May 2014

9 to 5: The Musical: The Arts Center’s Spring Show Sizzles

Author: Andrea Gannon | Photographer: Jordan Sturm

Most of us—if we’re of a certain (ahem) age—remember the iconic movie from the 1980s, 9 to 5, which was one of the earliest of its kind: a shining beacon of hope for women looking to break through the glass ceiling in a man’s world. But this plate of hope is served with a side of revenge, which makes it deliciously fun!

As vividly realized as Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton were in the movie in the roles of Judy, Violet and Doralee, we didn’t quite see all sides of them. The hilarious musical comedy—now on stage at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina through May 25—takes the movie even further. The plot remains endearingly funny, centering on three female office workers who turn the tables on their arrogant and lecherous boss, but in this musical version, their worlds and passions are fully realized with songs, new relationships and fresh scenes. So get ready for a better-than-ever 9 to 5: The Musical, directed by BroadwayWorld award-winning director Casey Colgan.

Colgan stated, “This movie is one of my all-time favorites, so I couldn’t wait to direct the musical. And because of the characters’ rich development, mixed with some incredible songs, there will be even more to love about the show.”

The stage score includes the famous Academy Award-nominated song by composer-lyricist Dolly Parton, plus 16 new Parton songs written especially for the show. 9 to 5 marks the songwriting Broadway debut of the seven-time Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and musician, and book by Patricia Resnick, who also co-wrote the screenplay.

From Left to Right: Pedro Rangel, Elizabeth Broadhurst, Jody Cole

When Parton sat down to write the music that tells the rest of the story behind her biggest hit, her heart comes through and shows us that revenge is not enough. Each of our heroines must find her way to a newfound freedom, and a fresh way of being uniquely herself.

Parton stated that 9 to 5 is a theatre score, not a country music score, despite the fact that Parton recorded and released one country-flavored song from the show, “Backwoods Barbie,” a number for Doralee.

When frazzled divorcee Judy (Stephanie Torns) succeeds in landing the job at Consolidated Industries that could put her on her own two feet, she arrives with no noticeable skill set for office work. Through her bumbling, she draws the attention of the super-efficient company veteran Violet (Elizabeth Newstead), who passes along the local survival skills in “Around Here.” When Violet is passed over yet again for promotion, her confrontation with Consolidated President Franklin Hart, Jr. (Brent Heuser) brings the sexy executive secretary Doralee (Crystal Mosser) into the revenge scheme as well, and all three women fantasize elaborate plots to get even with the sexist, egotistical bigot. That plan quickly spins wildly and hilariously out of control.
“The cast is amazingly talented,” enthused Colgan. “A number of them have been on Broadway and have toured nationally in shows like Chicago, Wicked and Mary Poppins, so audiences will be in for a first-rate, fast-paced night of great theater.”

From the bedroom to the boardroom, there are hostages, howls and a host of surprises, with songs, dances and laughs we never got in the movie.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Elizabeth Broadhurst, Brent Heuser, Stephanie Torns and Crystal Mosser

That’s one reason 9 to 5: The Musical garnered 15 Drama Desk and four Tony Award nominations when it opened on Broadway in 2009, expanding with national tours in the U.S. in 2011, and the UK in 2012. And now the Arts Center brings it to the stage for visitors and locals to enjoy.

In addition to Colgan as director, production members include Bradley Vieth, music direction; Brian Riley, lighting and production design; and Diana Griffin, costume design, each bringing their own special magic to the show. In fact, Riley and Griffin are both BroadwayWorld award winners in their categories of lighting and costume design respectively.

So take a break from that 40-hour week grind, and come see 9 to 5: The Musical, running April 30 through May 25 at the Arts Center. Preview tickets are $44 for adults and $31 for children on April 30 and May 1. Beginning with the opening on May 2, tickets are $54 for adults and $37 for children. Get tickets online at or from the Arts Center Box Office at (843) 842-ARTS (2787). 

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