'9 to 5, the Musical' presented by Saint John Theatre Company
After a day’s delay owing to an illness in the company, Saint John Theatre Company’s final 22/23 Main Stage offering of ‘9 to 5 the Musical’ opened Thursday evening at the Imperial Theatre. It is the crown jewel of the Saint John Theatre Company season. It’s not many times one goes to the theatre where there’s a strong opening night buzzing and even rarer to know that everyone in the packed house had a blast.
9 to 5 the Musical is the story of three women; Violet, Doralee, and Judy who have had more than enough of dealing with their sexist, egotistical, and bigoted boss Franklin Hart Jr. Daydreams of tormenting Hart go from that to reality, as the three women continually find ways out of sticky situations.
The set was kept simple with three large pillars that moved and turn to quickly move from one scene to the next. A few desks moved on and off stage when needed. And the piece de resistance: the best use of video to help set the scenes including narration at the beginning and end of the show by the one and only Dolly Parton. Keeping the set simple made for snappy scene changes and kept the show moving at quite a clip.
What a company of talented artists this is. Led by three talented women Kizzy Kaye (Violet), Andrea Paddock (Doralee), and Jen Downey (Judy), each made the roles their own, which can be a challenge given the pedigree of those that came before them both on screen and stage. Bertis Sutton embodied the perfect amount of charm and slime needed to pull off Franklin Hart Jr. The show is full of great tunes created by Dolly Parton allowing each character to have a moment to shine.
Two moments in the show really stood out.
Jen Downey’s rendition of “Get Out and Stay Out” will bring you on a roller coaster ride of emotion. It’s hauntingly beautiful and Downey makes it seem easy. The subtlety with which she performs this number makes it that much better. The other moment, one that I know I will not soon forget, is “Heart to Hart” performed by Chelsea Cusack as Roz. Not only is it a great number for Cusack to really show off her dazzling voice but lets her show off her comedy chops. This was a number that brought the house down, and I’m sure it will do that at each performance.
9 to 5 the Musical is a spectacular way to wrap up a season. It’s guaranteed to be a fun-filled night out at the theatre. The show runs through May 28th (including a new matinee added) at the Imperial Theatre.
Visit imperialtheatre.ca for tickets and other information.