The Herald Bulletin

February 16, 2013

Musical ‘9 to 5’ puts bosses in their place, way back when

In Review

By Emma Bowen Meyer
For The Herald Bulletin

INDIANAPOLIS — For a window back to the time of Rolodexes, typewriters and phones with long tangly cords, visit Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre for “9 to 5 The Musical.”

The blast from the past features leisure suits, adding machines and office relationships that would cause lawsuits in today’s world.

Not only does Dolly Parton narrate the show via video recording, she also wrote the music and lyrics. Based on the 1980 film that starred Parton, the musical is every bit as outrageous — if not more so.

Centered around three women working in an office in 1979, the show is about their revenge after being overlooked regularly for promotions due to their gender. Although they work hard and have ideas for improving company productivity, they are relegated to the role of “girl” and asked to fetch coffee.

After fantasying about killing their “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” of a boss, they accidentally kidnap him in a moment of panic. Holding him hostage and forging his signature, they find their ideas for the office work perfectly.

If Crystal Mosser has any reservations about stepping into the role of the country music legend as Doralee Rhodes, it certainly doesn’t show. Marching on stage with all the presence and personality as Parton herself, Mosser offers a wonderful performance. Her voice is simply show stopping.

But hers is not the only one. The most delightful part about this production is that every lead voice is astonishing. Strong and clear, the vocals of Annie Edgerton (as Violet Newstead), Sarah Hund (as Judy Bernly) and Joanna Krupnick (as Roz) are perfection.

Also fun to watch are the scene changes. These had to be a challenge to orchestrate, as the spinning stage allows three sets that require actors to add and remove furniture at each scene change. Expertly and cleverly, sometimes as part of a dance, desks, chairs and even a bed appear and disappear as needed.

A warning to prospective visitors is that the stage show is fairly racy. Seeing several preteen girls in the audience, I cringed for their parents during certain points during the show. Perhaps the movie was equally racy and I didn’t notice due to my young age, but it seemed that the stage show topped the movie in this regard.

While the storyline is silly, the high-energy performance is fun to watch. The dancing on desktops makes office work look exciting, the unparalleled voices are entrancing and the chemistry between the characters is delightful.