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'9 to 5' Brings Broadway to Dayton

Going into the office, unless maybe you work for Dunder Mifflin, has never been as fun as seeing the hilarious musical ‘9 to 5′. Based on the 1980 film, which stars Dolly Parton, the stage version includes 12 new songs written by the country music seamstress. Straight from Broadway, the production was in Dayton at the Schuster Center through February 6.

Though its been over 20 years since I saw the movie, and  I was not yet even old enough to admire Parton for all her assets, I still remember the catchy song ‘9 to 5′. So it’s only fitting that it be turned into a musical. The plot centers around a trio of secretaries who are forced to deal with a chauvinistic, egoistical, disrespectful jerk of a boss. However, the power of the office turns, when after a series of irrational decisions, the boss is held hostage by  the women. The power hungry women feast on their taste of authority and find confidence in themselves.

The leading ladies are as follows: Violet (Dee Hoty), a veteran of the office who is fighting for a promotion but is held down by the ‘boy’s club’. She brings a sense of dignity and leadership to the role. The new girl, Judy (Mamie Parris), who has no idea what she is getting into on her first day on the job. She not only learns how to type but is also introduced to the effects of marijuana in one of the shows most elaborate and laugh-filled scenes. Finally is Doralee, the blond bombshell, played by Diana DeGarmo, the runner-up in the third season of American Idol when Simon, Randy and Paula were still the judges. Doralee is the main object of the boss’s affection, or at least desires, and DeGarmo fills the physical aspects of the role quite nicely, particularly the walk. All pleasantries aside, I did feel the effort was too strong to try and imitate the southern charm of Parton’s accent. At times it was a bit distracting as I became confused on whether or not the character was intended to be the real Dolly Parton. On the other hand, if Doralee is meant to be a replica of Parton, the role she played in the film, then DeGarmo nailed it. See, I told you it’s confusing.

The man responsible for sparking such an uprising from the woman is the dastardly boss Franklin Hart (Joseph Mahowald). He brings the perfect amount of sleaze to the role, causing the audience to root for his demise.

A number of laughs are also earned by Kritine Zbornik as Roz, the office assistant to (and woman who secretly lusts for) Mr. Hart. Her solo of ‘Heart to Hart’, when she frolics around with a picture of her superior, is her….money shot. Special mention also goes to Jane Blass as Margaret, whose presence as the office drunk provides an assortment of one liners to cheer for.

The entire ensemble brings support to the already supreme vocal talents of the cast, and the rendition of the title song ‘9 to 5’ is a glorious sound that will be stuck in my heard for another twenty years. The music is all delightful, lyrics filled with both humor and serious emotion, there is no note hit higher than when Judy performs ‘Get Out and Stay Out’. It’s a shining moment for Parris.

From the cast to the scenery, which gets changed in a seamless motion, it is a first rate performance as Broadway is brought to Dayton. The real Dolly Parton even makes a video appearance to serve as a narrator at the start and close of the show.

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