Monday, November 3, 2008

MUSICAL MONDAY... 9 to 5 The Musical

As I am sharing my US journey with you, I have reached LA. You will see and read all about the fun and amazing things that we did in LA, but on the Saturday night we went to see the world premiere/preview of 9 to 5: The Musical.

Some shows have it and some shows don't. This one does not have it.

And I hated that it didn't have it. I really really really wanted 9 to 5 The Musical to be good! All of the elements were there: a fantastic cast, Dolly Parton lyrics and a premises from one of the best movies ever!

What was done to the song "9 to 5" was shocking. It was totally changed into one of those horrible over arranged musical numbers, almost like one of those group performances on American Idol. I know you know what I am talking about and I sure hope you actually do know what I am talking about because I can't talk about it any more.

After that there were some other boring songs and we are introduced to some other boring things and more boring characters.

Oh yeah! The sets! The sets were totally stale, over simple and relied heavily on computer animation, which I hate. There was however a clever use of trap doors. It is terrible of me, but I just kept waiting for one of the actors to fall down it and wake me up.

The costumes by William Ivey Long (my mentor from afar)? Nothing special or over-the-top, pretty much exactly like we all dressed in 1979.

Somewhere towards the end or middle of the first act (I can't really remember because it felt like an eternity) Doralee (played by Megan Hilty) introduces us to her character with the upbeat and fantastically well sung "Backwoods Barbie".

I am not sure if Megan Hilty was trying to do an impersonation of Dolly Parton in this role, or if there truly is no other way to do it. But then I thought, who cares?!

Doralee is probably the one role which cannot stray too far away from the movie, she is the sparkle and the glam.

From that point the show picked up. The music became excellent and the dialogue more witty.

That is until the three characters got high after work and started to fantasize... or something... about how they would kill the boss. I took another nap.

Surprisingly, Allison Janney (as Violet) has a big song and dance number a little later on. OK, she doesn't have much of a voice but makes up for it in character. Out of the three leads, she was the most endearing and I really wished she was my fake mom or aunt or something.

So then sometime later, Judy, played by Stephanie J Block, who has the most boring character ever known anywhere in the world, is at her boss's house... you know where he is tied up in his bedroom? Her ex husband comes over and wants her back, but Judy is having none of that!

She throws him out of the house with a grand statement that was "Get Out and Stay Out". If you are going to see this on Broadway, Stephanie J Block has a voice that will make you fall right out of your seat... in the good way.

I almost forgot to mention that the office snitch, Roz, has a song, but she just gets on my every last nerve. I was hoping she was the one the would accidentally fall down the trap door.

There is some potential here only if major changes are made before it opens in Broadway. For instance a few less songs, a bit more character development and better editing so that one does not get confused by scenes which just didn't seem to have much purpose.

Also, I need to get a shout-out to Ann Harada. Ann Harada played Christmas Eve from Avenue Q. Honey, your part is so small in this show that it seems a waste that a talent like you is even playing it.

I love Dolly Parton, I really do. I wish her the best of luck with this show, but it is far from being refined enough for the Great White Way.

PS - My LA celebrity experience happened afterwards waiting for the valet. Standing next to us was Nia Vardalos and her husband Ian Gomez. I know what you are thinking: Who and who? Nia Vardalos is the My Big Fat Greek Wedding woman and Ian Gomez was on The Drew Carey Show. Or both of them together in 'Connie and Carla'.

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