Friday, July 03, 2009

Review: 9 to 5: The Musical

Three words: Loved. This. Show.

If you've seen the movie, then you already know the plot of 9 to 5: The Musical. The story stays pretty true, except how they tie things up at the end, and all of the most recognizable lines in the film have been preserved here in the play's dialogue.

I don't think I can say enough wonderful things about the new songs penned by Dolly Parton. The show starts off with the familiar 9 to 5, and then it is an all new score of 18 songs from there. I was a little leery, but each song was really good on its own and did a great job of sticking to the story and moving it forward. The melodies are catchy and lyrics witty.

Alison Janny, who plays the role of Violet originated by Lily Tomlin, is the headliner and star. Her singing skills are a bit lacking, more of talking in tune with the music rather than singing, but the ensemble frequently joins in and gives her ample cover.

Megan Hilty, a veteran of Wicked in the role of Glenda, plays the role originated by Dolly Parton to the hilt. She's got the southern twang down and adds her own spin that gets the audience laughing.

I'm going to call out Jeremy Davis from the ensemble. In a non-speaking role, he always looked like he was playing to the audience and having the time of his life up there performing on stage. I found myself watching him during the clever song and dance segues between scenes.

My main criticism is going to seem a bit sophomoric — Marc Kudisch, who plays the part of Mr. Hart orginated by Dabney Coleman, is extremely bow legged! I mean, distractingly bow legged. That's all I have to say about that.

I highly recommend the show for a fantastic night on the town. Ticket prices have gone up in the past year with best seats going for $127 of which I paid $78 (40% off + commission) at the TKTS booth.

The show is playing at the Marquis Theatre on the mezzanine level of the Marriott Marquis Hotel located at Broadway and 45th. The theater is deceptively big, seating almost 1,600 patrons, but seems quite a bit smaller. All seats are pretty close to the stage with minimal sight line issues only for those in seats on the far left and right aisles.

The theatre was built in 1986. I saw The Drowsy Chaperone there in 2007 and went there in 1993 to see Broadway star Bernadette Peters and Martin Short in The Goodbye Girl. It's nice and clean with easy and quick access.

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