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Thursday, April 23, 2009

9 to 5 will make you smile for two hours

The new musical 9 to 5, based on the popular 1980 movie, made me smile for two solid hours. If you are a fan of the movie (who isn't?), you'll love this show! 

Dolly Parton, who wrote the songs for the new show, came out and the crowd went wild. They stood applauding like crazy, and it was a great way to start the show.

The show is very faithful to the movie, closely following the plot. All of your favorite lines are there, and the audience howled waiting to hear "I'll get my gun and turn you from a rooster to a hen with one shot!".

The acting is terrific, and Megan Hilty was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award for best actress in a musical for her role as Doralee (the Dolly Parton role). She could be Dolly's little sister. She and Stephanie J. Block (Judy Bernly, the Jane Fonda role), who both appeared on Broadway in Wicked, have lovely singing voices shown off to their advantage in Dolly's songs. Block got a huge ovation following her powerhouse song, "Get Out and Stay Out". 

Allison Janney (The West Wing) plays Violet Newstead (the Lily Tomlin role),and she deserves much credit for sharing the stage with two such powerful Broadway musical talents as Hilty and Block. Her comedic timing shines, and her singing blends well with her costars. In her big production number, "One of the Boys", she looks like she is having a blast, and the audience feels that joy.

Marc Kudisch plays the lascivious Franklin Hart Jr., and he makes the iconic Dabney Coleman role his own. His big number, "Always a Woman", which he sings and dances while in chains, is sung like a James Brown song. Kathy Fitzgerald, as Hart's assistant Roz, laments her love for the boss in "Heart to Hart",to the delight of the audience.

The staging is terrific, and it adds a new dimension to the show. Dolly Parton is one of our country's best songwriters, and in her first Broadway attempt, she succeeds once again. The choreography is also nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award, and the ensemble dancers bring an exciting energy to the show. 

I overheard one person say that the show was too faithful to the movie, but I think that is what people in attendance wanted. How could you choose which of the wonderful lines to leave out of the show?  When you add in the clever staging, the new music, the fresh choreography, and the fun performances, "9 to 5" is a show that will delight theatergoers..

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