Back in 1980, the hit movie known as Nine to Five came out. It introduced Dolly Parton, who is now known as “The Queen of Country Music”, to audiences all over America! The show featured Dolly Parton in the role of Doralee Rhodes, a ditzy country girl, along with her officemates Judy Bernly, a housewife that had been recently dumped and found without any work experience, and Violet Newstead, a widowed office manager, as they work under their “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” of a boss. It was Dolly Parton’s first acting job in a feature film and the fame from that movie helped to increase her already impressive resume. The musical that has come to the Sacramento Community Center is the version that Dolly Parton wrote to be performed on Broadway, luckily for us we don’t have to go all the way to New York to enjoy the performance!
I was able to go to the theater for the premiere of the show. The theater was quite packed with audience members. The lobby of the theater was filled with people excited to see this rendition of the 9 to 5 show performed in front of them. The lobby also had refreshments prepared for anyone that needed a little pick-me-up before heading into the theater to enjoy the performance.
The performances starts off very creatively with a projection of Dolly Parton as she welcomes the audience to the performance. The image goes on to introduce the background story a little as well as the main characters of the play. From the very beginning of the show it’s easy to see that these performers are not amateur high schoolers like the ones back in my home town, but rather professionals. The first dance number is a fantastic combination of upbeat steps and well coordinated movements taking each member across the stage. The music’s invigorating tone gets the blood pumping and I found myself tapping my legs with the thrilling music, enjoying the songs greatly. This high level of professionalism continues throughout the production from the next group performance to the soft, melodic solos that some characters perform. The musical score is just fantastic.
The lighting and the scene shifts are also done very well. In the fashion of most live theatrical productions, during changes in the scenery, the lights dim and music plays as the cast members bring around the props signaling the change in location. 9 to 5 pulls this off very well, with each scene ending dramatically on a cliffhanger, then with the sudden cutting out the lights. The props are masterfully maneuvered into place, before the lights come back on and provide the audience a view of the new setting. Sometimes the lights aren’t even turned off as the cast moves the scenery around in front of the audience, but it is done so that it looks to be a part of the performance! The musical numbers help to captivate the audience while the actors and actresses perform, but also when they go offstage in order to get on a new costume or to shift the scene around.
The production is a very comedic one with many references for the current audience that range from the Nike “Just Do It!” logo to the idea of typewriters being a form of pre-computer. However, enough though there are so many humorous ideas presented within the play, it also deals with very serious issues. The main idea and the very backbone of this entire musical is the role of women in the workplace and their mistreatment for simply being a woman. The message is very clear that women are equal to men and they should be treated as much. It is on this message that the play ends, giving the message that these changes are possible.
9 to 5 is a very enjoyable performance and if you’ve got some free time, you should definitely get out there and go watch it! After the play I interviewed Dolores, one of the audience members, about her thoughts on the musical and she said that it was “The funniest show I’ve ever been to and I’ve been coming for 20 years or more!” Her husband, Robert, said “I thought it was very cleaver psychologically. It showed the fantasies of women of the time and of people getting even.” The show is definitely worth a watch.
The show will be running from March 9th to March 20th with tickets starting at $28 and going to $65. Here’s the website for all the information you need in order to get your tickets now: http://www.californiamusicaltheatre.com/index.cfm?page=109340 Make sure to get them before the 9 to 5 show runs out of here.