Music and Lyrics by Dolly Parton
Book by Patricia Resnick
Based on the 20th Century Fox Picture
Directed by Dan Kelley
Broward Stage Door Theatre
Less can be more — and is!
There is no doubt that the small, intimate Stage Door Theater in Coral Springs, Florida lacks the resources of the glitzy Lincolnshire Marriott in Chicago’s northern suburbs, and I was therefore both surprised and delighted to discover that I preferred their smaller, tighter, regional premiere of 9 to 5.
Perhaps it was because the play lends itself better to the focus provided by a typical stage rather than theater in the round. Whatever the reason, this Florida production was a superb, foot-stomping, hand-clapping experience — equal to, if not transcending the famous, highly successful movie. The 1980 film starring Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton became the 20th highest grossing comedy of all time and since then has made the American Film Institute’s list of 100 funniest movies. The equal opportunity, anti-workplace-injustice plot is universal and skillfully handled with great humor.
Credit here must go to the 15-member ensemble, especially to Cindy Pearce as lovelorn secretary Roz Keith, whose every number is a showstopper. What a voice! What an ability to make her large body sensuous and seductive when she bumps and grinds ecstatically for the (unrequited) love of her vicious boss Franklin Hart, played with great verve and macho swagger by Shane R. Tanner.
The big three — the disgruntled secretaries who rebel and ultimately take over Consolidated Industries — are equally talented: Violet Newstead, played by Katie Angell Thomas in the Tomlin role; Judy Bernly, played by Jennifer Hope in the Fonda Role, and Jessica Crilley as Doralee Rhodes in the Parton role.
A highly effective daydreaming sequence captures their thoughts when each imagines ways of doing in the boss: “Dance of Death,” “Cowgirls Revenge” and “Potion Notion.” When revenge moves from theoretical to actual, the long-suffering trio takes matters into their own hands, kidnapping and imprisoning Hart to close Act I with a cliffhanger.
Filled with music (19 songs) and dance, the show blithely covers workplace politics, business economics and even romance. Kudos to director Dan Kelley, and choreographer Chrissi Ardito. Kelley recently commented that the show is “proving to be the biggest seller of Stage Door’s season so far.” Deservedly so!
For a slide preview, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rj4c3Q05lXM&feature=youtu.be
Beverly Friend, Ph.D.
Member, American Theater Critics Assn.
Broward Stage Door Theatre, 8036 W Sample Rd Coral Springs, Fl 33065. 954-344-7765 Tickets $38 (Students $16), 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday through January 19.