Workin’ woman’s blues

The workplace comedy-musical, featuring songs written by Dolly Parton, pours audiences a strong cup of ambition.

9 to 5 Tour

Cast List:
Dee Hoty 
Diana DeGarmo 
Mamie Parris 
Joseph Mahowald 
Kristin Zbornik 
Jane Blass, Patrick Boyd, Paul Castree, Holly Davis, Janet Dickinson Madeleine Doherty, Marjorie Failoni, Gregg Goodbrod, K.J. Hippensteel, Jesse J.P. Johnson, Michelle Marmolejo, April Nixon, Ryah Nixon, Rick Pessagno, Wayne Schroder, Micah Shepard and Travis Waldschmidt.
Other Credits:
Lyrics by: Dolly Parton
Music by: Dolly Parton
Book by: Patricia Resnick

photo courtesy Ordway Center for Performing Arts

9 to 5 Tour Cast List: Dee Hoty Diana DeGarmo Mamie Parris Joseph Mahowald Kristin Zbornik Jane Blass, Patrick Boyd, Paul Castree, Holly Davis, Janet Dickinson Madeleine Doherty, Marjorie Failoni, Gregg Goodbrod, K.J. Hippensteel, Jesse J.P. Johnson, Michelle Marmolejo, April Nixon, Ryah Nixon, Rick Pessagno, Wayne Schroder, Micah Shepard and Travis Waldschmidt. Other Credits: Lyrics by: Dolly Parton Music by: Dolly Parton Book by: Patricia Resnick

Mark Brenden

 

âÄú9 to 5 the MusicalâÄù

When: Now through July 17, 7:30 p.m. with matinees at 2 p.m. Sat. and Sun.

Where: Ordway Center for the Performing Arts (345 Washington St., St. Paul)

Cost: Range from $27-$75

Who says feminism canâÄôt be fun? âÄú9 to 5,âÄù the touring musical making a stop at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts this week, puts macho pigs in their place with a wink and a smile, all while singing Dolly Parton songs.

ThereâÄôs no doubt that the plot of âÄú9 to 5âÄù is rooted in a sitcom-like cheesiness âÄî three hardworkinâÄô gals living out their fantasy to overthrow their tyrannically masculine boss, abounding with laughs and cheers. But its redeeming factor is in the songs. All penned by Parton herself, the tunes are packed full of PartonâÄôs trademark Dixie charm, and they have a way of winning you over even when the plot points do not.

âÄú[PartonâÄôs music] is a natural fit for the stage if you think about it,âÄù Mamie Parris, who plays Judy Bernly in the production, said. âÄúThe whole point of musical theater is to get to a point in the play where the emotions are so intense that people have to burst into song essentially … Every song tells a story, which is the goal of musical theater.âÄù

The 1980 film starring Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin âÄî the basis of the musical âÄî was a moderately controversial political statement at the time. Consider where feminism was then and where it is now (an entirely different âÄúWaveâÄù-length). Also consider what Jane Fonda represented at the time: a rebellious hippie out to destroy all things pure and holy about conformist culture. But the hard-hitting political statement might seem outdated in the 2011 climate âÄî something that didn’t go lost on the cast and crew..

âÄúFor our purposes, weâÄôre not trying to make such a statement. ItâÄôs more about the entertainment, which I think is appropriate for nowadays,âÄù Parris said.

Having traveled all over the U.S. over the past nine months, the play has garnered mixed reviews. While overall reactions have been encouraging, critics didnâÄôt exactly feel the magic at the productionâÄôs stop in New York.

âÄúI really thought the show got a bad rap in New York City,âÄù James A. Rocco, The OrdwayâÄôs VP of theatrical programming, said. âÄúI thought the show was completely entertaining and buoyant. And it was so filled with Dolly Parton, and just like Dolly Parton it was impossible not to love it.âÄù

While PartonâÄôs girl power ditties are undoubtedly the biggest draw to the play, not far behind are the good tidings it sends you. To see these workplace issues as obsolete and almost old-fashioned actually feels refreshing.  

âÄúIt kinda makes you go, âÄòOh my gosh, if we can tackle these obstacles in 30 years, I should be afraid of nothing,âÄôâÄù Parris said. âÄúItâÄôs really amazing how much the world has changed and how much further we can go, but we have a running start.âÄù