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BWW Album Review: West End Production of Dolly Parton's 9 TO 5 Still Giving Women a Voice Almost 40 Years Later

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9 to 5

While it's fun to relive 80s fashion in the workplace and bop along to the renowned "9 to 5" tune, this cast album explores the tough emotions and issues that give voice to women who didn't have the visibility, as more current social movements have allowed.

Based on the classic film starring Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, and Lily Tomlin, the musical opened in the West End in 2019 following its 2009 Broadway run.

The show features a book by the film's original screenwriter, Patricia Resnick, and a Tony-nominated score by Parton. A West End live cast recording of 9 to 5 The Musical was recorded at the Savoy Theatre with Caroline Sheen, Amber Davies, Natalie McQueen, Bonnie Langford, and Brian Conley. Focusing on the story of three female workers - Violet, Doralee and Judy - 9 to 5 navigates workplace life under their difficult boss, Franklin Hart Jr., at Consolidated Industries.

After you are done listening to fan favorite "9 to 5", the heartbreaking "Backwoods Barbie" hits you and paints a picture of a woman begging to be seen for more than just her hair and make-up. Judged solely on her appearance, this song gives a peek into her heart and feelings around been taken seriously in the world and instantly makes the listener feel empathy and a deep understanding of her situation.

Like the lyric says, "Might look artificial, where it counts, I'm real," women strongly desire to be treated with respect - often having to work even harder to prove their value and for others to see their worth, and this song provides an honest account into this painful experience.

On a more positive note, "One of the Boys" is reflective of hope and optimism for women dreaming of holding higher CEO roles one day. Something that may have been a dream decades ago, this upbeat and assertive tune gives women their moment as they strive to be evaluated based on their merit and credentials. If this album had an anthem for women's empowerment and pride, this would be it, as you can feel yourself wanting to cheer this old gal on! It's even more delicious to take delight in how far our workforce society has come and seeing this vision become reality.

Other tunes like "Always a Woman" gives the naysayers a voice and reminds us of those who wish to keep women stuck. It's the perfect motivation to give this trio the bravery to go after the future they deserve. "Change It" allows these women to re-evaluate their situation and summon up the courage to challenge the status quo. You better believe that better days are on the way!

Overall, this high-energy album is full of spirit and provides a soundtrack to reflect on how far we've come in society, while also thinking about all that still needs to be done, in terms of achieving true equality. One thing is certainly for sure: Their voices will not be silenced and continue to create excitement for the future!


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