By Scott Overton
Community theatre is done for fun: the cast members and crew have a blast putting on a show, and the audience reaps the benefits.
Especially with Theatre Cambrian’s newest production of “9 To 5: The Musical.”
To talk about it you really have to start with Dolly Parton, the country-music legend who co-starred in the original 1980 film “9 To 5” starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. The movie was a big hit.
The title song, written and performed by Parton, went on to win an Oscar for Best Original Song, and Parton, in her first-ever film role, won a Golden Globe.
When the idea of making a Broadway musical version came along, it was natural to have Dolly write all the songs (she also provides some introduction and other elements on video in this production).
The show’s run on Broadway was relatively short, in spite of winning many awards, but it found lots of success all over the world.
We can relate to the characters in “9 To 5” because we’ve all had our issues in the workplace.
As the show opens, Violet and Judy (a newcomer to the company) not only struggle with the day-to-day problems at Consolidated Industries, but their boss, Franklin Hart, is a “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical, bigot” who shows no shame about sexually harassing his secretary Doralee.
When he finally pushes Doralee too far, her reaction takes Hart out of the picture for a while and the friends have to cover up his disappearance. To their surprise they find that the company runs more smoothly without the boss’s presence. But the good times can’t last.
As the office bombshell, Doralee, Rachelle St-Denis has the brassy and buxom charm that the role requires.
Angel Mannisto plays the newbie, Judy, with endearing vulnerability and a hint of inner toughness. The ever-reliable K.C. Rautianen as world-wise Violet offers the right dose of cynicism and girl power.
Marc Taillefer clearly enjoys playing up the worst of all male characteristics as Franklin Hart and I was also impressed with Andrea Falcioni who fully embodies the character of Roz through every moment of dialogue and song.
Naturally, a huge part of the enjoyment — and the storytelling — comes from the musical numbers, from the hopeful “I Just Might” to the sexy “Dance Of Death” to the empowering “Shine Like The Sun”.
The cast puts out a ton of energy, especially in the ensemble numbers and makes you wish people would break into song and dance at your office.
9 To 5, what a way to make a living!
9 To 5: The Musical runs Thursday through Sunday until Feb. 23 at Theatre Cambrian, 40 Eyre St. Call for tickets at 705-524-7317 or go to theatrecambrian.ca.
Scott Overton is the morning show host on Rewind 103.9 and author of the thriller Dead Air. He writes theatre reviews for Northern Life.