MALE characters are generally predominant in musicals, so it’s not surprising that 9 to 5: The Musical, which has women who work in the head office of a major international company as its central characters, has been a hit – with men as well as women.
The musical, which premiered in Los Angeles in 2008, has songs with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton. It is based on the popular 1980 film comedy 9 to 5, for which Parton, then in her early 20s, wrote the title song, as well as playing one of the three main women, who come together to try to improve their workplace situations.
Newcastle’s first production of 9 to 5: The Musical, which is being staged by Theatre on Brunker at St Stephen’s Hall in Adamstown from November 2 to 24, sold out three weeks before its opening. The show’s reputation also led to many people auditioning, with the cast including well regarded performers and rising young actors.
The show’s director, Drew Pittman, recommended it to Theatre on Brunker after seeing a televised version of its Broadway production. He said that it will showcase the stage talent that Newcastle has.
The three main characters are: Violet (played by Emily Price), a single mother, who is the company’s head secretary and administrative assistant to executive Franklin Hart Jr (Jason King), a notorious chauvinist; Doralee (Megan Connelly), a young, sexy spitfire in Hart’s office who shows that there is more to a woman than her looks; and Judy (Georgia Taylor), the new girl at the firm who has been deserted by her husband and initially feels insecure.
Emily Price sees Violet as a tough and no-nonsense person who feels undervalued. Dorelee was Dolly Parton’s role in the film and Megan Connelly finds her a bit like Parton by being outlandish at times. And while Dorelee has a steady, loving relationship at home, she isn’t treated that way by the males in the office. Georgia Taylor views Judy as old-fashioned because she had stayed at home, doing everything for her husband until he left her, and is now trying to find value in herself.
Other key roles in the large cast are played by Michelle Peterson, Beau Berghan, Aaron Churchill, Jon Murphy, Kane Kaiser, Amanda Woolford, Brian Wark, Micaela Phillips, Kylie Trigg, and Cameron Moylan. Musical direction is by Kieran Peter Norman and choreography by Sandy Aldred and Silvia Flores.
9 to 5: The Musical has dinner-and-show performances on Friday and Saturday at 7pm, from November 2 to 24 ($45), and show only matinees on Sundays, November 11 and 18 (tickets $22). Ring 4956 1263 to find out if there have been any booking cancellations.
THIS show is subtitled A Musical Within a Comedy, and in this production it is certainly a very amusing and engaging mix of the two forms of theatre.
It begins with an old fellow, The Man in the Chair, gushingly explaining why he likes recordings of musical shows from his early life as he gets ready to listen to a vinyl recording of a 1928 production, The Drowsy Chaperone, and, while he talks, an elaborate set appears and then performers in colourful garb from that era.
The staging team, headed by director Robert Stuart, made this one of the most delightful musical comedies that I have seen. Theo Rule’s chair man is a treasure, with a scene in which he mistakenly puts on a recording of the second act of a very different musical, so that the performers come on stage in exotic clothes, having the audience laughing very loudly.
All the performances are splendid, with Rachelle Schmidt Adnum’s title character having a champagne glass in her hand for much of the time as the characters get ready for the marriage of an oil millionaire and an elegant showgirl.
Tyran Stig’s groom, Robert Martin, brings the house down when he has to skate blindfolded, and Zoe Walker’s bride, Janet, amusingly shows how being a stage star has led to a loss of reality.
The other leading players likewise make their larger-than-life characters decidedly over the top.
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