Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-03-17
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW 9 to 5 The Musical
by Catey Sullivan
2018-04-18

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Music and lyrics: Dolly Parton Book: Patricia Resnick. At: Firebrand Theatre at the Den Theatre, 1329 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets: $20-$45; FirebrandTheatre.org . Runs through: May 20

Here are two things about Nine to Five that have changed since its debut as a 1980 movie and reboot as a musical in 2008: Even without composer/lyricist Dolly Parton joining in, the show has never sounded better than it does in Firebrand's revival. Secondly, the nearly 40-year-old story of three women who shanghai their company from a predatory boss has become less daffy and more poignant.

In the olden days of the 1980s, scenes between CEO Franklin Hart Jr. and his secretary, Doralee, were funny—like watching the Road Runner outsmart Wile E. Coyote is funny. Sexual harassment was an occupational hazard, like catching a cold from a co-worker was. Inevitable no matter what you did. Now? Those same scenes will make you want to take a shower. And stab the so-skeevy-he-pollutes-the very-air boss in the eye with a Number 9 pencil.

The women of 9 to 5 The Musical only deploy lethal weapons ( guns, stilettos and lassos ) in their THC-induced fantasies. But they do fight back. And although their fight has an improbably happily-ever-after fairy-tale ending, it's satisfying, nonetheless.

France has brought the orchestra to the forefront for much of the production. Under music director Andra Velis Simon, the cast plays instruments along with the quintet that makes up the onstage band. Strings dominate ( Ricardo Santiago on guitar, Chel Hernandez on guitar and bass, Simon on keyboards and Sarah Weddle on percussion ), which gives the score an alternately soaring and finger-picking bluegrass sound. In triumphant numbers, including "Let Love Grow" and "Change It," the show feels like going to church should. The audience is listening to clarion calls for empowerment, delivered with raise-the-rafters vocal prowess and a jubilance that reaches the soul.

Of course, none of this would work if France's cast wasn't up to the task. If you're going to strip down the music, you need voices that can evoke the power of an orchestra. Suffice to say Hamilton is nicknamed "Slayrriese" for good reason. She brings a richly shaded lilt to Backwoods Barbie and a roar to the anthemic Joy to the Girls. As the uber-competent Violet, Anne Sheridan Smith has a Lyric Opera-worthy soprano that gets an operatic workout in "Dance of Death," and her tentative office romance with Joe ( Michael Turrentine ) will make you believe that love can indeed conquer all.

Cheated-on Judy ( Sara Reinecke ) inevitably stops the show with "Get Out and Stay Out," but Reinecke stops it, lights it on fire and then burns down the whole damn thing. ( Not literally, but it did remind me of the Molotov cocktail scene in 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. )

France has also turned the office lady villain—Hart's suck-up secretary Roz—into a figure who garners understanding and empathy. Veronica Garza's Roz is a woman in love who will not back down. Her declaration of love ( "Heart to Hart" ) is a combination of burlesque, torch song and uncompromising obsession. It is also one of the most hilarious things I have seen in a musical—ever.

As Hart, Scott Danielson brings just enough menace to the show to balance its inherently sunny humor. He's all in, even when trussed up like a prize Berkshire pig in the 4-H Finals at the Missouri State Fair.

Here's another way Firebrand's production differs from the movie and all the previous productions that have played hereabouts: The cast looks like Chicago. And that precisely absolutely everything I have to say regarding actors' bodies and skin tones. A show that looks like Chicago and feels like now? Take that to church people—or rather, to the box office.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

STREAMING THEATER REVIEW Teenage Dick 2020-03-27 - Playwright: Mike Lew At: Theater Wit ( on line streaming only ) Tickets: TheaterWit.org; $28. Runs through: April 19 In a ...


Gay News

Raven Theatre postpones world premiere of Eden Prairie, 1971 due to COVID-19 2020-03-26 - CHICAGO ( March 25, 2020 ) — In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Raven Theatre today announced it will postpone its upcoming world ...


Gay News

Tony Awards to be postponed; no new date set 2020-03-25 - The 74th Annual Tony Awards—scheduled to air live on CBS on Sunday, June 7 from New York's Radio City Music Hall—has been postponed ...


Gay News

'Around Broadway' to honor high-school musical-theater students 2020-03-25 - Broadway In Chicago has announced its new social-media program, "Around Broadway in 80 Days." In the wake of the cancellation of The Jimmy ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Terrence McNally dies of coronavirus complications at 81 2020-03-24 - Terrence McNally—a four-time Tony winner who wrote musicals and plays such as Ragtime, Love! Valour! Compassion!, The Full Monty and Kiss of the ...


Gay News

Hell in a Handbag Productions Announces 2020 Season 2020-03-24 - CHICAGO, IL ( March 23, 2020 ) — Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to announce its 2020 Season, plus a move ...


Gay News

Broadway in Chicago updates changes in show schedules 2020-03-24 - (Chicago, March 24, 2020) The safety and health of our patrons, staff and theatrical companies is our top priority. In response to the ...


Gay News

World premiere of Notes & Letters postponed due to Coronavirus 2020-03-23 - CHICAGO ( March 23, 2020 ) — In response to the coronavirus ( COVID-19 ) pandemic, Underscore Theatre Company today announced it will ...


Gay News

Poisoned: A Snow White Rock Musical postponed 2020-03-23 - Statement from Michael Galloway of Pan's Flute Productions: In an effort to do our part in mitigating the spread of Covid-19, we ...


Gay News

Streamed theater review, Methtacular! 2020-03-22 - By: Steven Strafford Via: 16th Street Theater, 6420 16th St., Berwyn. Tickets: 708-795-6704 or 16thstreettheater.org; $12 per person/on your honor. Available through: April ...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.