9 to 5: The Musical, based on the wildly popular 1980 film is making its SWFL Regional Theater Premiere this week at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. 9 to 5: The Musical tells the story of Consolidated Industries employees Doralee, Violet, and Judy as they struggle to be respected in a male dominated work place.
I had the opportunity to sit down with this production’s Director/Choreographer, Amy McCleary, to get some inside information on this new musical comedy. Mrs. McCleary is a Resident Director/Choreographer for the Broadway Palm, and works pretty consistently across the country as a freelance director and performer.
Ever since last year’s season announcement, which included 9 to 5: The Musical, Amy knew this was a piece she wanted to direct. “I’ve loved Dolly Parton and the film ‘9 to 5’ since I was a child.” Amy remembers. “I love her strong female voice, and her ability to tell a story. This particular story is about female empowerment, and I’m just now at an age were I can really see the many advantages of being a woman as well as the many struggles that we face.”
Amy admits that the musical comedy, which closely follows the film, is a bit dated. “But in a good way!” she says. “The musical just happens to take place in 1979, but the story can still ring true today. Audiences will recognize the clothing styles, the hair styles, and of course the working man’s anthem, and title song: ‘9 to 5’”.
Being very familiar with the film myself, I asked Amy if there were any concerns about audience members drawing comparisons to the iconic role originated by the great Dolly Parton herself. Amy says, “They are definitely big shoes, or cups in this case, to fill. However, as long as the actress has an innate likeability about her and some of those famous lines have that same Dolly Parton lilt, audiences will see an actress in the likeness of Dolly Parton instead of an actress doing an impersonation. And lucky for us, we have the perfect actress in the role.”
Since Mrs. McCleary is not only directing the production, but also choreographing, I wondered how she planned to use the choreography to help tell the story. “I based everything in reality” Amy said. “During the first act, when the women in the office are unhappy with the way things are, the movement is more restricted and confined. But as the story progresses, the movement becomes more free and fluid to closely parallel the new-found freedoms and empowerment that the women are gaining.” Amy went on to say “…of course I definitely drew a lot of inspiration from the era itself. Disco, 80s, ‘Whacking’…it’s really a lot of fun.”
The brand new Broadway score written by the legendary Dolly Parton herself, draws a lot from country and pop influences. “The music is contemporary…” Amy informed. “…but still relatable. There are some songs that almost seem like Dolly signature pieces that you could hear on the radio today. However, all in all the musical style of the piece is definitely contemporary Broadway.”
Amy is certain that everyone will love 9 to 5: The Musical. “It’s just a great combination of music and fun with a hidden message that you don’t expect to get. It’s a great girls night out…teenagers through adults will really get a kick out of this show. And for those who lived through the era, you’ll definitely leave with a great sense of nostalgia”.
9 to 5: The Musical is playing October 11 through November 17, 2012. Performances are Wednesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Beginning in November, performances are Tuesday through Sunday with selected matinees. Be sure to check out the all-new, upscale dinner theatre experience on Saturday nights. Ticket prices range from $35 to $55 Tickets are now on sale and can be reserved by calling (239) 278-4422, by visiting www.BroadwayPalm.com or by stopping by the box office at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.