On Stage: 9 to 5

Dee Hoty as Violet Newstead, Mamie Parris as Judy Bernly and Diana DeGarmo as Doralee Rhodes in "9 to 5: The Musical." Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

I was never a fan of the 1980 movie “9 to 5.” In fact, I’ve tried to block from my memory that entire period of time in which Dolly Parton was the center of pop culture.

So I wasn’t that interested in seeing the musical version. Neither was The Wife, so I figured I’d give it a pass, but then it turned out it was one of Stevie’s favorite movies and she was dying to see the musical, so we bundled up and made our way last night to the Fox Theatre.

Now I remember why I didn’t care for “9 to 5.” First, it’s a message movie/musical and I hate message movies/musicals. The message seems to be “Men are sexist, evil idiots and the world would be better off if women ran things but they can’t because the man is always keeping them down.”  

Now that may be well and true, but I’d rather not spend 2+ hours having that hammered into my head. There’s nothing subtle about “9 to 5.” I prefer my message movies limited to After School Specials.

And then there’s the plot: Three women work at a company run by an evil, sexist bore. One night they go home and smoke dope and share their “kill the boss fantasies.” The next day they accidentally almost poison him. He finds out and threatens to retaliate, but instead they take him at gunpoint back to his house where they tie him up and keep him prisoner for three weeks while they run the company in their image.

Now, I’ve had some bad bosses in my day and I’ve worked in less-than-ideal workplace conditions, but I’ve never thought the solution was to kidnap the boss and hold him prisoner for weeks. When you’re hoping everyone in the show ends up in prison, there’s a problem. The ladies justify their actions by using the time the boss is imprisoned by trying to prove he’s been embezzling from the company. Because, you know, embezzlement is a much greater crime than felony kidnapping.

Not only do the women not pay for their crime, they’re rewarded for it. Yes, I know it’s a comedy and I shouldn’t take it seriously, but it just bugs me.

So, having established I don’t care for the story or the preachy nature of the show, how was “9 to 5: The Musical?” It’s OK. It’s definitely not one of the great musicals but it wasn’t bad. I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised, but I wasn’t.

Aside from the title song, the music (by Parton) is forgettable. The dance choreography is nothing to speak of. The set design was pretty clever. The cast was fine — Diana DeGarmo does an ace impersonation of Dolly Parton, Mamie Parriss showed she could belt out a song with her solo near the end, and Dee Hoty does a nice job holding it all together.

If you liked the movie — and plenty of people did — you would probably like the musical. It’s lightweight, cheesy fun but lacks spark. Stevie will no doubt be along soon in the comments section to offer a counter review.

“9 to 5 The Musical” runs through Feb. 20. http://www.fabulousfox.com/

One response to “On Stage: 9 to 5

  1. I agree, for the most part. It did lack spark. However, I thought the “Backwood Barbie” song was pretty good. It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve seen. It held my attention and I wasn’t bored.

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