Two years ago when my blog was based in New York there were a lot of Broadway reviews on here, but since living in Los Angeles I've only seen a couple of traveling shows-and ones that I had already seen before in NY like Sweet Charity.
In a pleasant turn of events though, 9 to 5: The Musical debuted here in downtown LA last month at the Ahmanson Theater and will soon be moving on to Broadway in March of 2009 at the Marriott Marquis theater. Performances end here on Oct. 19th, so go while you can!
Based on the 1980 film, the new musical features original music and lyrics by Dolly Parton and stars West Wing's Allison Janney in the Lili Tomlin role and Wicked's Megan Hilty in the Dolly role. I wasn't sure if they were going to modernize the film or how it would work, but it's very close to it, even set in the same time period, just with added music and a slight romance mixed in.
As soon as the lights went up and that familiar beat started to play, I felt the excitement from the production. I loved the opening scene as everyone is getting ready for work and the Oscar winning song, 9 to 5 is being sung. The sets were great, very kitsch and constantly changing. The wardrobes were reminiscent and the dialogue hysterical. I think I laughed more at this production than I did in the movie, due to all the added gags and dialogue in the scenes and jabs at 1979 culture. I didn't want the scenes to end, but at the same time was eager to see what would happen in the next one.
Janney did a great job as Violet, but Hilty shined as a Dolly spit fire belting out Backwoods Barbie and other melodies. Also, Marc Kudisch , who played the “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” boss, held his own amongst the female leads playing the original Dabney Coleman role to a T. Overall, it's a smart, sassy and colorful production that provides for a fun night out at the theater--looks like Mamma Mia is going to have some competition.
PS: Who works 9 to 5 anymore? I wish!