Music & Lyrics Dolly Parton
Book by Patricia Resnick
Directed & Choreographer by Jeff Calhoun
Music Direction by Martyn Axe
Produced by Broadway in Chicago
At the Bank of America Theatre
Musical version of the 1980 hit film falls short on stage.
Dolly Parton’s musical version of her hit film ran for only 148 performances on Broadway in 2009. Now, with five new songs by Parton, 9 to 5, the Musical arrives for a two week run at the Bank of America Theatre as part of the national tour. This is an over produced, over amplified, out of date material (the office of 1979 complete with typewriters!) filled with a pastiche of pop songs with a couple of country tunes. The mostly forgettable score, with the exception of the rousing 9 to 5 opening tune, is a tacky and sometime crude flashback into the female oppressive office culture of the late 1970’s before workers rights and equal pay for equal work.
I guess fans of the film could possibly enjoy 9 to 5, the Musical. I found it a noisy cliche-ridden affair with a weak and out dated book. The story involves a group of females who hate their boss so much that they kidnap him and keep him in chains while they find evidence of his stealing from the company. Along the way, they forge his signature on memos that reform the office rules. There is little consequences for them when their deeds are discovered.
While there were some comical moments, 9 to 5 is a musical. The singing by the three leads was more screaming than singing. Dianna DeGarmo imitates Dolly Parton sans her melodic voice. I couldn’t understand much of the lyrics she sang. Dee Hoty’s Violet and Mamie Parris’ Jody also used volume more than style to land their songs. Joesph Mahowald over played the misogynist Franklin Hart turning him into more of a cartoon character than a nasty office manager.
9 to 5 ,the Musical is gaudy and shallow musical with a mixture of a preposterous story and a largely forgettable score sung with incoherent leathery voices. I’d rather hear Dolly Parton do her act that see this mediocre show again. There was much hype in the house as Dolly Parton appeared to celebrate her 65th birthday. So, I’m guessing that the audience for this show are Parton fans and fans of the film. As a Broadway musical, 9 to 5 needs to put in some overtime with a reworked book and better sound.