Theatre Jacksonville closes out its 93rd Season with the North Florida premiere of “9 to 5: THE MUSICAL” sponsored by Acosta Sales and Marketing. This hilarious musical will be on stage at 2032 San Marco Avenue until June 22nd. Call (904) 396-4425 for reservations.
“9 to 5” is based on the very popular 1980 movie starring Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, and Jane Fonda. The musical opened in 2009 and received four Tony award nominations and fifteen Drama Desk award nominations. While full of laughs and a lot of fun, it is a look back at a time when things weren’t so great in the workplace for women. The wages were low, promotions were almost always given to men, and while sexual harassment existed, no one talked about it.
The musical revolves around three office workers who dream of the day they can dispose of their male chauvinist boss, Mr. Hart (the always hilarious MICHAEL FRITTON). The large cast is splendid and so is everyone in it. And the three leading women, KATHY SANDERS as Violet (the Tomlin role), SARA BETH GERARD as Doralee (the Parton role), and CHRISTINE DUMARS as Judy (the Fonda role), all have really big musical moments. Along the way, they kidnap their boss and lock him away for a couple of weeks, while they take over the office and run things their way, with remarkable results.
If you have seen any musicals in the past few years in Jacksonville, then Kathy Sanders and Christine Dumars are well known to you from many previous performances. They are fine comedians and can belt out a song. Sara Beth Gerard’s appeared at Theatre Jax in last summer’s “Is He Dead”; her delightful performance here as a “Backwoods Barbie” can make you forget you ever saw Dolly Parton in the role.
Dolly Parton, who wrote the music and lyrics for every one of the 14 songs, believed in spreading the work around. JUDY GOULD plays Roz, an office supervisor who actually has feelings for the deceitful womanizing Mr. Hart. She belts out a vampy number “Heart to Hart” that was an audience favorite. Joe, the firm’s junior accountant is played by GERALD LILES. He has the hots for widowed Violet, and they sing the lovely duet “Let Love Grow”.
BLAKE OSNER, who always brings great energy to any show he is in, plays Dwayne, Doralee’s husband. There are a couple of other names you will recognize if you are a local theater lover. JEFF GROVE performs two nifty cameos, as a doctor and the CEO of the corporation. LESLIE RICHART plays several small but humorous roles, and it was fun trying to keep track of her many wig and costume changes.
Jacksonville University’s theatre department is represented in the cast, with two musical theatre majors we have seen on the JU stage several times. ALEC HADDEN plays Dick, while JORDYN JONES is Maria. The Musical Director JAY IVEY, who joined the JU theatre department recently, was on keyboard and conducted the outstanding orchestra consisting of TOMMY HARRISON (guitar) MISHA FRAYMAN (guitar), PETER MOSELY (bass), AARON PLOTZ (drums) and JEFF MILLS (trumpet).
The amazing CURTIS WILLIAMS was not only the Choreographer of the dazzling dancing but also the Costume Designer. The cast of twenty worked in a large corporate office and many days went by during the course of the show, resulting in over 100 costumes needed for this production. Mr. Williams obviously worked more than 9 to 5 on these two very important positions. Kudos to MARISA McINNES-TAYLOR as Costume Crew.
DAVID DAWSON, who is completing his first season with Theatre Jacksonville as Technical Director and Scenic/Lighting Designer, has created an impressive office setting, with a large formal office in the background, and a flexible space in the foreground. A special thanks to MATT CALISE, who volunteered his talents to assist with the challenging technical aspects of “9 to 5.” Matt is a veteran of a number of Theatre Jacksonville summer programs and in fact worked his way up from student to counselor and then co-camp director. In addition he has worked various backstage positions in the past for TJ. Matt just arrived back in Jax with a diploma from Florida State University in marketing and business management.
This marvelous large-scale production is directed by SHIRLEY SACKS, an award winning director with an impressive list of credits at theatres all over the city. In the program, Shirley says she is thrilled to work with this awesome cast and crew. Ms. Sack creates and inspires awesome casts and awesome crews! She is the drama teacher at Stanton College Preparatory, and many of her students appear in community theatre productions.
If the excitement generated by the opening night audience of this show is any indication, this is going to be a big hit, so make your reservations soon, and don’t miss this retro-themed musical that has lively music that is a bit rockabilly and country. And be prepared to find yourself humming the catchy title song as you leave the theatre.