorrow and finishes with a matinee Sunday. Tickets are $10 and can be bought here.

1 comment:

  1. I saw Nine tonight! The songs, the dancing, the costumes, the laughs, the tears! Eccellente!!!