`9 to 5' plot shows safety in numbers

Posted

She may come across as “Backwoods Barbie,” but behind that blond bimbo image, there's a mind like a steel trap. Dolly Parton wrote lyrics and music for “9 to 5: The Musical” to Patricia Resnick's book, which includes a blond and buxom Parton-like Doralee Rhodes (Alison Mueller) as one of a trio of women who take over the company that has looked down on them.

The other two are a feisty Violet Newstead (Margie Lamb) and new girl Judy Bernly (Lisa Finnerty).

The nemesis of this testy trio — and of the other employees in the cast of 19 — is one Franklin Hart Jr., played with broad comic strokes by the skilled Seth Caikowski. All bring fine voices and stage presence to this musical, based on the 1980 movie of the same name.

The musical opened in Los Angeles in 2008 and on Broadway in 2009, where it had a short run, followed by national and British tours.

Alarm clocks ring as each character gets ready to face another day at Consolidated Industries, under Hart's thumb.

Parton's music is bright, bouncy and not well-known. It's fun to hear. The theme is feminist, but not overpoweringly so.

Kelly Kates' choreography is creative and suits the tongue-in-cheek story throughout. Tina Anderson's set works quite smoothly through many changes, managed by the cast.

Hart's one fan is assistant Roz, nicely played by Jona Alonzo, who issues orders, takes notes on others and reports to him.

The intrepid trio manages to send her off on a trip and capture Hart at his home.

Act II finds Violet ensconced as the first female CEO, Hart still missing and the discovery, via Doralee, that he's been cooking the books and stealing from Consolidated. Employee Joe, who is sweet on Violet, offers to use his accounting skills to help make a case against Hart.

Through a number of well-designed song-and-dance production numbers and some over-the-top goofy plot switches, things get sorted out. Christopher Willard's firm hand as director keeps things moving to a rousing finale.

The audience cheers various little victories along the way. Suitable for older kids as well as their parents.

If you go

“9 to 5: the Musical” plays through March 24 at Town Hall Arts Center, 2450 W. Main St., downtown Littleton. Performances: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays and 6:30 p.m. March 17. Tickets: $20-$40, 303-794-2787, townhallartscenter.com.