9 to 5 Review—80s Girl Power Musical is a Delight

 

Alexandra Palkovic and Cast. Courtesy of 9 to 5 and Marriott

 

The Marriott Theatre has a reputation for putting on fun-filled, energetic musical theatre pieces, and their production of 9 to 5 is no exception. Featuring a Tony Award-nominated score by multi-Grammy Award-winner Dolly Parton, 9 to 5 is a hilarious musical adaptation of the 1980’s film about three office workers who rebel against their “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” of a boss.

 

Alexandra Palakovic with James Moye. Courtesy of 9 to 5 and Marriott

 

The show opens with its blockbuster title song, “9 to 5,” and immediately the tone is set for a dynamic, engaging show as brightly-costumed chorus members wheel set pieces onto the stage. The Marriott Theatre always does an excellent job making creative use of their arena stage space, and simply watching the blocking, the choreography, and even the movement of the set is a delight in and of itself. In the opening number, we meet our main characters: Violet (Kelli Cramer), an office veteran and widowed mother who is awaiting a long-overdue promotion; Judy (Susan Moniz), an inexperienced new hire whose husband has recently left her for another woman; and Doralee (Alexandra Palkovic), an attractive Texan secretary who wants to be valued for something besides her looks. Cramer, Moniz, and Palkovic were all excellently cast, and each of them shone in their roles, making the audience root for their characters’ success throughout the show.

 

Kelli Cramer in "One of the Boys." Courtesy of 9 to 5 and Marriott

 

At the office, we meet several more colorful characters, including the boss’ uptight secretary, Roz (Marya Grandy); a wild-haired secretary with a liquor problem, Margaret (Holly Stauder); and Violet’s love interest, a dashing young accountant named Joe (Ben Jacoby). 9 to 5 is definitely an ensemble show, and these minor characters with their often-exaggerated traits add to the already hilarious script. We learn that the office is run strictly by boss Franklin Hart, Jr. (James Moye),who in his first few scenes displays an obsessive lust for Doralee, makes Violet fetch his coffee despite her senior position in the company, and insults Judy for her inexperience as an office worker and for being divorced. Though initially hostile towards Doralee, Violet and Judy bond with her over their hatred of Hart.  In a hilarious, no-holds-barred scene reminiscent of the Broadway stage, each woman fantasizes about how she would get rid of Hart if she had the chance.

 

Alexandra Palkovic, Kelli Cramer, Susan Moniz with James Moye. Courtesy of 9 to 5 and Marriott

 

After Violet accidently puts rat poison in Hart’s coffee and Hart threatens to call the police, the three women decide to keep him tied up in his home until they can dig up enough dirt on Hart to get him fired. Meanwhile, they make some changes around the office, loosening up Hart’s tight rules and creating a happier, more productive work environment. One of my favorite parts of this show, particularly the second act, is how empowering it is to women. Despite having the odds stacked against them, Violet, Judy, and Doralee each prove that a woman can do anything she puts her mind to. One of my favorite songs is “Get Out and Stay Out,” in which the previously quiet and unassertive Judy kicks her emotionally abusive ex-husband out of her life forever. This number was performed powerfully by the talented Susan Moniz.

 

Susan Moniz as Judy Bernly. Courtesy of 9 to 5 and Marriott

 

The story ends happily, of course, with Hart getting his just desserts, and each woman getting what she wanted. This high-energy, girl-power-ridden 80’s romp is a must-see for all musical theatre fans.

Dates and Times:  August 21-October 13. Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 4:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.  

Location: 10 Marriot Drive, Lincolnshire.

Tickets: Ticket prices range from $40 to $48. To reserve tickets, please call the Marriott Theatre Box Office at 847-634-0200.Visit www.MarriottTheatre.com for more information.

Free parking is available at all performances. 

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