Dolly Parton Fans will Love this Musical
Reviewed by Mary Alderson
Back in 1980, a women’s lib movie came out – 9 to 5, starring Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, three workplace secretaries who had finally had enough of their “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” boss. The musical version of the popular film is now making the rounds in 2022. Sadly, it’s 42 years later, and women are still forced to deal with those male bosses in the workplace.
But 9 to 5 The Musical, now on stage at Port Hope’s Capitol Theatre, makes that stressful workplace a whole lotta fun! This is a show that any Dolly Parton fan will adore, and who doesn’t love Dolly? She’s a talented singer-songwriter who generously supports many charities, and in fact, all of us with Moderna vaccines should be grateful for her contribution to research. The songs in this musical are Dolly’s typical story-telling style, which work perfectly, some are touching, most are funny.
So for fans of Dolly Parton, and fans of fair, equitable, and safe workplaces, this show is a hit.
The boss is a male chauvinist pig, harassing all the women in the office, making their lives miserable, while taking unfair advantage of his position of power. Finally three employees team up: Doralee (the Dolly Parton character played by Kelly Holiff), Violet (Julie Juhas) and Judy (Krystal Chance). They neutralize the boss, so to speak, and make many improvements to the company. But it’s not without great risks. You will have to see the show to learn how they survive.
As the sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot boss, Andrew Scanlon is perfect. He gives off that conceited air where the ‘girls’ in his office are nothing more than his property.
Also well cast are the three ladies: Holiff gives us an excellent Dolly Parton impression, with her looks, southern accent, and powerful singing voice. Juhas is perfect as the widow Violet. She has the necessary comedic timing, but also touches us when we see her struggling with her lot in life. Chance’s Judy has to return to the workforce when her husband leaves her for a 19 year old. Chance brings the sweet and shy Judy on a very believable journey to becoming a strong, independent woman.
Stealing her scenes is Gabi Epstein playing Roz, the boss’s personal secretary, who is smitten with him. Roz also spies on the other employees and reports back to the boss, but her love remains unrequited. Epstein is hilarious in the role, pulling a pencil out of her hair and waving it menacingly at her fellow employees.
Each of the women has a powerful voice and each are given time to shine in song. Juhas’s “Around Here”, and Holiff’s “Backwoods Barbie” are audience favourites, and Chance’s “Get Out and Stay Out” demonstrates her growth. Epstein offers a twist on the title song, singing “5 to 9”.
The entire cast joins in great choreography, singing and dancing to the Dolly Parton songs. Dancing is high energy with every character contributing to the story. The musicians in the orchestra pit are excellent, too.
The only concern was with the sound system, on the night I saw this show. The amplification cut out on occasion, and sometimes crackled, making it difficult to hear lyrics. As well, the off-stage back-up singers sometimes drowned out the lead singer. Let’s hope those glitches are quickly ironed out.
If you saw the 1980 movie and enjoyed it, you will really like this musical production. If you never saw the movie, then you must see this show. It would be an excellent ladies night out, or bring the men, too – they need to laugh as well. It will feel like you just spent an evening with Dolly Parton having a whole lotta fun!
9 to 5 continues at the Capitol Theatre in Port Hope until September 4. Tickets are available at the box office by calling 905-885-1071 or visiting https://capitoltheatre.com/
Photo: Doralee (Kelly Holiff),Violet (Julie Juhas), and Judy (Krystle Chance) in 9 to 5.
9 to 5
Music and Lyrics by Dolly Parton
Book by Patricia Resnick
Directed by Rob Kempson
Musical Direction by Chris Barillaro
Choreographed by Julie Tomaino
Performed by Julie Juhas, Kelly Holiff, Krystle Chance, Andrew Scanlon, Gabi Epstein, Sofia Contal, Caitlin McKeon, Jenny Weisz, Malinda Carroll, Robbie Fenton, Jonathan Patterson, Tyler Pearse, Dave Comeau, Travae Williams, Madison Hayes Crook.
Capitol Theatre, Port Hope
August 4 to September 4, 2022
Reviewed by Mary Alderson