Dolly Punches In to Broadway
BY Mike Diamond
May 21 2009 12:00 AM ET
A curtain of telephone cords rises to the sound of alarm clocks and the familiar opening beat of Dolly Parton's Oscar-nominated title song. Dancers in very late disco-era styling -- striped tube socks, moustaches, wrap skirts, and a surplus of feathered hair (there was surely an army of curling irons backstage) pantomime the transition from slumber and morning coffee to working-stiff drudgery. The number itself, with some minor tweaking, makes a successful transition to musical theater and the dancers are very energetic; never have work-weary office drones had such a bouncy "Up With People" joie de vivre.
Soon enough the action moves to the suitably gray- and beige-toned offices of Consolidated, and enter the three main characters of 9 to 5: The Musical: mousy, first-time worker Judy Bernly (Stephanie J. Block), wry single mom Violet Newstead (Allison Janney), and sexy country gal Doralee Rhodes (Megan Hilty).
If you are one of the .00001% of gays who has never seen the 1980 movie (shame on you!), the basic story goes like this: The three ladies engage in a battle of the sexes with their boss, Franklin Hart Jr. (Marc Kudisch), a "sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot." Put upon, passed over, and fed up, the women bond over shared anger as well as some very strong marijuana. There Sis an accidental poisoning of the boss. Hilarity ensues.