BWW REVIEWS: 9 TO 5 is a 10!
by Dolly Parton and Patricia Resnick
January 19, 2013 at 8:00 P.M.
From the surprising opening video, projected on a giant clock, of Dolly Parton welcoming us to the show, directly incorporated to the singing and dancing company montage of the title song, the St. Petersburg City Theatre's production of "9 to 5", The Musical was off and running to a WOW of an opening!
And it only got better and better, in this brisk moving, hilarious, fun-filled, and somewhat romantic, musical comedy romp.
"9 to5", the Musical opened on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre in 2009. It won 15 Drama Desk Award nominations, as well as 4 Tony Award nominations. It is based on the 1980 hit film starring Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, and Dolly Parton, with a rockabilly score composed by Dolly Parton.
Now, you can see it in its glory, at St. Petersburg City Theatre, the the oldest, continuously operating community theatre in the state of Florida, since 1925.
"9 TO 5", The Musical is set in 1979. The plot revolves around the hilarious story of three, female co-workers, who have extremely different personalities. However, they do share a "mutual cause". Office Manager, Violet (Kate Gaudet), the newly hired, divorce', Judy (Sadra Bostick), and Executive Secretary, Dora Lee (Jessica Ulbrich), join forces to become a team. They are determined to overthrow their lying, egotistical, bigoted, sexist, boss, Franklin Hart (Jay Morgan). They are certain that there's nothing that a "man" can do, that "THEY" can't do. And that includes...sweet revenge.
Kudos to James Grenelle, (the Tampa Bay community's most sought-after- director/choreographer), who has assembled 21 energetic, enthusiastic, and extreamly talented cast members that can act, sing, and dance. Grenelle knows how to get the best performance out of his cast and he does. His fine directing and choreographic skills, are evident in every line, movement, and stage picture in this production. Grenelle even choreographed the company in scene changes, keeping a seemless flow throughout the show. His ensemble numbers shine brightly, by showcasing the "given" talents of his cast wisely. Grenelle makes everyone look like a "pro" and that is a great "gift" that he humbly shares with the community.
There is strong, innnovative direction by Grenelle in the scene work as well. Some comedic highlights include: the "smoking trio", the fairytale fantasy" and a madcap "hospital" scene, all of which had the audience rolling in hysterics.
And there lots of really great singing. Vocal Coach, Latoya McCormick has done a marvleous job with solo phrasing and training a well rehearsed ensemble, with a professional foundation of terrific musical tracks by Jason Tucker/LTM Productions.
And what a cast!
Jay Morgan is an excellent Hart. His slimey, self-centered, shameful, villianous portrayal makes Hart, the character that we "Love to Hate". He provides gails of laughter in the comically, provocative, Elvis grinding, "Here for You".
Kate Gaudet gives a winning performance, bringing an earthy, no nonsense authority, to the role of Violet. Her dry line delivery sparks infectious laughter throughout the show. In Act II , Ms. Gaudet displays her many talents, as we see another side of Violet in the campy "One of the Boys", complete with a well tailored, all male, singing and dancing back up chorus.
The saucy, sassy, sexy, spunky Doralee, is delightfully played by Jessica Ulbrich. She brings an unexpected charm and innocence, to her mostly highly comedic character in "Backwoods Barbie" and shows great tenderness in her scenes with Shawn Ryan, as her husband Dwayne.
Watch for the petite, plus size, powerhouse, Latoya McCormick as Hart's Admistrative Assistant, the lovelorn, irrepressible, Roz. Her over the top, scene stealing performance is not to be missed. She stops the show with her Red Hot Mama rendition of "Heart to Hart".
Then there is Sadra Bostick. Ms. Bostick "lives the role" of Judy. Every line, gesture, and quirky mannerism is natural and honest. Her deadpan, comic timing is supurb. Put this all together with her beautiful, lyric soprano voice and wide vocal range; and you have "IT". A star quality that seperates her talents from all others. Ms. Bostick brings the house down with her heartfelt, dramatic ballad "Get Out and Stay Out!.
Other stand out performances include: the lovable Jonathan Pouliot as Joe, Tom Morabito as Dick, Andy Dawkins as Josh, Kris Doubles as Tinsworthy and the ever so tipsy Marcia Dobbin, as Margaret.
Rounding out this top notch cast are: Sabrina Hamilton, Chanda Ford, Rebecca Hofmann, P.M. Knight, Kelsey Seals, Kyle Hill, Mark Mercado, Jenelle Vinachi, Katie Eichler, and Anasha Dorsey.
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