Based on the 1980 film of the same name, 9 to 5, now onstage at North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre and under the always-fun direction and choreography of James Ilsley, tells the story of a trio of women who, in 1979, stand up to their sexist boss with hilarious results.
As the play opens, a giant projection screen is immediately noticeable, and on it, the indomitable Dolly Parton herself, who starred in the original film and is responsible for all of the show’s music and lyrics, offers up a message that effectively sets the time and place of the show.
Immediately, the play launches into a fabulously-frenzied opening number set to the show’s theme, “9 to 5.” This fast-paced number, which is vibrant and full of color, effectively sets the tone for the entire show and for Ilsley’s always-fun directorial style.
All of his undertakings as director thus far have been nothing short of lively, and this super-fun show is no exception, as is evident right from the start. Of course, some of that aforementioned “color” is owed in part to Ashley Lorenz Popio and Stacie Whitley, who, along with Isley, served as costumers for the production. And, wow, the costumes! Full of late 70s style dresses, pops of color, and even a few shoulder pads, the costumes are absolutely to die for.
Also to die-for is AC Donohue’s portrayal of Doralee Rhodes (aka Dolly Parton…basically). She is 100% Dolly Parton down to the voice and the patented giggle, not to mention the charm. Of course, she’s not really being Dolly Parton, just being Dolly Parton’s character in the classic film. And she nails that character, a sexy girl…but one with morals..who doesn’t like being objectified by her pervy boss, Franklin Hart, Jr. (Bill Andrews).
Speaking of Andrews, he is wonderfully slimy and smarmy as Mr. Hart, and Ilsley’s daring (and utterly hilarious) choreography, which features lot of. ..umm….hip pumping only serves to make his character all the more hilarious.
Getting back to the heart of the show, however, the other two lady leads are also fantastic. Mary Beth Hollmann is perfectly business-like and admirable as Violet Newstead, a woman who has all the power and skill it takes to be a CEO but the wrong genitalia. And Mary Reilly is oh-so-sweet and endearing as Judy Bernly, a woman who has been ditched by her husband, trampled over by her boss, and yet is still on her way to finding her inner strength.
While all three of these women (or, according to Violet, “womyn”) have powerhouse voices and shine throughout the entire show, their skill and camaraderie is perhaps best showcased in the sweet and beautiful “I Just Might,” which is very effectively staged by Ilsley. Though this number is excellently done, it’s hard to pick a favorite between that and Donohue’s spot-on rendition of “Backwoods Barbie.”
To reveal too much about how these women overtake their cruel boss would not be fair to first-time viewers, but suffice it to say, in between the fabulous songs, hilarity ensues. Despite the hilarity and chaos of the script, Ilsley’s direction is entirely smooth. Everything runs perfectly and moves quickly. In fact, the show is over long before the audience wants it to be.
There’s really not a criticism to be had here, and anyone who doesn’t have a good time at this show (if such a person exists), just doesn’t know how to have a good time. Bravo!
North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre presents 9 TO 5: THE MUSICAL at 3 p.m. July 12, 8 p.m. July 16-18, 3 p.m. July 19, 8 p.m. July 23-25, and 3 p.m. July 26 at 7713-51 Lead Mine Rd., Raleigh, North Carolina 27615, in the Greystone Village Shopping Center.
TICKETS: $12 Thursday, $20 ($17 students, seniors, active-duty military personnel, and teachers) Friday and Saturday, and $18 ($15 students, seniors, active-duty military personnel, and teachers) Sunday.
BOX OFFICE: 919-866-0228 or http://nract.org/tickets.
SHOW: http://nract.org/upcoming-productions/623-9-to-5 and https://www.facebook.com/events/375914129286295/.
PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.nract.org/, https://www.facebook.com/NRACT, and https://twitter.com/NRACT.
9 to 5 (1980 film): http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/85046/Nine-to-Five/ (Turner Classic Movies page), http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080319/ (Internet Movie Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9_to_5_%28film%29 (Wikipedia).
9 to 5: The Musical (2009 Broadway musical comedy): http://www.9to5themusical.com/ (official website), http://www.mtishows.com/show_detail.asp?showid=000385 (Music Theatre International), http://www.ibdb.com/show.php?id=480315 (Internet Broadway Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9_to_5_%28musical%29 (Wikipedia).
Dolly Parton (music and lyrics): http://dollyparton.com/ (official website), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000573/ (Internet Movie Database), http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=480323 (Internet Broadway Database), https://www.facebook.com/DollyParton (Facebook page), https://twitter.com/dollyparton (Twitter page), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolly_Parton (Wikipedia).
Patricia Resnick (book): http://www.patriciaresnick.com/ (official website), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0720334/ (Internet Movie Database), http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=480322 (Internet Broadway Database), https://www.facebook.com/patriciaresnick9to5 (Facebook page), and https://twitter.com/patriciaresnick (Twitter page).
James Ilsley (director): https://www.facebook.com/jamesilsley (Facebook page) and https://twitter.com/jamesilsley (Twitter page).
Susie Potter is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer and editor. She is a 2009 graduate of Raleigh’s Meredith College, where she majored in English. She holds graduate degrees in teaching and American literature from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. In addition to her work for Triangle Arts and Entertainment, she is an award-winning author of short fiction. Her works have appeared in The Colton Review, Raleigh Quarterly, Broken Plate Magazine, Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley, the Chaffey Review, and Existere. To read all of Susie Potter’s Triangle Arts and Entertainment articles and reviews, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/susie-q/. To read more of her writings, click http://www.susiepotter.com and http://www.myspace.com/susiepotter.