The Musical 9
Based on the seminal 1980 hit movie, 9 to 5 tells a hilarious story of friendship and revenge in the Rolodex era. The musical features a cast of powerhouse actresses with the requisite vocal chops to deliver a sexy, thought-provoking and surprisingly romantic production.
Director-choreographer Jeff Calhoun flirts with wink-wink naughtiness in dialogue and sight gags but sustains a satisfying pace throughout.
Music and Lyrics by Dolly Parton
Whether rewriting Curly Putman’s neo-traditional “Dumb Blonde” or this growling, take-no-BS blow for feminism, Parton’s debut LP proved she was one hell of a songwriter. Even today, this steel-guitar-drenched anthem is enough to get your toes tapping.
Taking a traditional melody and pairing it with lyrics that at first express fragility and despair but ultimately roar with strength, this transformative song reimagined labor equality as a feminist anthem. The frank, unromantic country storytelling has inspired a made-for-TV film, a children’s book and countless memorable covers.
A tribute to her mentor and early duet partner Porter Wagoner, this tearjerking ballad is a testament to Dolly’s artistry at turning a potentially maudlin weeper into an emotionally stirring tribute to loss and memory. This version, complete with a heavenly choir and ad-libbed revisions to the Jimmy Page-Robert Plant lyrics, is pure majesty.
Book by Patricia Resnick
A side-splitting salute to corporate sisterhood and workplace revenge! Based on the iconic 1980 movie, 9 to 5 features brilliant music and lyrics by country legend Dolly Parton and a captivating book written by Patricia Resnick.
Resnick interviewed secretaries at a Los Angeles insurance firm to better understand the dynamics of their friendships and sifted through truth from gossip in order to give her characters a more authentic feel. This approach pays off, with the three leads – Amy Hughes as Violet Newstead, Angela Tims as Judy and Alexa Boehler as sunny Doralee – all having strong and identifiable personalities that distinguish them from their screen counterparts.
The story’s premise of three downtrodden secretaries enlisting help from their male colleague to give their sexist, egotistical and lying boss the comeuppance he deserves may seem dated, but it is still a hilarious fairy tale with enough outrageously over-the-top elements to remain thoroughly enjoyable. Moreover, the lack of subtext gives the actors freedom to focus on their inner feelings and motivations.
Direction by Tommy Tune
At six-foot-seven inches, Broadway legend Tommy Tune may be the tallest tap dancer in history. He has won ten Tony Awards, the National Medal of Arts and his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is an actor, singer, theatre director, producer and choreographer.
His work is infused with a sense of good, liberal humor and unthreatening nostalgia. He combines American songbook standards with dazzling, sexy, high-energy dance. His staging of Busby Berkeley’s cowgirl chorus (with its “hat-ography”) from the 1930 film Whoopee! is a dazzling expansion of the precision number originally created by Russell Markert.
Erin Dubreuil is thrilled to return to MTW after appearing as Carrie in the original Broadway cast of Carrie The Musical. She has also appeared as Nanette in No, No, Nanette, Ariel in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, and has had leading roles in several regional productions. She is a graduate of UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television.
Choreography by Maury Yeston
The musical 9 was based on Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2 and was a major Broadway success in 1982. It was later adapted into the film version of the same name, directed by Rob Marshall and starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Penelope Cruz and Marion Cotillard.
Yeston had been a composer-in-residence at Yale University and had authored two music textbooks published by the university. He was also a professor of music theory and composition at the school, with his scholarly work focusing on the analysis of musical form.
He was brought in during out-of-town tryouts for Tommy Tune’s upcoming musical Grand Hotel to augment the score, written by Robert Wright and George Forrest. He revised many of the songs and wrote five new ones, including a beautiful ballad called December Songs (click to listen). The song cycle was recorded by Andrea Marcovicci for an album that Yeston co-produced, and by Victoria Clark in a full studio cast recording released by RCA Victor.