BWW Review: 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL at Stage Coach Theater
As the editor for BroadwayWorld Boise, I occasionally step onto the stage myself. As a member of the 9 to 5 the Musical cast, I sought out a fellow performer and friend to write the review for this show. Thank you so very much Nichole Stull.
9 to 5 is a terrific story of three women all fighting their own battles in the 1979 office setting in California. Originally a movie starring Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, and Dolly Parton, this musical has some big shoes to fill. Stagecoach Theater's production does an excellent job on all fronts.
Steven Santos directed the show and he has assembled a talented cast and crew. Shelby Bay designed an interesting set that included at least 9 distinct locations. The transitions between set changes were managed smoothly and as quickly as possible by the crew, thankfully preventing what could have been a tedious number of changes. Sound and lighting supported the story without being overt. Choreography, handled by Katie Shuter Rompala, while being somewhat simple, was also clever and playful throughout the show. Given the smaller sized stage and larger sized cast, she did an especially excellent job, particularly with the interesting "dream sequence" type numbers. The musical direction, by Michael Stear, proved solid and music was superb. The mix of voices, melodies and harmonies, filled the space and pulled the audience even further into the world of the working office.
Karen Marker, Leesa Williams, and Shannon Peterson played the leading ladies, Violet, Doralee, and Judy, with consistency and chemistry that made the whole show flow. Karen tapped into the quiet, sardonic strength and tragedy of a single, widowed mom struggling to fight the good fight in a boy's club office. My one wish for Karen is that she mugged out to the audience less and interacted more with her cast mates. Leesa found Doralee's rythym- moving, talking, and singing with the sweet Dolly Parton southern sass that makes Doralee the smart bombshell that defies stereotypes. Shannon hit all the right notes figuratively and literally. Judy has the largest character arc as she struggles to find herself, culminating in a song that brought chills and cheers.
Thaddeus Marks played the bad guy you loved to hate and his sycophantic assistant Roz was marvelously (and creepily) portrayed by Mary Knea. Earnest and sweet Joe was played by Aaron Baldwin and you were definitely rooting for him to win the girl. One particularly lovely moment was the duet with Violet and Joe; I won't ruin it for you and tell you they kiss, but the hug was sincere and maybe my favorite part. The ensemble filled in the cast with strong personalities and big characters. What office setting would be complete without the full list of characters? This office had them all! And most of the ensemble played double duty with a second character or two. Little cameo roles like the Dick ex-husband, the dancing gorilla, and the wolf pack added that extra something. (If curiosity about that strange list of characters doesn't get you there, I don't know what will.)
Overall the show was charming and silly with a bit of naughty humor. Steven and his cast found all the right moments to add in to heighten the humor. I'd say, get your tickets quick- this one will likely sell out all of its shows!