9 to 5 Review Part 2

It is my belief that any musical worth watching has at least one no-man number that features a leading lady singing accompanied by the female-identifying members of the ensemble doing fun shenanigans in the background. I don’t know if there’s a technical name for this type of number, but I know that “9 to 5” has at least three of them.

This is my primary reason for loving “9 to 5.” The writers’ decision to include so many opportunities for women to shine in the show is a great demonstration of what it stands for. Everything about the show is uplifting; whether you’re into big heartwarming numbers or think all men should die, “9 to 5” has something to make you feel like all could be right with the world one day. Depending on which review you decide to read first (pick me! pick me!) you might already have an idea of what the show is about, but I’ll explain anyway. Three women (Judy, Violet, and Doralee) are struggling in their corporate workplace because of sexual harassment, sex-based workplace discrimination, and in one case, their dickish ex-husband. They decide to take advantage of an accident to overthrow their misogynistic CEO Mr. Hart and make their workplace better for everyone. Hart’s secretary Roz (Alyssa Rivera) and the junior accountant Joe (Trey DuBose) provide some rom-com relief as they pursue Mr. Hart and Violet, respectively.

As a performer in Scotch’n’Soda’s carnival production of “9 to 5,” I felt the deep good from the show seep into all corners of my life. I’ll start by saying that I think we put on a great show. By opening night, I felt strongly that everyone around me had the choreography and the lines and the music in our bones, and I think this is because we were all just having so much fun. We were smiling on stage, slaying our way around the wings, mouthing the lines and lyrics that were being sung on stage while we were off. In short, the vibes were really, really good.

Even though I’m a little biased, I think the cast of our show was so talented. The ensemble (including myself and pillbox cartoonist Kate Myers) felt really cohesive in that each member excelled in different areas — acting, singing, or dancing — which helped us all stay strong throughout the show. And the leads simply blew me away. Ashley Offman as Doralee was a stroke of genius. Her accent was so authentic that I often heard Dolly Parton in it when I was caught off guard. I could tell that both she and singer-dancer extraordinaire Madeline Elston (Violet) felt strong personal connections to their characters. This made their performances so much more convincing and really emotional. Abby Glass and her absolutely unbeatable mezzo voice as Judy gave me chills on multiple occasions. I think that the melodies written for Judy are simply more beautiful than any of the other music in the show, and Abby was the perfect person to deliver them to our loving audience.

What really made the show good, though, were the gorgeous creative minds behind the choreography (Remy Goldberg and Jocelyn Selby, who added symbols and motifs galore and made the show look so professional), the set (a God-mocking, two-story, multilayer affair that took 25 hours to load on and off), the direction (dream team Lisset Martinez and Matthew Blankley who absolutely understood the assignment), the hilarious and oh-so kind sound team, the stage and props managers and, of course, the orchestra pit. The last two need extra special mentions: two of our very own Tartan editors (William Curvan, Cole Skuse) braved the heights of the pit platform to give the orchestral performance of a lifetime under the direction of the inimitable Chris Renaud.

Finally, this show would have been a complete and utter mess without the kind, knowledgeable, hardworking stage managers Jesus Feliciano, Quincy Mangi, and Lehan Xu. In wrangling us and helping us carry those pesky desks across the stage a million times, they gave us the power to give you the performance of a lifetime, if you were lucky enough to have been there.