Most Southerners have listened to Dolly Parton at some point and are familiar with her song “9 to 5” from the 1980s movie of the same name. Even so, Theatre Macon director Jim Crisp said the response he received to the announcement that Theatre Macon would stage “9 to 5, The Musical” has been better than he ever expected.
“People are really excited about this show,” he said. “The theater version is the exact same story with the exact same characters (as the movie), only in the format of a Broadway musical. Dolly Parton wrote a lot of the songs, and they are great. Dolly Parton’s genius shows through. I wouldn’t classify the music as country, but more of a tuneful Broadway sound.”
Even though the action of the story flows around three women characters working for a domineering and lecherous man, the show, which opens Friday night, is definitely a comedy, taking the characters into some fairly outrageous -- and hilarious -- situations.
“The show looks at some real and serious issues for women in the work place, but they deal with those issues in a very humorous way,” Crisp said. “This piece had a great message to impart about women in the work place and it wasn’t heavy handed; it was fun.
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“Now, it’s interesting to realize that we’ve come a long ways since 1979, but we still have a long ways to go. Some of the issues addressed in this show are still an issue. We look at these issues, but they are second place to the fun stories we are telling. Still, there is a sense of joy about the contributions that women make and will continue to make.”
The show is set in 1979, which he said is a fun era to costume.
“We discovered a ton of stuff in our stock from the ’70s and we will have some really authentic costumes. We all remember the fashion -- and the fashion mistakes -- from the ’70s, but they were fun and colorful. At last half of our cast members weren’t born in 1979 and it’s fun for them to play these characters,” Crisp said.
In addition to Alexis Webb (Doralee), Holly Spires (Violet), Emma Banze (Judy) and Bob Meloche (Franklin Hart), the play has a large cast, which drives the show.
“We do have the four principle characters, but the ensemble as a group is another character in the show and they sing and dance about 70 percent of the show,” he said.
This particular show relies heavily on the skills of many people who never actually appear on stage. Choreographer Colby Marshall-Zampa and musical co-directors Jim Pendorf and Ellen Wilson have put their skills to work teaching the cast the songs and the dance moves.
“They have really outdone themselves,” Crisp said. “The cast looks professional and you would never know some of them can’t dance. Of course, we are always fortunate to have the vocal talents that we have, and we always have actors who, I think, are of professional quality. I think everyone will really enjoy the show.”
“9 to 5, The Musical”
When: 8 p.m. July 10-11, 17-18 and 24-25; 7:30 p.m. July 15-16 and 23; 2:30 p.m. July 12
Where: Theatre Macon, 438 Cherry St.
Cost: $25 adults, $20 seniors, $15 students
Information: 478-746-9485; www.theatremacon.com