Nine – Director’s Notes

Nine: The Musical

Nine – Director’s Notes

“The great secret of Nine is that it took 8 1/2 and became an essay on the power of women by answering the question, “What are women to men?” And Nine tells you: they are our mothers, our sisters, our teachers, our temptresses, our judges, our nurses, our wives, our mistresses, our muses.”” – Maury Yeston

“I’ve reached a point in my life where I don’t know which way to turn anymore.”

As I traverse midlife, the themes of personal and creative crisis and struggle that permeate Fellini’s masterpiece 8 ½, upon which Nine is based, are closely relatable. However, contrary to Guido, struggling to bring clarity to his vision, “I am ready”, and very pleased to present our production to you tonight.

 “I would like to have another me to travel along with myself.”

Our concept: Director and actor playing a director and actor, struggling to create and direct a film in which he’s also an actor. Stay with me now. The other actors are cast as characters in the movie in his mind, as well as the women who have informed and shaped his reality, many of whom are actors playing roles in his film – worlds within worlds here.

“I am about to enter a realm I have never dared enter before. Wish me luck!”

As I began this journey into the world(s) of Nine many months ago, I voluntarily entered a surreal, meta-theatrical experiment of life imitating art. But it wasn’t luck I needed. In this story of women in a man’s world, and a man in a world of women, what brought me through was the foresight to surround myself with the most talented, courageous, intelligent, strong, focused, and hard working group of women I could find, as well as one special boy.

To the cast – You are my heroes, you artists who give so much, taking emotional risks, opening your hearts to friends and strangers so that they might laugh, cry, cringe, reflect, love, and perhaps make a deeper human connection with themselves and their fellows. Thank you!

-Adam Sippola, Director


Two new Live Looping videos from Adam Sippola!

Some Live Looping improvisations from performances at The Duluth Playhouse rotunda and The Red Herring Lounge.

My song “Revolution” performed at The Red Herring Lounge in Duluth, Minnesota.

Les Misérables in Duluth

Les Misérables at the DECC, Duluth, MN

“We have become better artists together.” ~Dorothy Danner

Les Misérables at the DECC

Last week we brought the Duluth Playhouse’s production of Les Misérables to the DECC stage in Duluth, MN, after a truly beautiful, intense, absorbing, collaborative, exhausting, and joyous rehearsal process, led by our generous, sweet and brilliantly talented director, Dorothy Danner. With the great Topaz Cooks at her side, and aided by Kate Kulas Beth Gucinski, Robert Gardner, Dirk Meyer, and many other talented designers, crew, musicians, volunteers, too numerous to name, Dottie helped to bring out the best in each and every one of us, in a manner and style that crept up on you with an understated, profound effectiveness.

Les Misérables at the DECC
Ali Littrell Finstrom (Fantine), Jennifer Campbell (Cosette), Adam Sippola (Jean Valjean), and Lucas Pastrana (Marius) in Les Misérables at the DECC in Duluth, MN.

I am deeply grateful for this experience, and while I would love to keep performing the role of Valjean for months to come, and indeed hope to have the opportunity to do so someday, I’m thankful to have been privileged to perform this show with such a devoted group of performers who poured their all into this story each day and night with such artistry, enthusiasm, and unbridled passion. As Dottie once said, “We have become better artists together.”

To those who saw the show, supporting our endeavor, thank you! You made our short run of 4 nights feel much larger, filling Symphony Hall with your applause, laughter and tears.

I hope this type of collaboration continues in Duluth, as it’s easy for patrons and participants to become so focused on one or two arts organizations, that they miss out on the wealth of creativity happening in town in different circles than they’re used to exploring. We need more of this! When we raise each other up, the heavy lifting is easier.