Five Fab Femmes Make “9 to 5″ Fantastic Fun!By admin | May 28th, 2011 | Category: 2008, Entertainment, Fall 2008, Travel | No Comments »
Five Fab Femmes Make “9 to 5″ Fantastic Fun!
Written by Marilyn Anderson
“9 to 5: The Musical,” which opened September 9th at the Ahmanson Theatre, is based on the hit 1980 comedy movie Nine to Five, starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton. Staying true to the original story, the show revolves around three secretaries in a male-dominated company, who decide to get revenge on their tyrannical, misogynistic boss.
The world premiere musical is a dynamic, fun-filled production that comes to life onstage, highlighting the talents of five fabulous ladies. Dolly Parton, who starred in the original movie and also wrote the lead Grammy-winning song, “Nine to Five,” has written both the music and lyrics for the stage version. Parton composed some twenty new songs, everything from rousing production numbers to a romantic ballad. The musical’s book was written by Patricia Resnick, who co-wrote the screenplay for the movie.
Gracing the stage in the current version are three multi-talented lead actresses. Allison Janney, best known for her Emmy award-winning role in TV’s “West Wing,” appears in the part originally played by Lily Tomlin. Janney is perfect as the smart, strong Violet, ringleader of the secretarial pool. She’s both commanding and endearing throughout,whether barking orders in her office clothes, singing and strutting in a white man-tailored suit for a sensational number, “One of the Boys,” or sashaying about in an amusing cartoon sequence where she’s dressed like Snow White. Behind her, the large digital screen shows animated singing bluebirds ala a fairy tale.
Filling Dolly Parton’s shoes (or her bra!) had to be a challenge; but actress Megan Hilty is an ideal fit, contributing her own delightful charm and powerful singing voice. As Doralee, she delivers her fetching femininity with a lilt and a country twang, most notably in the song “Backwoods Barbie.” Rounding out the threesome is Stephanie J. Block, who plays Judy, the office “newbie,” the role originated by Jane Fonda in the movie. Block brings down the house with her song, “Get Out and Stay Out.”
In a supporting role, Kathy Fitzgerald is a hoot as Roz, the office snitch. Her musical number, “5 to 9″ (so named for the hours afterand before work), in which she professes her love for the boss, is a clever and fun switch on the “9 to 5″ theme.
Another standout of the production is the set design. The audience is treated to a myriad of moving sets that contribute to the show’s excitement. Somewhat disappointing, though, is the harness scene with the lecherous boss, Hart, played ably by Marc Kudisch. Similar to the gag in the movie, when revealed on stage, it doesn’t seem quite special enough.
Along with the five fab femmes, three “super” men were instrumental in bringing “9 to 5: The Musical” to the stage: Robert Greenblatt, producer; Joe Mantello, director; and Andy Blankenbuehler, choreographer.
Continuing the recent trend of turning movies into musicals, “9 to 5″ is a natural. Now 28 years after its debut, this farcical fantasy about women in the workplace still works . . . and works wonderfully!
The production is on its way to Broadway, where it is set to open at the Marriott Marquis Theatre in April 2009. My recommendation is to catch the pre-Broadway world premiere in Los Angeles. It runs until October 19th at the Ahmanson Theatre.
“9 to 5: The Musical”
Sept 9 – Oct 19, 2008
Center Theatre Group
Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center
135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012