Before the opening night performance even began, The Bank of America Theatre was graced by two very special guests, the first of which was Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, who was closely followed by country music superstar and multi- Grammy winner Dolly Parton. When he presented her with a certificate naming January 19, Dolly’s birthday, ‘Dolly Parton Day’! the audience was clearly thrilled to be in the presence of such an iconic star, expressing this by singing her ‘Happy Birthday’ as a giant cake was wheeled onto the stage! It was a great way to start off the show and definitely set the tone for the evening. I knew I was in for a one of a kind show!
The musical was written by Parton years ago, and was even turned into a film in 1980, but now a fresh cast brings Dolly’s characters to life as the overworked, underpaid middle class citizens we can all identify with. Award winning director and choreographer Jeff Calhoun directs this new cast, including stars like Dee Hotty (Mamma Mia, Me and My Girl) as Violet, the single mother and under appreciated employee trying to make her way up the corporate ladder, Mamie Parris (Ragtime, Legally Blonde The Musical) as Judy, a newly divorced rookie whose just trying to find herself, and Dianna Degarmo (Hairspray, American Idol Season 3 Runner Up) as Doralee, a characters loosely based on Dolly herself, a spunky southern belle who's out to prove that there’s more to her than a knockout figure and blonde locks.
The story of 9-5 is that of three very colorful and very determined leading ladies. Sympathetic to her seemingly hopeless state, veteran employee Violet decides to take Judy under her wing. From how to work the fax machine to whom she should avoid in ladies room run-ins, Violet shows her the ropes. One of these women Just is instructed to steer clear of is Doralee, who has been falsely rumored to be sleeping with their creepy and underhanded boss, Franklin Hart Junior (Joseph Mahowald, Mulan). Despite their differences, Violet, Judy and Doralee bond over their disdain for Hart and formulate an evil plan that is sure to get hid of him for good, turning the office over to them.
However, in the midst of their what they anticipate to be the perfect scheme, things go terribly awry and an office wide fiasco unfolds!
Memories of your first day on the job are sure to conjure in opening numbers, ‘9-5’ and ‘Around Here’, you’ll laugh along with the girls as they fantasize about doing away with Hart in songs like ‘ I Just Might’ and Judy’s ballad, ‘Get Out, Stay Out’ will tug at your heartstrings.
Have something to look forward to at the end of your workday and don’t pass up this limited time opportunity to spend the night with what is sure to be a nation-wide Broadway hit!
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus