Review: 9 TO 5, THE MUSICAL at TexARTS is a celebration of female empowerment!

This delightful and hilarious musical comedy runs through August 27th, 2023.

By: Aug. 08, 2023
Review: 9 TO 5, THE MUSICAL at TexARTS is a celebration of female empowerment!
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Step into the world of 9 to 5, The Musical, and buckle up for an exhilarating ride of laughter, empowerment, and camaraderie like never seen before. Drawing inspiration from the iconic 1980 film, this theatrical adaptation masterfully weaves together humor, heart, and a touch of rebellion, resulting in an absolute delight for the senses.

Set against the backdrop of the late 1970s, the production immerses its audience in an era when women were still grappling with the glass ceiling, striving to make their voices heard in the corporate landscape. Guided by Lyn Koenning's expert musical direction, Dolly Parton's indelible score sets the tone, infusing the show with toe-tapping melodies that linger long after the final curtain.

"Workin' nine to five
For service and devotion
You would think that I
Would deserve a fat promotion
Want to move ahead
But the boss won't seem to let me!
Swear sometimes that man is out to get me!"

- 9 to 5, The Musical

At the heart of the story are three incredible leading ladies, each with their unique charisma and charm. Violet Newstead (Kerry McGinnis) embodies the essence of a determined woman climbing the corporate ladder while battling against the chauvinistic office culture. Judy Bernly (Lilly Lane Stafford) demonstrates the strength in finding oneself after personal struggles. And Doralee Rhodes (Annaliese Wolfanger) is a young woman unfairly judged for her voluminous looks and clothing choices. A common enemy, professional injustices, and a bit of marijuana bring these unlikely allies together to fight oppression and inequities in the workplace. 

The undeniable chemistry among these leading women propels the narrative, establishing an enduring bond that profoundly engages the audience. Their friendship acts as a genuine anchor, allowing them to draw wisdom from one another's strengths and personal journeys while blossoming in their shared empowerment.

McGinnis is a tour-de-force as Violet. She beautifully infuses vitality and hilarity into the role with her commanding vocals and impeccable comedic timing. Stafford breathes new life into Judy with her remarkable vocal range and stage presence. She skillfully transforms a character that, from my perspective, initially appeared somewhat dull in the movie, into an endearing and relatable figure. Wolfanger's embodiment of Doralee Rhodes radiates unbridled Southern charm and sass, capturing attention with every note. While adopting a more subdued interpretation of Dolly Parton, Wolfanger makes the character her own through her enchanting voice and personal magnetism. 

Jarret Mallon's portrayal of the antagonist, Franklin Hart Jr., exudes a sleazy charm that perfectly embodies the archetype of the entitled male boss, a character who has long hindered the progress of working women. The clashes between Hart and the trio of protagonists yield both uproarious and thought-provoking moments, showcasing the empowering potential of female unity. Particularly captivating are the "dream" sequences, wherein each leading woman envisions her satisfying retaliation against Mr. Hart. 

Under the masterful guidance of Award-winning director Kimberly Schafer, 9 to 5, The Musical at TexARTS dazzles with entertainment at every turn. The ensemble cast shines brilliantly, ensuring that this production is an absolute must-see. Among the highlights, Amy Nichols Madison's portrayal of Roz Keith stands out—a character who embodies the compromising woman willing to curry favor with the boss, regardless of his wrongdoings. Madison infuses the role with wicked humor and exaggerated physicality, delivering an unforgettable performance. Characters like Roz underscore the urgency for women to stand united against chauvinism and gender disparities. Braden Tanner's depiction of Joe delivers a compelling portrayal of a young man in love, defying traditional gender allegiances in the pursuit of justice. 

The stage design by Donna Coughlin and choreography by Kimberly Schafer warrant special recognition, seamlessly conjuring the office ambiance and transforming it into a dynamic space where the mundane transforms into the extraordinary. The energetic dance numbers amplify the narrative, holding the audience's engagement from start to finish.

Comparing 9 to 5, The Musical with the feminist ideas discussed in the Barbie movie, released in 2023, offers intriguing insights. Both narratives leverage comedy to address gender inequities and portray the challenges that women confront in male-dominated spheres. Despite spanning more than four decades, these stories stand as poignant reminders of the ongoing struggle for gender parity, calling on society to do better in breaking free from outdated norms and empowering women to lead, contribute, and thrive in all aspects of life. As the show reaches its climactic peak, the exuberant finale leaves the audience on their feet, dancing and cheering for the triumph of female empowerment and the quest for a more equitable work world for all.

9 to 5, The Musical

Music and Lyrics by Dolly Parton

Book by Patricia Resnick

Directed and Choreographed by Kim Schafer

Music Directed by Lyn Koenning

TexARTS Professional Series

Kam & James Morris Theatre

2300 Lohman’s Spur, Ste. 160  Lakeway, TX 78734

August 4th to August 27th, 2023

Thursdays thru Saturdays at 7:30 PM

Sundays at 2:00 PM


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