Theatre Review: 9 To 5 Musical

Pictured, from left, are Angie Fisher as Judy Bernly, Emily Dunn as Violet Newstead and Sarah Philabaum as Doralee Rhodes, an unlikely trio who team up against their boss in “9 to 5 the musical,” now on stage through Sept. 1 at Amish Acres Round Barn Theatre. (Photo provided)

Pictured, from left, are Angie Fisher as Judy Bernly, Emily Dunn as Violet Newstead and Sarah Philabaum as Doralee Rhodes, an unlikely trio who team up against their boss in “9 to 5 the musical,” now on stage through Sept. 1 at Amish Acres Round Barn Theatre. (Photo provided)

On stage at Amish Acres Round Barn Theatre in Nappanee is the musical “9 to 5 the musical.” It’s a comedy about three women in the workplace in 1979 when many men took advantage of the women who worked with them. This is true of Franklin Hart Jr. (Benjamin Lee Jackson) president of Consolidated Industries in Manhattan.

Violet Newstead (Emily Dunn), Doralee Rhodes (Sarah Philabaum) and Judy Bernly (Angie Fisher) work for Hart and after putting up with his unfair treatment rebel.

The show takes its name from the opening song, “9 to 5” as it tells the tale of getting up in the morning and going to work.

Violet, mother of young Josh (Andrew Harth) and a widow, is in charge of the office but her leadership is not appreciated. She is up for promotion but will she get it? Doralee (a Dolly Parton look-alike) is married but that doesn’t matter to Hart. Judy is recently divorced and must now make her way in what is to her a strange world as she enters the workforce for the first time.

This musical tickles the funnybone and as people were leaving the theatre I heard nothing but praise from the audience.

Dunn, Philabaum and Fisher show exceptional talent as each portrays her character to perfection. Likewise, Jackson make the perfect company president who is married to Missy (Lindley Key) but doesn’t think there is anything wrong with chasing Doralee.

All three women have men in their lives. Joe (Steven Freitas) is younger than Violet but he wants a date. Dwayne Rhodes (Rory Dunn) is Doralee’s husband. Dick Bernly (Timothy Leonard) is divorcing Judy. All are talented actors and add to the show’s twists and turns. Bouquets to these three talented guys and to the other members of the cast and crew for jobs well done.

Jackie Parrilli is cast as Roz Keith. She’s Hart’s administrative assistant and is madly in love with him even though he pays no attention to her. Near the end of the first act Violet, Doralee and Judy kidnap the boss. Since his wife is on a month-long cruise, they take him to his house and then proceed to make changes at the company. But, what to do about Roz? They send her off to an academy to learn French.

Most of the second act is devoted to the women and Hart, changes they make in the company, trying to find something they can exchange with Hart so he won’t fire them or send them to jail, Joe’s trying to get a date with Violet and Dick’s trying to win Judy back.

The women find two sets of books. Hart has been taking money from the company. They have him where they want him. Somehow Hart manages to escape, taking Judy as his hostage and arriving at the office with gun in hand. A call comes Mr. Tinsworthy, the company’s chairman of the board, has arrived and all go to meet him. He is elated the company has seen a 20 percent growth in the last month. The fun begins as Hart tries to explain what the trio has done to him.

Go see the show if you want to know the outcome. For tickets call the box office at 800-800-4942, ext. 2 or online at amishacres.com. You will be glad you did!

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