News Column

Working 9 to 5 [Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA)]

June 13, 2013


if you go Play: "9 To 5: The Musical" Performers: The Grand Opera House Times/dates: 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, June 21-22, and Thursday-Saturday, June 27-29; 2 p.m. Sunday June 23 and 30. Site: The Grand Opera House Cost: $20 for adults and $12 for those younger than 21 (recommended for audiences 13 and older). synopsis Three female workers get even with their boss by kidnapping him and taking over the company.When "9 to 5: The Musical" opens, the character of Doralee explains that it takes place in an earlier era, when apples and blackberries were things you picked.

The 1980 office-revenge comedy starred Dolly Parton as Doralee.

"It's like the movie, but not word for word," said director Jeff Tebbe, who stepped up to the job with barely a week's notice when the original director for the Grand Opera House production backed out. Tebbe is no stranger to directing for the Grand, having been at the helm for productions of "Chicago," "Singin' in the Rain" and "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat."

It's crucial to the plot that it be kept in a pre-cellphone era, since (spoiler alert!), someone gets tied up with a phone cord.

Tebbe said one of the challenges of the show has been finding props, such as typewriters and landlines.

Many of the cast members are high school and college age and weren't born when the film was out. Most, however, were familiar with the title song, which was a Parton hit.

The country singer collaborated on the songs for the play; the film wasn't a musical. Tebbe said musical director Brian Burns senses her hand in many of the numbers

Every song includes the chorus and ensemble.

"The chorus people are loving it," he said, of the 17-member cast. Some of the music is written for six parts.

Megan MacLeod, who also worked on "Singin' in the Rain," did the choreography.

In some of the office numbers, Tebbe said he created "a blocking pattern of people doing office stuff. She 'dancified' it. We collaborated. At the beginning of the show, the men rule. The first time you see the office in motion, men aren't doing anything but drinking coffee and handing work to women."

By the time the song "Change It," comes up, the work flow dance looks more equal.

"It's a fun, fun show," Tebbe said. "The songs are infectiously catchy."

He said audiences don't have to be familiar with the movie.

"It's still a fresh story," he said. "Most people can relate to what it's like to work in an office and have a bad boss."

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