More often than not when a hit movie is made into a musical, it is something just this side of tragic (Xanadu, High Fidelity) but there are exceptions to that rule. Hairspray and The Producers, are amazing musicals, and so is 9 to 5. I have to admit that I saw this show a few months ago when American Idol Diana Digarmo was in the role originated by Dolly Parton in the Movie. Her portrayal of the Parton Character was such a horrible caricature of Parton that it completely destroyed the show.
Thankfully, Digarmo is gone, and while you wouldn't think one person could bring down a Broadway show, she did. I told anyone who would listen not to see this show with Digarmo, now I will tell you just the opposite.
First let me tell you that 9 to 5 is in my opinion one of the five funniest movies of all time, so this production had a lot to live up to in my mind, but the book was written by the same woman that wrote the movie and while there were some minor plot changes and additions to create the stage version, all that was glorious about the movie is here including the great one liners like “I have a gun in my purse out there and I can change you from a rooster to a hen with one shot.”
Dolly Parton wrote all the music for this show, and as we all know Dolly is brilliant, and she has written a great score. One of the standouts is “Backwoods Barbie” a song you get the impression is a message Dolly has wanted to share about herself for a very long time.
9 to 5 takes us back in time about thirty years to a time when women were still relegated to the role of secretary in the corporate world. Here three women brought together by their jobs forge an amazing friendship largely based on their hatred for their boss and desire to make their experience from 9 to 5 everyday a better one.
This tour features a great cast with a lot of Broadway credits under their belt. Dee Hoty Leads the cast as Violet Newstead, she is perfectly cast as the level headed leader of the pack. Hoty has more Broadway credits than I could ever list here, and has been nominated for a Tony three times. Her performance of “One of the Guys” is Broadway Brilliance.
Dee Hoty as Violet Newstead
Autumn Guzzardi as Doralee Rhodes makes this character her own, it must be tough to play the role so closely identified with Parton, but Dolly opens and closes this show through the magic of video so we did not need a bad parody of her in between.
Kristine Zbornik is great fun to watch as Roz. Watching her perform “Heart to Hart” about her desire for her boss was worth the price of admission. We got to see a risque side of Roz that was absent in the movie and it gave a humanity to Roz I liked.
I didn't feel the hatred for Franklin Hart, Jr as played by Joseph Mahowald as I did when played by Dabney Coleman in the movie. I didn't feel he was as big of an ass as everyone kept saying he was.
The show stealer here is Mamie Parris as Judy Bernley. She is a star throughout but it is her performance of “Get Out And Stay Out” that gave me chills. This song is the best in the show, and she belts it out! She is amazing.
Mamie Parris, Joseph Mahowald and Dee Hoty. Photo by: Joan Marcus
Nine to 5 The Musical plays Bass Hall in Fort Worth through Sunday. Tickets are $33-$83 and are available at basshall.com. While there take a look at the upcoming season. Season tickets are now on sale, and the line-up is amazing and includes Shrek, White Christmas, Spamalot, Young Frankenstein, Mary Poppins and The Blue Man Group. Special events include an appearance of A Prairie Home Companion, and evenings with Joan Rivers, Carol Burnett, and Louis Black.
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