published Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Boss gets his comeuppance in '9 to 5: The Musical'

Anna Baker, Weslie Webster, Leila Nelson and Britt Hancock, clockwise from left, play the principal roles in "9 to 5: The Musical," which opens at the Cumberland County Playhouse.
Anna Baker, Weslie Webster, Leila Nelson and Britt Hancock, clockwise from left, play the principal roles in "9 to 5: The Musical," which opens at the Cumberland County Playhouse.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

IF YOU GO

What: "9 to 5: The Musical"

When: May 10-July 14

Where: Cumberland County Playhouse, 221 Tennessee St., Crossville, Tenn.

Admission: $13-$26

Phone: 931-484-5000

Website: www.ccplayhouse.com

If just for a moment, you could give your boss what he deserves. If just for a moment, you could turn the tables. If just for a moment, you could command him. What would you do?

Blur the screen, and cue the dream-sequence music.

The fate of their obnoxious boss is exactly what underlings Doralee, Violet and Judy ponder in "9 to 5: The Musical," which opens on Friday, May 10, at the Cumberland County Playhouse in Crossville, Tenn.

Based on the nonmusical 1980 movie of the same name, the production features songs and lyrics by Dolly Parton, who portrayed one of the three beleaguered secretaries in the film.

The play is set in 1979, said Bryce McDonald, who co-directs the show with Britt Hancock, who plays the obnoxious boss.

"These were secretaries," he said. "They didn't know what an administrative assistant was. What I like is you see these very different women becoming close friends and sisters. They change each others' lives. [They learn] they can do anything in a man's world."

McDonald said Patricia Resnick, who co-wrote the screenplay for the movie with Colin Higgins, wrote the book for the stage production. The story is basically the same, he said, with "some adjustments to make it musical-theater comedy."

"It's very close to the movie," he said.

The 15 songs are character-driven, according to McDonald, "and [as] in most musical theater productions, each is a little different musical style. All the songs further the plot. You could say it's a true, old-fashioned musical comedy."

The tunes have country and western, film noir, tango and "straight-up Broadway ballad" flavors, he said. Also included is the title song, which won two Grammy Awards, was nominated for an Academy Award and was the No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 for Parton in early 1981.

McDonald said he particularly likes the dream sequence, where each of the secretaries imagines how she would get even with her boss.

"Each lady's dream is a different song," he said, "with a different style. The dream keeps getting wilder as we go along."

The musical, like the movie, is rated PG-13.

Contact staff writer Clint Cooper at ccooper@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6497. Subscribe to his posts online at Facebook.com/ClintCooperCTFP.

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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