Bronte Florian chats about StageArts Nine

Bronte Florian has exploded onto the Chapel Street stage in one of the hottest roles in modern theatre – Sarraghina. Led by a pretty killer production team, Bronte and I had a chat to talk all things Nine.

Bronte Florian in Nine | Photo by Belinda Strodder

So what is Nine about?

Bronte: “Nine is a story that explores the mind of troubled creative genius, Guido Contini. With a marriage on the brink and an upcoming film deadline (a film for which he has zero inspiration) Guido reflects upon the women in his life – his loves, his muses, his family – the women who created him and the women who will ultimately provide the inspiration he so desperately needs.”

How was your audition experience?

Bronte: “I loved the audition for this show as it gave me a great taste of what Mikey and the team had planned for this production. In the callback, for example, some of the women were taught part of the tarantella sequence which I now do every night in the show so getting that early glimpse of the style and physicality and energy that Mikey wanted for this role was so beneficial for me to then take in to rehearsals.”

It’s worth mentioning here that “Mikey” is Michael Ralph – the young but sickeningly talented choreographer (Georgy Girl, West Side Story, Avenue Q, So You Think You Can Dance etc). He’s in crazy-high demand and also happens to be the Director/Choreographer of this show.

What makes being a part of this production so exciting?

Bronte: “I get to share the stage every night with thirteen remarkable women – some old friends, some new friends, but all endlessly inspiring and hard working gals who have brought so much strength and depth and complexity to this piece.”

Bronte: “The energy when we’re all together in the space is exhilarating.”

The issue of the lack of women in theatre (on stage and off) has been prevalent for some time now. A show like Nine is a rare nugget in the theatre bucket that enlists a cast of women that far outweighs the cast of men. And ignoring that the show is written by men and this production is led by nearly an all-male production team, it is refreshing to see a whole throng of women take centre stage.

Bronte Florian in Nine | Photo by Belinda Strodder

Bronte: “Our cast of Nine has a total of 14 women. 14 beautiful actors across many ages, backgrounds, experience, and with many different skills on display. So in terms of opportunity and role diversity, this show is a fantastic vehicle for women. What we have to remember though, is that this musical is set in 1960s Italy, and written in the early 1980s by two men – so there’s no denying that there are elements to this story that certainly irk a 2018 feminist Bronte. (I mean, it’s a story about a whole heap of fantastic women – yes – but we’re telling it through Guido’s lens.) There’s an amazing song that Alana Tranter [who plays Guido’s wife – Luisa] performs faultlessly every night which brings me equal pain and pleasure where she really gives Guido what for. So although there are these moments – glimpses of the future of feminism and the power that these women have within them – in the world in which they live, that’s all they are; glimpses. It speaks volumes though that there are these irky moments for us as viewers and actors because it simply is not a world or a circumstance that we will tolerate any longer. There are no “problem free” musicals and I think that as creators and actors it is important to acknowledge these irky moments when watching and creating musicals nowadays.

“It keeps everyone accountable and inevitably leads to growth.”

What has been your biggest challenge with this work?

Bronte: “Be Italian! It’s a monster of a number, vocally and physically. I’ve worked really hard on the piece and I’m so lucky to have been given such wonderful choreography for it – it’s certainly been one of the biggest challenges I’ve come up against in my career so far but I have loved working up this mountain.”


What kind of preparation goes into your routine before a show?

Bronte: “Sarraghina is an earthy woman who leads from her will centre so my prep is all about getting grounded and centred, vocally and physically. I am also barefoot for the entirety of the show so I do about 10 minutes of a slow yoga flow to lengthen and connect with the ground and really get into my feet, and then my main goal is to get that larynx lowered to richen my tone and get my speech quality nice and strong.”

A note from the writer:

I personally am a huge fan of the stage production of Nine, although not of the film adaptation (Rob Marshall should have quite whilst he was ahead with Chicago). Bronte has never seen the film and even she knows “that’s probably for the best!”. I’d like to then take a small opportunity to educate those who have only seen the film (and let’s be honest, possibly hated it), on the merits of the love production. The stage show contains much more humour, some beautiful music (that was viciously cut from the film score and replaced with a tacky excuse for Kate Hudson to sing) and is actually…well…good. Ironically, ‘Be Italian’ is one of, if not the best shot song in the whole film. But it ends about there. The lesson here is: don’t judge a stage show by it’s Hollywood injected film.

Next up for Florian is a trip to Sydney where she will begin preparing for the impending production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which opens on January 5th next year.

Nine The Musical is currently playing at Chapel Off Chapel until November 3.

Bookings via:
or 03 8290 7000
Tickets $49 – $69

Stacey-Louise Camilleri

Stacey-Louise is a seasoned performer, musician, director and choreographer having been involved in a plethora of productions over the years around the State. Stacey-Louise has years of experience lecturing and teaching in schools and Diploma Courses specialising in musical theatre . Currently she is head of voice at a secondary school, teacher at Theatre Blacks and the owner of theatre review website

Stacey-Louise Camilleri

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