Monday, April 15, 2013

9 to 5 at the Paper Wing Theatre

9 to 5: The Musical

“9 to 5” is a Broadway musical adaptation of the early 80’s film starring Dolly Parton, Lilly Tomlin, and Jane Fonda as three uppity women who fantasize about killing their innocently flirtatious boss, Mr. Hart. Paper Wing Theatre unflinchingly addresses the dangers of what happens when you allow the women-folk to leave the kitchen with shoes on and enter the workplace.  Can you imagine a world where women were treated equally? Well, I am most certainly glad that someone is willing to tackle the dangers of such thought. The show is set in the year 1979

Kate Faber takes the lead as Violet, a single widow taking struggling to make ends meet as she raises her unruly teenage son (Jordan Brewer). She is the de facto office manager, training the new employees and running errands for the heroic Mr. Hart (Michael Alliman). Kidding aside, Faber has an amazing voice and plays up some of the tongue-in-cheek anachronistic comedy with special nods to some modern references scattered through the show. She opens the second act with a great song, joined by the male ensemble, in one of my two favorite pieces for the show. She’s joined by Judy (Alyca Tanner), a recent divorcee entering the workforce when her husband leaves her for another woman, and Doralee (Mindy Kruty-Crothers), an always chipper country-western singer struggling to fit in when her “assets” draw unwanted attention from the office men. The three ladies are constantly harangued by their sexist, egotistical, manipulative, lying bigot of a boss and his trusty secretary, Roz (Kelly Machado). Events transpire that draw them together.  The three women are forced into action after an accidental poisoning forces them to kidnap Hart and hold him captive for a month in his own home, allowing the three women to take control of the office for a time. Their policies have an immediate effect, but I’m going to say you should probably see the show if you want to know what those policies are and what effect they had. I’m not going to sit here and spoil it for you, faceless reader!

I know some of you are aware that my earlier comments were a little tongue in cheek in reference to the sexism being addressed by the show, but let me be clear… Michael Alliman is cast as a slimy weasel of a boss, filling the shoes of Dabney Coleman from the original production. His dismissive attitude toward Judy, his lecherous advances toward Doralee, and his dependant lack of appreciation for Violet gives each of the women a reason to fantasize about his death in elaborate scenes that feature the villain getting his come-uppance. The ladies are all brilliant throughout these scenes, and Hart is the perfect foil to common decency that everyone takes a certain degree of pleasure in seeing him suffer.

My favorite song in the show was, without a doubt, the solo piece from Roz as she tells the audience how she truly feels about her boss and expresses her unrequited passion.  “Heart to Hart” is great and allows actress Kelly Machado to take her moment to shine with both voice and comedic timing, with a special appearance from Alliman who adds just the right moment to the whole piece. I laughed so hard I nearly passed out!

A big kudos to the rest of the cast and crew throughout the show, because there was almost always a constant movement on the stage.   The smaller roles gave considerable momentum to the story arc as the ladies navigate through office politics, social cliques, and even the amorous affection of a young accountant vying for Violet’s regard. If I were to sit here and write about everyone who left some sort of impression on me I’d be writing long past anyone’s interest level, suffice to say that there a bunch of people whose talents deserve more than just a brief blurb in some guys blog.

5 out of 5.

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