9 to 5 Takes Care of Business at the Orpheum
As someone who’s only been out of college for a few years, it’s hard for me to imagine the working environment of 1979. If Dolly Parton’s musical “9 to 5” is to be believed, it was a place of soulless rows of desks, indoor smoking, midday whiskey drinking and shameless sexism.
The touring company of the Broadway musical (which is based on the movie of the same name) is at the Orpheum Theatre this week for eight performances.
The audience is ushered into the workweek by a floating videotaped Dolly Parton head that introduces the characters one by one. There’s Violet, the competent head secretary who knows she should be CEO; Judy, the new assistant trying to rebuild her life after her husband runs off with his secretary, “Mindi with an I”; and Doralee, the baby-voiced blonde (clearly based on Parton) who wants to be noticed for more than her looks.
After enduring all sorts of sexual harassment, teasing and really awful jokes from their male coworkers and low-life boss, the women get stoned and hatch a plan to deal with Hart once and for all. It’s not a terribly well-thought out plan, but needless to say, the office runs much more smoothly with Violet, Judy and Doralee at the helm.
By the third time Frank Hart, the skirt chasing boss of 9 to 5’s fictional corporation asks “Is it because I’m a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot?”, you may have to restrain yourself from jumping out of your seat to answer in the affirmative.
The show is fantastically cast. All three of the main actresses were completely charming, but it was Roz, Hart’s lovelorn crone-ish secretary and Margaret, the office lush, who frequently stole the show.
The musical numbers are very clearly Dolly Parton’s work. They’re bawdy, funny and tinged with the same sort of twangy heartbreak as Parton’s greatest hits catalog.
There are still seven performances of “9 to 5” this week. Evening shows start at 7:30 p.m. tonight and tomorrow night, at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and at 7 p.m. on Sunday. There are two matinee shows, one at 2 p.m. on Saturday and one at 1:30 on Sunday. The show runs a quick two hours with one 15 minute intermission.
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