9 TO 5: THE MUSICAL Launches St. Jacobs Country Playhouse 2012 Season
Drayton Entertainment has kicked off the 2012 Season at the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse with 9 To 5: The Musical, the comedy based on the 1980 film starring Dolly Parton.
Featuring three female performers in the lead roles along with the company’s Artistic Director Alex Mustakas in the central role of “The Boss,” 9 To 5: The Musical is described as "first-rate theatrical entertainment."
Nominated for 15 Drama Desk Awards, the most received by a production in a single year, and four Tony Awards, including Best Score, 9 to 5: The Musical is a comedy about office politics that also strikes a chord for its invigorating story of friendship and female empowerment.
“This is a terrific show that audiences are going to love,” says Mustakas. “With an energetic score penned by the iconic Dolly Parton, the music is absolutely infectious … not to mention, the hilarious story captures every office worker’s most twisted fantasy.”
Set in a stereotypical office in 1979, audiences are taken back to a time when assistants were called secretaries, computers and databases were known as typewriters and rolodex cards, ‘Casual Fridays’ had no place in the dress code, and sexism was both rampant and tolerated. Against this backdrop of the office grind, three co-workers become unlikely friends when, pushed to the boiling point, they enact their outrageous revenge fantasies to depose of their “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical” boss, Franklin Hart Jr. and seize control of the company.
After a twelve year hiatus, theatregoers are thrilled to see Mustakas back on stage as this deliciously despicable character. Mustakas is in his element, using his powerhouse voice and well honed comic skills to great effect in “Here For You”. He goes full throttle as the nasty boss, but at the same time manages to project an appealing charm that anchors the production’s light-hearted tone.
Mustakas is pulling double-duty as Director, and with his expertise in the musical-comedy genre, provides the ideal leadership and astute direction required for this sharp-witted production. His sense of comedic timing is spot on, motivating an exceptional cast to keep the rhythm of this show moving at a brisk pace.
Mustakas has wisely built the production around the undeniable chemistry between his three female leads.
Audience favourite Lisa Horner, applies her distinctive talent to the role of feisty office manager Violet Newstead. Horner brings dignity and poise to the role, imbuing every scene with energy and emotional availability. You can’t help but root for her. She also knows how to deliver the “wow” factor, evidenced in the spectacular number, “One Of The Boys.”
As the frazzled divorcee and office newbie Judy Bernly, Jayme Armstrong captures all the exuberance of a woman freed from marital prison and allowed to grow on her own. She displays a powerful voice when she finally admonishes her faithless, weasel husband to “Get Out And Stay Out.”
The sensational secretary and vivacious country girl Doralee Rhodes is played by Baden native Joanna Guistini. Parton’s old dialogue and quips role off her tongue perfectly. Guistini also has a lilting singing voice beautifully displayed as she reminisces of her girlhood in the wistful “Backwoods Barbie.”
Other stand-outs include N. Settimi as Roz Keith, Hart’s frumpy administrative assistant who can’t find the words to tell her boss how much she loves him. David Cotton is also enjoyable as the nerdy junior accountant Joe, smitten with a much-older Violet.
In its continued effort to create opportunities for greater involvement in the performing arts, Drayton Entertainment formed a unique collaboration with Kitchener-Waterloo Musical Productions. As a result top local performers have the rare opportunity to work in a professional theatre production, appearing as members of the ensemble and working behind-the-scenes.
The synergies of this partnership are displayed beautifully as the large ensemble injects great joy into Gino Berti’s dazzling choreography. Berti has seamlessly utilized novice performers alongside amazingly skilled dancers to create tremendous energy on stage.
The talented professional ensemble includes Jordan Bell, Matthew Campbell, Rachel Clark, Sarah Harries, Dani Jazzar, Sarah Matton, Chad McFadden, Lucas Meeuse, Adam Sergison, Kathleen Sheehy and Vic Roberts.
Performers from Kitchener-Waterloo Musical Productions include Joel Cumber, Amie Debrone, Reuben Eby, Alison Enns, Jinelle Piereder, Sarah Schilling, Tim Scott, Harrison Smith, Sarah Twomey, and Christine Watson.
Parton’s score is an eclectic mix of country, rockabilly and Broadway ballads. Music Director Robert Foster, who has helmed many Mirvish Productions, leads an accomplished band through the demanding material. Of course, the infectious title tune still elicits plenty of smiles three decades after it topped the charts.
The colourful set design by Stephen Degenstein and effective lighting design by Simon Day highlight the light and frothy elements of this production, but also capture the dab of social commentary. The 100 costumes designed by Jenine Kroeplin are appropriate to the era and create a visual spectacle on stage.
Also behind-the-scenes are Assistant Director Dan Payne, Assistant Music Director Michael Brown, and Assistant to the Choreographer Christine Watson. These dedicated members of Kitchener-Waterloo Musical Productions round-out an impressive Creative Team.
9 To 5: The Musical runs until March 25th. Tickets can be purchased in person at the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse, online at www.stjacobscountryplayhouse.com or by calling the Box Office at (519) 747-7788.