By Kat Kramer
Well folks, I attended the star-studded opening night of “9 to 5”- the Musical! presented by Musical Theatre West at Carpenter Performing Arts Center, Long Beach. This hit, 3 time Tony nominated musical, is masterfully directed by Cynthia Ferrer and is based on the classic 1980 workplace comedy film, features music & lyrics by Dolly Parton, with a book by the writer of the movie’s original screenplay, Patricia Resnick.
The movie starred three icons, Parton as Doralee Rhodes, Lily Tomlin as Violet Newstead, and Jane Fonda as Judy Bernly. Fonda also produced the film which was directed by Colin Higgins. Dabney Coleman stamped the role of Franklin Hart, Jr. played by Edward Staudenmayer in the MTW production. This cast is strong and vivacious, featuring Madison Claire Parks as “Doralee,” Daebreon Poiema as “Violet” and Ashley Moniz as “Judy.” The songs are catchy show-tunes, with Dolly’s legendary anthem “9 to 5” opening and closing the show.
Some of my favorites include “I Just Might,” “Shine Like The Sun,” “One Of The Boys,’ “Change It” and the show’s big female empowerment anthem “Get Out And Stay Out.”
One main stand-out in the cast is the hilarious Chelle Denton as “Roz Keith” who is Mr. Hart’s dutiful assistant. Played in the film by Elizabeth Wilson, Roz is the “eyes and ears” of Hart. In the musical, the role is expanded to include more of a character arc, in that Roz is in love and obsessed with Mr. Hart. Denton brings the house down with the clever song “Heart to Hart” in which she claims she is forever “your girl” as she imagines Frank is listening.
Throughout the show, Dolly herself appears in pre-taped video greetings inside the giant clock with the hands set: 9 to 5. She greets the audience with descriptions and a little narration.
The entire show is fun, but never less you forget it’s about female empowerment and equality in the workplace. It’s especially refreshing that it takes place in the corporate world of 1979.
Remember it’s about “corporate sisterhood and workplace revenge.”
The MTW production boasts excellent choreography by Alexis Carra Girbes, and the orchestra is comprised of a 12-piece band by Wilkie Ferguson, III.
The MTW production team offered an ASL interpreted performance on February 17th, 2023.
The pre-party was lots of fun, 1970’s “Flower Power” and country-vibe themed, with a Dolly-wood vibe.
A lively Dolly Tribute Band called “Love Dolly” played her hits “Jolene’ “Two Doors Down’ and of course, “9 to 5.”
There were snacks, sodas, popcorn, Moon Pies and Goo Goo clusters.
You can still catch it until Sunday February 26th!
Check it out at Musical dot Org
Live your dreams…..