BY ELISE SPEISER

9 to 5 the Musical is presented by the CM Performing Ats Centers at the Noel S. Ruiz Theatre in Oakdale, NY from February 25 through March 11, 2023.

The Theatre Guide is pleased to include a new player into our theatre coverage! The CM Performing Arts Center is a professional community theatre now in their 50th season with a full slate of upcoming shows for you to enjoy this year. Currently playing is a high-energy, fun-filled rendition of 9 to 5 the Musical.

Originally produced on Broadway in 2009, 9 to 5 the Musical is the retelling of the beloved 80s film starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton. Audiences are in for same satiric story by Patricia Resnick (who wrote the original film along with director Colin Higgins) with the addition of a full set of musical numbers with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton, which of course includes the famous theme song. In fact, Dolly herself makes an appearance in the form of pre-recorded video for the opening and closing narration. It is Dolly who introduces us to the show’s three main characters: Violet, Doralee, and Judy.

Each of these ladies is in a different place in life, but all three suffer from the same problem in the form of their “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” of a boss Franklin Hart Jr. (played by Michael Limone). Violet (played by Emily Nadler) is an overworked single mother, being passed over for promotion. Nadler brings her to life with well-delivered wry humor and a charming balance of softness and strength which comes across right away in her featured number “Around Here.” You’ll root for her success both professionally and personally through her office romance storyline.

Doralee (played by Livi Rose) is the harassed secretary shunned by the other office ladies because of the reputation Mr. Hart has given her in order to boost his own ego. Ms. Rose brings this character previously played by Dolly Parton to life with an incredible impression of the lady herself. She captured the voice just right and never faltered. The sweetness and earnestness of her performance sells this character perfectly and makes the impact of her storyline of being misunderstood shine through in her solo “Backwoods Barbie.”

Judy (played by Jess Ader-Ferretti) is the audience’s avatar, through whose eyes as the newbie to the office world due to a recent divorce, we are introduced to the dynamics at Consolidated Industries. Ader-Ferretti humorously brings the character from timidity to confidence and shines in her musical numbers, particularly in her solo portions of the song “I Just Might.” All three ladies have beautiful voices, whose only detriment was in being underserved by some issues with the sound system.

There is a large cast filling out the production from supporting actors to the ensemble, all of whom pull together in several musical numbers that fill the stage and make the whole experience feel big and energetic thanks to the well-staged choreography of Kevin Burns. Some notable performances are Katelyn Murray as the entertainingly stumbling drunk Margaret, Emily Llewellyn as the hilariously over-the-top office antagonist Roz, and of course Mr. Limone whose performance builds in manic energy as his character suffers the consequences of their unconventional revenge.

Directed by Mary Caulfield, the show moves along at a fast pace with plenty of verbal and visual jokes along the way, just as a broad comedy like this requires. Scenes move quickly and seamlessly from one to the next, with the help of efficient but substantial moving set pieces. Scenic designers Anthony Arpino, Mary Caulfield, and Brendan Noble manage to create full sets that immerse you in the changing locations and have just the right amount of dated touches to sell the 1979 setting.

Similarly, the costumes by Costume Designer Ronald R. Green III set off the characters and the time period with understated care. For the fashion lovers, this show is a treat. The main characters change clothes numerous times throughout the show, indulging the eye in an array of looks for each of the women’s distinct style, not to mention the assortment of themed wardrobe that gets featured by them and the ensemble cast in several of the bigger numbers including the triple fantasy sequence of “The Dance of Death”, “Cowgirl’s Revenge” and “Potion Notion” where each of the ladies imagines their own unique way to exact revenge on Mr. Hart.

This show is a high-energy, broad comedy that will appeal to fans of the original film and to anyone who loves Dolly Parton’s music.

Run Time: 2 hours and 25 minutes including one 15-minute intermission.

Advisory: Sexual references and bawdy humor.

9 to 5 the Musical is presented by the CM Performing Ats Centers at the Noel S. Ruiz Theatre in Oakdale, NY from February 25 through March 11, 2023. For tickets contact the box office at (631) 218-2810 or click here.

 

READ THE REVIEW HERE

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