Friday, September 12, 2008

A cup of ambition...

Well, it wasn't "opening night" and Dolly Parton wasn't in the house (that I know of), but I can't think of a way I'd rather spend 9/11 than in a theater full of people cheering on three secretaries as they get revenge on their "sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot" of a boss. Of course, I'm talking about the rollicking stage musical adaptation of 1980's classic comedy 9 TO 5.With music and lyrics by the enormously talented Dolly Parton and a book by Patricia Resnick (who wrote the film), 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL is a big, bawdy, brassy Broadway-bound musical starring the wonderful Allison Janey (THE WEST WING) in the Lily Tomlin role, the incredible Stephanie J. Block (WICKED) in the Jane Fonda role, the amazing Megan Hilty (also from WICKED) in the Dolly Parton role, and the outrageous Marc Kudisch - channeling Burt Reynolds- in the Dabney Coleman role. The rest of the cast is outstanding, with Kathy Fitzgerald's Roz being a standout.
The story, set in 1979, is basically a very ambitious retelling of the film, with virtually identical dialogue and some new (and funny) jokes thrown in. A few scenes from the film are missing and there are some slight changes in Mr. Hart's story - but otherwise it's a pretty faithful adaptation that should please fans of the film.The music is quite good with several versions of "9 to 5" (with new lyrics) blending seemlessly with some great new show stoppers. Who would have thunk that our little Miss Dolly Parton from Pigeon Forge, Tenn. would one day be churning out showtunes! Is there anything this woman can't do?  "Backwoods Barbie" which debuted on Parton's latest cd is well at home here and new tunes "One of the Boys" (performed by Janney) and "Get Out and Stay Out" (Block) are amazing and "Heart to Hart" (Roz's ode to her boss) is a hoot. You know Dolly was probably tickled to death to write dirty song lyrics!The direction and production design are awesome as well, and the few technical glitches were overcome with some cute ad-libbing from the actors. I'm glad to say the "pot-smoking sequence" is even more fun than in the film. While I'm not a "theater queen" per se (I've never even seen RENT, WICKED, THE PRODUCERS or HAIRSPRAY on stage) - I know a good show when I see one - and 9 TO 5 is a damn good show. If you are in LA now through October 19 - see it, or wait till it hits New York next spring. If you are anywhere else in the world, watch the film, it's still as good as it gets!

7 comments:

EduardO said...

Thanks for the great review, Doug. I'm looking forward to seeing it on October 7th.

John said...

yeah it was great!

tommy said...

Well you were far more positive on it than I was.

jared said...

perfect!...

i'm reading up on Sonseed-gate now!

Frank said...

What?! You've never seen Wicked?!

But anyway, I agree with what you said. It was really a fun show. I could have done without the extraneous love interest/accountant character because that didn't add to the show, in my opinion, but the spirit did stay very true to the wonderful film.

Danny in WeHo said...

iyljtztmAs a L O N G time fan of the movie, I went in with an unavoidable critical eye and had my own critical gripes about the show, but even so, I agree with your review, Doug! The show is, overall, entertaining and fun! The cast is great, the set is stunning and and the costuming is outstanding in its faithfulness to the movie! (Why was I so excited by Violet's smock????)

Tony Z™ said...

I had heard once upon a time that they were doing a 9 to 5 musical. It never even occured to me that Dolly would be writing the songs!! How dense am I?

Now I really, really want to see it. But I probably never will. sob

I wonder if they'll make it into a movie like they did Hairspray?