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!