Flowertown Players Enjoy Farcical Take On '9 to 5 The Musical'

Ensemble Cast Shine In This Throwback To Office Shenanigans During the Late 1970's 

Jeff Walker,  Entertainment Writer

While it enjoyed a rather short (148 performances) run on Broadway beginning in 2009, '9 to 5 The Musical' has become a cult phenomena over the past 15 years, with regional and communities theatre companies welcoming an opportunity to put their own spin on a stage production. Following in those footsteps, Flowertown Players in Summerville under the direction of Nina Kahn offer up a hellacious rendition of the musical that takes a wild and hilarious look at office dynamics in the late 1970's. aaaaaaaaflowertown954

Based on a book by Patricia Resnick, and familiar songs of country music icon Dolly Parton, '9 to 5 The Musical' revisits an era decades before the 'me too' generation, where men prevailed in the office, often using power and their positions to dominate the opposite sex, reducing capable women to no more than secretaries and coffee run girls.

The 1980 movie of the same title was a box office bonanza starring Parton, Jane Fonda, and Lily Tomlin as a female power trio doing their all out best to take down a sexist and egotistical boss played by Dabney Coleman. The film is comic genius, and the musical if cast with larger than life personalities is equally brilliant. Keeping this in mind, given the fact the Summerville group are considered community theatre, the Flowertown Players turn in an awesome interpretation of this American comedy movie classic.

Much like the movie, the musical centers around five main, yet diverse characters. Kudos to Kahn for selecting the right quintet that play nicely off each other, and can somewhat carry a tune, a plus in a production with more than fifteen numbers between the overall office shenanigans.

Sarah Daniel shines as Violet Newstead, an over-worked, under-appreciated typing pool supervisor tired of less qualified men climbing the corporate ladder over her. Daniel instills just the right amount of angst and frustration into the character.

Stepping into Dolly's boots is Lizzie Mears as Doralee, the executive secretary to an overly conceited boss who only has 'dick-tation' in mind. Mears portrays Doralee similar to Dolly on screen, as the happily married sweet and naive country girl ready to rope and tie any man who would try to mess with her.

Julia Sorenson completes the sisterhood taking on Fonda's role as Judy Bernly, a recently divorced, unskilled first time worker who feels out of place in an office environment. Sorenson does a decent job evolving the inexperienced new staff person into a more self-assured member of the team, completing the epic female threesome.

It takes the right amount of macho, boldness, and swagger to don the wingtip shoes of Franklin Hart Jr., the sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigoted president of Consolidated Industries, and Mike Hornacek delivers, pouring every bit of pompous into the character. Hornacek's devotion to the role is ever apparent in his solo singing attempt with 'Here For You', a silly unrequited ditty sent up to an unsuspecting Doralee.

Rounding out the five principles, Gwendolynn Morris turns in a respectable performance as Roz, the disliked office busy body who is the eyes and ears for Mr. Hart, the same man she's secretly carrying a torch for. Oui, Oui mon cheri.

The ensemble cast work well off each other in organized fashion. Kudos to Kelcey Esqueda for precise choreography, allowing often a dozen or more to sashay on stage, often during scene changes. Sorenson merits double kudos in the production for dressing the cast in appropriate 1970's office apparel while utilizing more formal attire for over the top numbers. It's showtime!

Aside from the collective singing of the title song and Mr. Hart's unreciprocated love song, several numbers rise above the fray including Doralee's 'Backwoods Barbie', the ensemble 'Joy To the Girls', and 'Love Can Grow' a sweet duet from Violet and Joe (played sincerely by Tommy Wallace), a younger man trying to capture the affection of the widow of three years.

Community theatre is where many actors cut their teeth, often working 5 to 9pm, after a full 9 to 5pm job to hone their skills and practice for weeks at a time to bring quality shows to live theatre lovers. Despite a few gaps in the vocals, all in all '9 to 5 The Musical' from Flowertown Players is a pleasant two hours at the theatre.

The stage production takes the audience on a trip to the office environment of yesteryear, with a few timely comedic snippets to the not so distant future, and a nice video synopsis from Ms. Parton herself . '9 to 5 The Musical' runs weekends through May 19th inside the Summerville Community Theatre aka the historic James F. Theatre in Summerville. For more visit https://www.flowertownplayers.org/9-5-the-musical/