News Column

Time's right for '9 to 5' Danbury staging

July 10, 2013

YellowBrix

July 10--Rather than serve up a trusty classic show, Musicals at Richter in Danbury is presenting the recent, underrated Broadway musical "9 to 5," with music and lyrics by country great Dolly Parton.

Based on the 1980 movie of the same title, the 2009 Broadway production closed after a six-month run, despite Parton's pleasing score and well-reviewed star turns by Allison Janney and a pre-"Smash" Megan Hilty.

Parton's score (which mixed new material with the title tune from the film) was nominated for Tony and Drama Desk awards.

Despite the failure of the show to click on Broadway, it has been produced by more than a dozen regional theaters around the country over the past four years. Last summer, Rhode Island's Theatre By the Sea came up with the clever idea of pairing the musical with a production of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."

"9 to 5" is running through July 20 in the outdoor theater in Richter Park. The artistic director, Donald Birely, has staged the musical, with choreography by Jen Turey of Newtown.

Melinda Zupaniotis of Norwalk, who is president of the Bridgeport Theatre Company, is featured in the cast, along with Juliette Garrison Koch of Millbrook, NY; and Lauren Nicole Sherwood and George Alberts of Norwalk.

The Musicals at Richter season will continue with a new production of the 1966 Broadway hit, "Sweet Charity," from July 26 to August 10.

For ticket information, call 203-748-6873.

Stage Allicance

The Downtown Cabaret Theatre and the Bridgeport Theatre Company announced a new "Community Theatre Series" partnership last week that will provide the BTC with a new base and allow the DCT to present musicals to its customers without the enormous expense of professional production costs.

"It's really been a matter of being in the right place at the right time for both theatres," DCT executive producer Hugh Hallinan said. "We have the theater, the facilities and years of experience and the non-profit Bridgeport Theatre Company, originally housed at the Playhouse on the Green, has been searching for a permanent home. ... It's a good match."

The BTC slate will augment the Cabaret's musical presentations, like the recent Barbra Streisand-Frank Sinatra fantasy concert that sold out all three performances.

The 2013-2014 season will include "Little Shop of Horrors," "Dreamgirls," "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Shrek."

Star couple

Tony-winner Joanna Gleason and her husband, Chris Sarandon of Fairfield, have joined the cast of the benefit reading of "Any Wednesday" at the Westport Country Playhouse on Monday, July 29 at 7 p.m.

The frothy 1964 comedy about a New York City businessman and his mistress will star Melissa Joan Hart in the role that won the longtime Westport resident Sandy Dennis her second Tony.

The benefit will fund the "Play in Hand" reading series at the Playhouse. For ticket information, call 203-227-4177.

jmeyers@ctpost.com; http://twitter.com/joesview

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