TR Robertson …The high energy Dolly Parton musical, “9 to 5”, based on the hit film of the same name, is currently on stage at the historic Spreckels Theatre in downtown San Diego. The musical features 18 songs written by Dolly Parton. It premiered in Los Angeles in September of 2008 at the Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre and opened on Broadway April of 2009 at the Marquis Theatre. It received 15 Drama Desk nominations, winning Outstanding Actress in a Musical for Allison Janney and 4 Tony Award nominations. The musical also won 2 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical Score and Best Choreography. The musical began a National Tour in 2010 in Nashville.
The movie version of the musical is the 20th highest grossing comedy of all time and is #74 on the American Film Institute’s 100 Funniest Movies. It was featured the songs and lyrics of Dolly Parton and a book by Patricia Resnick and screenplay by Resnick and Colin Higgins. The movie starred Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton and Dabney Coleman.
Photos by Ken Jacques
The Spreckels production is under the direction of Cynthia Ferrer with choreography by Tamlyn Shusterman. The 12 member San Diego Musical Theatre Band is under the direction of conductor and musical director Don Le Master. Creating the 1970’s company look was costume designer Janet Pitcher and wig and hair designer Danielle Griffith.
The story of “9 to 5” centers around three female co-workers, working in different parts of a company, but under the “rule” of a sexist and egotistical boss. A series of misadventures will lead the three to become friends and to join forces to kidnap the boss and run the company as they think the company should be run as well as taking out revenge on the boss along the way. The musical comedy touches on a variety of social issues that surfaced during the 1970’s – women’s rights in the workplace, women as management leaders, women’s equality, worker’s rights, changing workplace conveniences for workers. Many of these same concerns are prevalent.
This high energy musical featured three very talented lead actresses who sang and danced a number of the musicals classic hits. Joy Yandell played Violet, a single mom who has been stuck in the same company position for 15 years. Ms. Yandell has played in a number of local theatre productions and received several awards. Allison Spratt Pearce played Judy, the naïve young lady going through a divorce and trying to make it on her own having never worked for a company. Ms. Pearce has many local productions to her credit including several SDMT productions. The third female lead was Karyn Overstreet who plays Doralee, the Dolly Parton look-alike country lady who is the bosses secretary trying to put up with her bosses advances while keeping her job. Ms. Overstreet has been in national tours for a number of plays and musicals as well as television roles. All three of these female leads had powerful, impressive voices that fit their characters perfectly and each was allowed to showcase their voice in a number of songs. Their characters were funny and blended with ease with the large cast, especially the male lead playing the sexist, egotistical, lying, bigot of a boss. This role was played by David S. Humphrey, playing Franklin Hart Jr. Mr. Humphrey has performed throughout Southern California. He brought humor to a man you truly wanted to dislike. An audience favorite was Candi Milo, playing the bosses assistant Roz Keith. Ms. Milo has worked in live theatre, television and voiceover. In one scene, as Roz, in the boss’s office, Ms. Milo was hilarious as she sang and danced to “Heart to Heart”, espousing her love for the boss. The 26 member cast had a number of full cast dance scenes with enthusiastic and entertaining performances.
One of the funniest of the scenes for the show was a series of numbers resulting in the three friends smoking a joint together, which led each of them imagining how they would” do their boss in”. Judy imagines herself as a roaring 20’s seductress where the boss dies in a gangland shooting; Doralee imagines herself as a cowgirl who hogties and brands the boss and Violet imagines herself as a Snow White figure in a fantasy world where the boss is transformed. All three numbers features the large cast in clever dance numbers.
There are a number of memorable songs from this musical. “Backwoods Barbie” is Doralee’s country rendition of a lament of how she feels about who she is in the world. “9 to 5” received both an Oscar and Grammy nomination and won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Song in a Movie. Other popular songs in the musical included “Joy to the Girls”, “Shine Like the Sun”, “One of the Boys”, “Always a Woman”, “Let Love Grow” and “Here for You”.
This musical was funny, had great dance numbers, memorable songs, and a great ensemble and is perfect for an audience of all ages. And will run until February 26th. Tickets for the musical are available by calling 858-560-5740 or go to www.sdmt.org. Next up for the San Diego Musical Theatre will be the musical comedy “First Date” at the Horton Grand Theatre beginning March 31st followed by the musical classic “Damn Yankees” at the Historic Spreckels Theatre beginning on June 2nd.