The first thing you are introduced to at the top of 9 TO 5 – The Musical, is the filmed face of Dolly Parton, who tells you what you are about to see. It is a little disconcerting and cartoonish – but once the little circle at the top of the proscenium with her disembodied face goes away– the fun begins. Based on the 1980, 20th Century Fox Picture, 9 TO 5 was originally produced on Broadway in 2009 with Music and Lyrics by Dolly Parton and a book by Patricia Resnick, author of the original screenplay.
The title tune, 9 TO 5 was a gigantic, pop hit when it was originally released and has worn the test of time. It’s still a great tune, a testament to Ms. Parton’s songwriting abilities. There are a few other memorable tunes such as, Backwoods Barbie and Shine Like the Sun, but what really makes the show jump is the great book by Ms. Resnick and the terrific cast.
Amy Bodnar is simply spectacular as Doralee Rhodes, (played by Dolly Parton in the film) the blonde who is not so terribly dumb. Dee Hoty is great as Violet (played by Lily Tomlin in the film) the ever efficient, ever suffering secretary who gets passed over time and time again. Amanda Rose is lovely as Judy, (played by Jane Fonda in the film) the new girl who shakes off the shackles of a lousy husband to gain her independence. And Mary Martello steals the show with her orgasmic interpretation of the song Heart to Hart, an ode to the boss she worships and adores. It is really the chemistry between the three leading ladies that makes this show work so well. Now, of course they need an adversary, and they find one in Paul Schoeffler as the obnoxious, chauvinistic boss, Franklin Hart, Jr. I don’t think it would be possible for Mr. Schoeffler to make his character any more lewd or unctuous. He plays a nasty S.O.B. to the hilt with great relish. Mention should be made of Ben Dibble as the smart, sweet, Joe who is stuck on the older Violet, Paul L. Nolan as the wacky Chairman of the Board, Tinsworthy and Ellie Mooney as Margaret the office lush – who gets a laugh on every one of her entrances and exits.
It’s a funny, upbeat show which posits the theory that everything is better when women rule the world.
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