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    Bit to Do

    CenterStage 9 to 5
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    Get ready to “pour [yourself] a cup of ambition” and unabashed Dolly delight. This show is the musical version of a total feel-good, spicy cup of hot coffee. Much like the glittering, incomparable Dolly Parton (the sassy superstar behind this sparkling brainchild) CenterStage's 9 to 5 has impeccable comedic timing as well as a pulse that beats with bona fide strength to the core. Above all, this is a show with a warm heart; you should expect nothing less with Dolly at the helm.

    Artistic Director John Leffert knows how to whittle a sharp opening number like none other. It’s a glorious blast to the past. Step back into the 1970’s, when the mere idea of a woman running corporate as CEO could only live in a fantasy; when hair was big and sexism was even bigger; and thus springs to life a hilarious caper with three women who brazenly dare to make their dreams of justice a reality.

    As soon as Act I surges onto the stage with a gorgeous set that mixes office geometrical structure with shimmering petal pinks, lilacs, ceruleans, and silvers, Frank Goodloe III’s choreography leaps into life. It’s a testament to the production that even small role ensemble dancers like Lars Hafell and Alfred Jones, Jr. infused every moment they were on stage with animated personality. Major congratulations to Scenic Designer Wes Shofner and Costume Designer Butch Sager, as the world created is so vivid in its tongue-in-cheek feistiness that you at times question whether you bought a ticket or took a DeLorean back in time. A small stage worked beautifully with the swift movement of props and constant scenery changes, adding to the hustle and bustle of the 9 to 5 atmosphere.

    The three leads in particular were cast as if straight out of Dolly’s imagination. We last saw Jessica Adamson as Ms. Walker in Tommy, a heart-wrenching, powerful role. To watch her take on the Dolly-inspired character Dora Lee with such believable bravura after such a dark role makes her star turn in this production all the more impressive. In’s interview with Leffert, he praised Adamson and said, “Her voice fits the show like no other” and “stylistically, it’s perfect for her.” Julie McGuffey as ringleader Violet commands the stage with wit at every turn. It has always been a treat to watch CenterStage favorite Lauren McCombs let her talents soar, particularly in such an evolving role as Judy Bernly. McCombs compels you to follow her story of rejected, battered divorcee to liberated independent woman. You find yourself cheering on these underdogs and reveling in every step of their mischief against depraved boss Mr. Hart (played with facetious immorality, complete with cartoonish mustache twirling, by Rusty Henle; always one to knock hilarity out of the park).

    In a modern-day context, a story like this refuels the fight against any injustice of the world. As long as there are those grounded in passion who know how to go after a world of truth and equality, no matter what baddies lay at bay, the downtrodden will find a voice to rise above the madness. Dolly Parton’s tale will resonate with anyone who has faced discrimination or has felt down on his or her luck. This musical is for those who will chuckle knowingly at the life behind working in a cubicle. A show that is an anthem for the lovelorn to find reinvigorated purpose and courage.  For those that wish they could just change their circumstances in a monumental way, CenterStage’s 9 to 5 will leave you feeling “unfettered and unbound” in the most joyous way possible. 


    * Thursday, August 20 at 7:30
    * Saturday, August 22 at 7:30
    * Sunday, August 23 at 2 and 7 pm
    * Monday, August 24 at 7:30
    * Thursday, August 27 at 7:30
    * Saturday, August 29 at 7:30
    * Sunday, August 30 at 2 and 7 pm

    You can order tickets by calling 502-238-2709 or by clicking here. Call the box office at 502-459-0660 for further questions.

    Children (10 and under): $16
    Adults: $20

    Because everyone needs more Dolly in their lives!

    Photos: Courtesy of JCC CenterStage's facebook page

    Julie Lamb's picture

    About Julie Lamb

    Curly-haired owner of one massive sweet tooth, believer of Harry Potter and Disney fairytales, and a fierce lover of all things literary and the arts.

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