9 to 5: The Musical. Music and lyrics by Dolly Parton. Book by Patricia Resnick and based on the screenplay 9 to 5 by Resnick and Colin Higgins. Directed by Milissa Carey, Foothill Music Theatre, Lohman Theatre, Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos. 650-949-7360 or https://foothill.edu/theatre. March 1 –March 18, 2017
9 to 5: The Musical bursts on to the intimate Lohman Theatre Stage.
9 to 5: The Musical hit the Broadway stage in 2009 and although receiving 15 Drama Desk nominations won only one for Allison Janney playing Violet in the role made famous by Lily Tomlin in the movie on which it is based. The other stars in the movie were Jane Fonda as Judy, Dolly Parton as Doralee and Dabney Coleman as Franklin Hart. The musical never reached the cult status of the movie and has had multiple revisions.
Regardless of the movie/play pedigree, the Foothill Musical group has rounded up a competent but eclectic cast and under the guidance of Milissa Carey offers a likeable community theatre staging that was appreciated by the Sunday matinee audience. The cast is a mixture of local luminaries and students that come in all sizes and shapes with enough enthusiasm for two or three shows.
In one of the four major roles Glenna Murillo becomes the widow Violet with a teenage son. Allie Townsend makes the Dolly Parton role of sexy, bosomy happily married Doralee almost the star of the show. Rachelle Abbey as the recently divorced Judy in the Jane Fonda role blossoms from the mousey, insecure new hire to the strong woman who eventually tells her ex to “Get Out and Stay Out.”
Strong is a perfect adjective to describe the intrepid trio who challenge the injustices heaped on women and low level workers by men in power. Those injustices are as cogent today as they were in the 1970s during the time period of the play. It presages the #MeToo movement but the remedial steps needed to lower the glass ceiling and continue the progress made in the play will not come as easy as kidnapping boss Hart and “hanging him up” while the women run business like a well-oiled machine while correcting injustice.
The songs are not memorable and have mostly the country style associated with Dolly Parton with only one real love song “Heart to Hart.” As sung by Angela Cesena playing Roz the lackey for odious Hart it seems obsequious and unreal.
The intricacies of the convoluted plot become hilarious and even include a “dream sequence” when the intrepid trio have a pot party and display their inner feelings about boss Hart that eventually leads from wishes to action.
The ensemble put their hearts into their performance with energetic generic choreography and solid back-up singing. The music is provided by dual Keyboards, guitar, bass and percussion.
The second act races to a denouement with the CEO of Consolidated, Mr. Tinsworthy (Todd Wright), being a deus ex machina accepting the changes our heroines have accomplished. A real kicker is an epilog showing what has happened 30 years later before the finale of “9 to 5” ends the show that runs 2 hours and 20 minutes.
CAST: Glenna Murillo, Violet Newstead; Ryan Kain, Josh Newstead; AIlie Townsend, Doralee Rhodes; Jorge Diaz, Dwayne Rhodes; Rachelle Abbey, Judy Bernly; Angela Cesena, Roz Keith; Aaron Hurley, Franklin Hart; Adam Cotugno, Joe; Kayvon Kordestani, Margaret Pornerance; Ginny Moore, Kathy; Katie Mazon, Maria Delgado; Greg Lynch, Dick Bernly; Jennifer Martinelli, Missy Hart; Todd Wright, Russell Tinsworthy.
ARTISTIC STAFF: Director, Milissa Carey; Musical Director, Dolores Duran-Cefalu; Stage Manager, Kelcy Campbell; Assistant Stage, Managers, Andrea Garcia, David Chambers; Assistant Director, C.J. Blankenship; Dance Captain, Kayvon Kordestani; Scenic Artist, Raven Anson, David Coffman; Graphic Artist, Jerry Robredo; Props Coordinator, Carla Befera.
Kedar K. Adour, MD
Courtesy of www.theatreworldim2.com.
(l – r) Rachelle Abbey as Judy Bernly, Glenna Murillo as Violet Newstead; Allie Townsend as Doralee Rhodes and Aaron Hurley as Franklin Hart in 9 to 5 The Musical at Foothill College, Lohman Theatre.