Reviewed by Ann Wood
If you’re looking for an entertaining evening, the best place in town for the next week is at the William Bonifas Fine Arts Center for Players de Noc’s production of “9 to 5.”
Director Lynn Soderberg and Musical Director Tom Knoll have put together a wonderful cast, orchestra, and crew to bring the musical based on the 1980 movie to vibrant life on Escanaba’s stage.
The story of three female employees who find a wicked way to turn the tables on their sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot of a boss, Franklin Hart, played with appropriate smarminess by Jim Powell, features Karin Beveridge as Violet, a “lowly secretary” who has clearly been the brains, heart, and soul of the company for years. Erica Mead channels her inner Dolly Parton to great effect as Doralee, the blonde, busty, and brilliant country girl, and Samantha White is touching as Judy, the former housewife who has to find a job when her husband leaves her for his secretary.
Macy Neumeier is outstanding as Roz, Mr. Hart’s devoted assistant, who lets her hair down, literally, to declare her love for him in the song “Heart to Hart,” and Travis DuBord is appealing as Joe, the staff accountant who helps the women bring down the boss (and wins his fair lady Violet in the bargain).
The ensemble sings and dances with gusto, bringing exuberant energy to the show.
Special accolades are due master carpenter Jim Peltier, who designed and built a very attractive set that includes an elevator with working floor indicator lights and a bed that appears almost magically, and costumers Jolie Dzanbozoff and Mary Simmons, who have outfitted nearly thirty cast members with very authentic ‘70’s outfits.
Dianne Duval’s choreography is outstanding—simple enough that everyone can perform it well and extremely effective. You’ll particularly enjoy the dancing in the scene where the three women fantasize about how they’d bring Mr. Hart to justice.
The fourteen piece orchestra handles the challenging music, written by Dolly Parton, very well, and the entire production staff is to be commended for a smoothly running show. Lights, sound, props, set decoration, make-up, hair, running crew—so many people work hard to bring a show like this to life! They are all essential to the finished product, and in this case, they’ve done their jobs well.
Tickets for the remaining performances are available at the Art Center during business hours, online at the Players de Noc website, and at the box office before the show if any seats remain available. The show runs Through March 11 at 8:00 p.m.