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‘9 to 5’ at Claremont’s Candlelight Pavilion is fun as always — and timely

By in Press Enterprise on November 11, 2017

By Frances Baum Nicholson

The stage musical version of “9 to 5,” the iconic feminist movie from 1980, had its birth at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, then a Broadway run in 2008.

With music by Dolly Parton, who originally wrote the title song for the film, it brought back the feisty trio of Violet, Judy and Doralee, whose kidnapping of their vindictive, sexist boss and subsequent running of the office in his name not only turns their company’s productivity around but empowers each of the women in ways they need most.

Now at Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theater in Claremont, the show stands up well for the most part. There is, of course, Parton’s songs — many of them significantly memorable — to provide the most important underpinning to the enterprise. The cast proves energetic and consistently engaged, and by and large the end result proves satisfying. The only challenge, really, in this as in any production is finding the edgy vitality so necessary to the three central women who power the piece.

Most certainly, the trappings are there and work very well. Director John Vaughn’s pacing and choreography let an able ensemble set a vibrant tone for the increasingly happy workplace. Chuck Ketter’s set design allows the admittedly episodic tale to flow easily from one scene to the next.

The supporting players, especially Orlando Montes’ touching portrayal of Violet’s potential love interest, and Rachel McLaughlan, as Roz, the secretary comically obsessed with the boss the others abhor, round out the storyline and the feel of the piece in important ways. Ernie Marchain manages to make Mr. Hart — the boss — just as slimy and condescending as one would hope, another necessity.

As the three who provide the show’s focus, Juliet Schulein makes a terrific Violet — commanding and fragile by turns, with an innate toughness that […]    

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