Review: Stage 62’s 9 to 5

The non-profit theater company Stage 62’s uplifting rendition of 9 to 5 is up and running at The Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall.

Reviewed by Megan Grabowski

The performance is bright and boisterous, directed by the distinguished Rob James and produced by the accomplished Seth Laidlaw, just what theatergoers need after a lengthy theatrical silence.

Based on the hit 1980’s film 9 to 5, the show focuses on 3 ambitious office secretaries aiming to break through the ‘glass ceiling’ by overthrowing their “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” boss.

Violet (Jess Wittington), Doralee (Cara McClaine) and Judy (Stephanie Ottey) each have a unique story, which brings them to employment at Consolidated Industries, under the watchful eye of the chauvinistic Mr. Hart (Damon Spencer). Alongside a cast of memorable supporting players, office politics, gossip and friendships promote the plot of victimized Violet, Doralee and Judy, through song and dance.

Opening the show is the hit song, “9 to 5”, bringing the full cast on stage for a lively and colorful routine. Costumes reflect the late 70’s, with the women emblazoned in big belts and bold colors. They a nice accompaniment to the large set, also hued in shades of the era, moved seamlessly to create scene changes.

When introduced to his newest employee, Judy, Mr. Hart explains his philosophy on business as “teamwork.” This ideology clearly carries over into the show, bringing together a cast and ensemble of 32 performers driven to entertain.

Highlights from Stage 62’s production include McClaine’s southern charm delivered through her accent and the skill to shift to a strong feminist style, whether by admonishing her boss or during “Backwoods Barbie”.

Wittington’s vocals dazzle in her duet with co-worker Joe (Ian Olson) in “Let Love Grow”, and Ottey nearly steals the show while belting out the lyrics to “Get Out and Stay Out.”

Other notable numbers include the adorable Anna Gergerich as Roz Keith in “Heart to Hart” and the sparkle and glam which opens Act 2 in “One of the Boys”.

Friday evening’s performance was crowded with patrons adding to the synergy on stage. The cast delivered with exceptional enthusiasm. The 9 to 5 music and lyrics, written by country legend Dolly Parton, are witty and satirical.

9 to 5 runs this weekend and next, Thursday through Sunday, Nov.11- Nov. 21, guests must wear a mask and provide proof of vaccination for admittance. For more information visit: https://www.stage62.org/9-to-5.html

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