powered by FreeFind



Detail from cover of OBC Album JS 38325

Musical 2 Acts Book by Arthur Kopit. Music, adaptation and lyrics by Maury Yeston. Based on the film 8.1/2 by Federico Fellini. Adapted from the Italian by Mario Fratti

46th Street Theatre, Broadway - 9 May, 1982 (729 perfs)

A man revisits his past loves in this sumptuous, witty, wise and glamorous musical for a cast of 1 man and twenty-two women.


Guido Contini, a film director in the Fellini mould, has contracted with Liliane La Fleur to write and direct a film, but is unable to come up with a suitable plot. He is also, after recent box office failures, drifting towards a nervous breakdown, from which he is held back only by the support of his wife, Luisa. As his sanity disintegrates, he drifts into nostalgic reverie, eventually focusing on the formative sexual encounter of his life, which occurred at the age of nine. 

He tries to lure the great actress Claudia Nardi into creating yet another version of the character that had launched her career in one of his earliest works, a character derived from Contini's precocious sexual encounters with a whore dressed as a nun. At the same time, he buys his mistress a nun's habit and encourages her to help him relive his childish passion. 

La Fleur decides that the film should be a musical based on the life of Casanova, but Contini's rush into madness, which accelerates when his wife leaves him, throws the production into chaos. In the final scene, Contini has reverted to the personality he had at the age of nine.


Guido Contini, film director
Little Guido, Contini as a child
Luisa Contini, his wife
Carla Albanese, his mistress
Claudia Nardi, his protégée
Guido's mother
Liliane La Fleur, his producer
Lina Darling
Stephanie Necrophorus
Our Lady of the Spa
Mama Maddelena
Sarraghina, a prostitute
Guido's three schoolmates
A nun

His Italian admirers:

Diana, Maria, Francesca, Annabella, Giulietta, Renata and Gondolier

His German admirers:

Olga von Sturm, Heidi von Sturm, Ilsa von Hesse and Gretchen von Krupf

Musical Numbers:

  1. Be Italian
  2. Be On Your Own
  3. The Bells of St Sebastian
  4. A Call From the Vatican
  5. Coda di Guido
  6. Duet
  7. Folies Bergères
  8. The Germans at the Spa
  9. Getting Tall
  10. The Grand Cana;
  11. Guido's Song
  12. I Can't Make This Movie
  13. Long Ago
  14. A Man Like You
  15. My Husband Makes Movies
  16. Nine
  17. Not Since Chaplin
  18. Now's the Moment
  19. Only With You
  20. Overture Delle Donne (Sung overture)
  21. Simple
  22. Spa Music
  23. Ti Voglio Bene
  24. Unusual Way
  25. Waltz From Nine (inst.)


CBS Masterworks - Columbia JS 38325 OBC
TER - CDTER2 1193 - OLC