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Theater Review: "9 to 5: The Musical"

Photo credit:
Ken Jacques

Ever have a misogynist, lecherous jerk of a boss that made you fantasize about inflicting a slow, painful (or at least humiliating) death on him?

The trio of hard-working ladies in “9 to 5: The Musical” have one of those bosses, and they’re here to take charge of him and the office through Feb. 26 in San Diego Musical Theatre’s 10th season opener.

Cynthia Ferrer directs the musical inspired by the 1980 film that starred Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda.

Patricia Resnick wrote the book; Parton the songs and lyrics.

This show has a late 1970s vibe, well illustrated in Janet Pitcher’s costumes and Parton’s jaunty country/rock score that gets the toes tapping. Credit also the fine 12-man band capably led by Don LeMaster.

When new girl Judy (Allison Spratt Pearce) arrives at Consolidated Industries, Inc., having “spent my entire adult life caring for a husband who just left me for a 19-year-old named Mindy,” old hand Violet (Joy Yandell) shows her the ropes.

Yandell’s Violet is long-suffering but seething, as she waits for a deserved promotion that doesn’t come. 

The boss in question is Franklin Hart (played deliciously if disgustingly by David S. Humphrey), who almost gleefully admits to being “a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical, bigot.” He’s also a serial cheater on his wife.

Hart’s current victim is blonde, busty Doralee (Karyn Overstreet, with a down-home attitude and a voice that can be heard in El Cajon), who is shunned by the others because of the (incorrect) assumption that she’s sleeping with Hart. 

But sisterhood and love eventually win out. Revenge is accidental (but still sweet) when Vi mistakenly puts rat poison instead of sweetener in Hart’s coffee, and the ladies take over the office.

Pearce is terrific as the new girl Judy, who finally realizes “I do not need a man” and announces that she will write a memoir with a delicious title.

Candi Milo does a hilarious turn as Roz, Hart’s frumpy and officious personal assistant, hopelessly (and inexplicably) in love with the boss.

Tamlyn Shusterman’s sprightly choreography (especially in the tap numbers) is impressive, Christina J. Martin’s lighting design is excellent and Kevin Anthenill’s sound design is up to his usual high standards.

Okay, this is slight fare, but for once womyn power prevails, and how can you argue with that? And SDMT proves once again that they can produce a musical with the best of them.

The details

“9 to 5: The Musical’’ plays through February 26, 2017 at the Spreckels Theatre, 121 Broadway, downtown.

Thursday at 7:30 pm.; Friday and Saturday at 8 pm.; Sunday at 2 pm.

Tickets: (858) 560-5740 or sdmt.org