What a way to make a livin’
9 to 5: The Musical
Sacramento, CA 95818
The musical 9 to 5 is very much a product of its time. The play, based on a movie that was inspired by a song by Dolly Parton, is about nascent feminism growing out of frustration among secretaries in a late-1970s office run by a “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.”
While it may not be hard to imagine such a boss today, it’s hard not to think: human resources, discrimination, and lawsuit instead of kidnapping and fatal accident.
Director Bob Baxter had a daunting task bringing the play to his stage. There are numerous scene changes requiring quick shifts from various sites within the office, as well as a couple home locations. While set designer Ralph Phillips created rolling pieces that work, they are clunky. There are 27 members in the cast—an exceptionally large number to move nimbly about the stage, although choreographer Darryl Strohl does it pretty well. The company’s sound system continues to be contrary.
All this is piled atop the show’s datedness. Do younger audience members even recognize a typewriter?
Still, it has good music—including the Parton-penned title tune and another big hit for the star, “Backwoods Barbie.” Curiously, casting roles so strongly associated with their film originators (Parton, Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Dabney Coleman) doesn’t seem to have been a problem. Cassie March, Ruth Phillips, Andrea St. Clair and Tevye Ditter acquit themselves well throughout.