Sally Struthers Punches into Ogunquit's '9 to 5'
Music and lyrics by Dolly Parton; book by Patricia Resnick; based on the 20th Century Fox picture, originally produced on Broadway by Robert Greenblatt; director, Keith Andrews; music director, Andrew Austin; conductor, Ken Clifton; choreographer, Gerry McIntyre; set design, Robert Andrew Kovach; lighting design, Richard Latta; costume design, Trevor Brown; sound design, Jeremy Oleska; a co-production with Long Island's Gateway Playhouse
Cast on opening night:
Violet Newstead, Carrie McNulty; Doralee Rhodes, Becky Gulsvig; Judy Bernly, Erica Aubrey; Franklin Hart Jr., Ed Staudenmayer (replaced on 9/2 for the rest of the run by Matthew Ashford); Roz Keith, Sally Struthers; Joe, Peter Carrier; Dwayne, BrIan Patrick Murphy; Josh, Billy Marshall Jr.; Missy, Beth Glover; Maria, Rachel Arielle Yucht; Dick, Tim Barker; Kathy, Jaclyn Miller; Margaret, Beth Glover; Bob Enright, Jonathan Hoover; Tinsworthy, Tim Barker; Detective, Tim Barker; Doctor, Scott Hamilton; Candy Striper, Amy Van Norstrand; New Employee, Nathan Scott Hancock
Now through September 15, Ogunquit Playhouse, 10 Main Street, Ogunquit, Maine; tickets start at $39 and are available by calling the Box Office at 207-646-5511 or online at www.ogunquitplayhouse.org.
The Ogunquit Playhouse on the picturesque seacoast of Maine might as well give Sally Struthers the key to the theater. After all, she already owns the stage every time she makes an appearance there.
Now in her 10th straight year of trotting the boards at the venerable 80-year-old summer theater, Struthers proves once again that she is pure comic genius. In the featured role of office snitch Roz in Dolly Parton's Broadway musical misfire 9 to 5 (based on the 1980 hit movie that starred Parton alongside Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda), Struthers turns a near cameo into a tour de force – or is that tour de farce? Walking a very fine line between villainy and vulgarity, she convulses the audience with outrageous bits that leave patrons alternately howling and wondering, "Did she really do that?"
Thank goodness, too, for the rest of 9 to 5: The Musical is an uncomfortable mish-mash of prurient adolescent humor and forgettable country-pop tunes that are wedged awkwardly into Patricia Resnick's faithful-to-the-movie book. Adapted from Resnick's own story (and screenplay by Colin Higgins), the musical squanders its potential to resonate today as it did 32 years ago by ratcheting up the movie's farcical humor to such an exaggerated degree that beloved underdog secretaries Violet (Carrie McNulty), Doralee (Becky Gulsvig), and Judy (Erica Aubrey) become broadly drawn cartoons incapable of stirring empathy as they turn the tables on their "sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot" of a boss Franklin Hart Jr. (Ed Staudenmayer*).