Though its been over 20 years since I’ve last seen the movie, “9 to 5,” and was not yet old enough to admire Dolly Parton for all her assets, I still remember the catchy title song. So it’s only fitting that “9 to 5: The Musical,” was created, based on the 1980 film and featuring music written by Parton herself.
The plot centers around a trio of office workers forced to deal with a chauvinistic, egotistical, lying, disrespectful (but hilarious) jerk of a boss. The power is shifted when a series of irrational decisions leaves the boss held captive by the women. The power hungry women feast on their taste of authority and find confidence in themselves, while also improving the atmosphere of their workplace.
The leading ladies are Violet (Mandy Striph), a veteran of the office, who is fighting for a promotion but is held down by the ‘boys club.’ She’s a widowed mother, being constantly pursued by a younger man at work, but is determined to keep her dignity. In the role, Striph not only takes charge of the office but also sets an example of excellence for the rest of the cast to follow with her performance.
The new girl Jody, or Julie…actually Judy (Shannon Remley) has no idea what she’s getting into on her first day at the job. She not only learns how to type, but soon after learns the effects of marijuana in one of the show’s most elaborate and giggle inducing scenes. In the midst of a divorce, Judy is trying to find joy and fulfillment in her life without any Dick. Dick (Chris Kramer) is her ex husband. Her personal growth is highlighted through the song ’Get Out And Stay Out,’ which is masterfully performed by Remley and is a real shining moment. Remley has an enduring charm and is a pleasure to watch.
Last but certainly not least is the blond bombshell Doralee (Leanne Smith), whose the main object of the boss’s affection, or at least desires. Smith fills the…ummm requirements for the role, quite nicely. Her country accent, sweet singing voice, and curly locks all add up to an impressive body of work. She also delivers a memorable line when threatening the boss, which is a little fowl (sic).
The dastardly boss, Mr. Hart (Michael Karraker) is someone that you love to hate. He likes to get a rise from the women and is a very hands-on boss, especially with Doralee. To Karraker’s credit he makes the bigoted character a villain who you want to see suffer. He succeeds at making the unlikable, likable.
A number of laughs is also credited to Roz (Tauren Hugans), the office assistant to Mr. Hart, whom she secretly lusts for. Her solo of ’Heart to Hart,’ when she frolics around with a picture of her superior is her money shot.
The entire ensemble provides support to the already supreme vocal talents of the cast, and the rendition of the title song ’9 to 5’ will keep it stuck in my head for another 20 years. The music is all enjoyable, with the lyrics containing both humor and serious emotion.
From the cast to the scenery, which is transitioned in a seamless motion, it’s a first rate production that I’d rate a Double D in size. Speaking of, Dolly Parton even makes a video appearance to provide some narration to start close the show. Don’t miss ‘9 to 5: The Musical,’ at La Comedia through April 28.
Up next on the La Comedia state will be the most beloved musical of all time, ‘The Sound of Music,’ from May 2 to June 30. Then ‘Peter Pan’ will be the big summer production, which is guaranteed to keep the audience hooked. ‘Peter Pan’ will run July 10 - September 1.
Before every show, you will enjoy La Comedia’s delicious gourmet buffet featuring chef-carves meats and favorites like their famous sweet potato soufflé.
Call (937) 746-4554 or 1 (800) 677-9505 or visit www.lacomedia.com for tickets.