Dolly Punches In to Broadway
BY Mike Diamond
May 21 2009 12:00 AM ET
The show's music is hit-or-miss. The title song is a no-brainer and works especially well in the country-gospel revival-feeling final reprise. Parton, the composer and lyricist, certainly knows how to turn a phrase, and the act 1 songs "Backwoods Barbie," "Heart to Hart," (brava to Kathy Fitzgerald as snitchy corporate kiss-ass Roz Keith!), and "Shine Like the Sun" are standouts. Mostly, though, the tunes serviceable but forgettable, and act 2 is weighed down by some real clunkers, particularly the saccharine "Let Love Grow." And was it really necessary to give Violet a love interest? Janney really can't sing, but it works; she comes across as somebody's goofy Mom. Hilty has a charming sound to her voice, and Block redeems herself with a powerful set of pipes.
9 to 5: The Musical is a worthy if simple addition to the "let's turn a movie into a stage show!" trend on Broadway, sure to please the hordes of middle-aged Midwestern tourists. While the story still resonates as a potent feminist revenge fantasy, this a Dolly Parton baby through and through -- boob jokes, sequins, and smiles overshadow the sociopolitical subtext. Shout out to costume designer William Ivey Long; the outfits in the pot-induced homicidal dream scene are fabulous, particularly in Doralee's cowgirl sequence.
A thought-provoking, soul-stirring night at the theater this ain't -- there are sparkly costumes, moving sets, a large video-screen backdrop, moustachioed dancing boys doing somersaults -- but so what? Subtlety is not the point here. 9 to 5: The Musical is two hours and 20 minutes of silly, feel-good, somewhat familiar song and dance. Time to make the doughnuts!
At the Marquis Theatre Music and Lyrics by Dolly Parton Book by Patricia Resnick Directed by Joe Mantello Choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler