If you’ve had enough of elections for a millennium or two, why not relax with a little Broadway and a lot of office politics with the MTSU Theatre production of the multi-award-nominated “9 to 5: The Musical” Nov. 8-11?
The cast and crew are turning Tucker Theatre into “Consolidated Industries” headquarters for the duration, bursting into song and dance accompanied by an office symphony of clacking keyboards and ringing phones. And of course, it’s all from the mind of one of Tennessee’s gifts to the universe, Dolly Parton.
Curtain times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 8-10, and there’s a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, Nov. 11.
Tickets, available now at MTSUArts.com and at the box office, are $15 general admission and $10 for K-12 students and senior citizens. MTSU students will be admitted free with a current ID.
Director and MTSU theatre professor Kristi Shamburger, who’s been guiding the university’s recent superstar musicals like “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Peter Pan,” “West Side Story” and “Les Misérables” with musical director Raphael Bundage, a professor of vocal performance in MTSU’s School of Music, says this semester’s big show is one of the best opportunities they’ve had to entertain audiences.
“It’s a ride down memory lane for those of us who lived through the late ’70s and early ’80s, and it’s a joyful way to celebrate what was such an entertaining and poignant film,” Shamburger says. “It contains all of the iconic moments and characters you know and love — or love to hate — from the movie and adds more music from the incredibly talented Dolly Parton!
“This is a huge and fast-paced show, so once we’re rolling, it goes by quickly. … It’s not just funny; it is sentimental, and it is empowering. The three leads each have a dream sequence or a fantasy of how they would like to get back at (their boss) Mr. Hart for poor treatment, and those have been a LOT of fun to imagine and put together.”
Senior theatre major Dallas Boudreaux of Knoxville portrays the leader of the trio of “9 to 5” workplace avengers, Violet Newstead, the efficient senior office manager who mostly seethes silently in interactions with their horrible boss Franklin Hart, played by fellow senior Donovan Hughes of Memphis. The two worked together in last year’s MTSU production of “How I Learned to Drive,” where Boudreaux’s character survived even worse #MeToo experiences with Hughes’ character.
“I usually stick to more dramatic pieces of theatre, but ‘9 to 5’ is fun and kitschy,” Boudreaux explains. “I’ve loved getting to know the cast and getting to do such a fun, girl-powered show. … I feel like it’s a pretty underrated piece of feminist theater. This show has such empowering messages, and getting to work in a space that’s completely run by women is really exciting.”
Castmate Mileah Milstead, a senior from McMinnville, Tennessee, who plays Judy Bernly, a bashful woman forced into her first job by her husband’s adultery, says she’s modeled her portrayal on the strong women in her own life.
“My process was different for this show, because I was able to heavily draw from personal experience, which is quite unlike the other roles I have played in the past,” Milstead says. “I love being able to tell Judy’s story so very much. I just hope everyone feels the camaraderie and empowerment that I feel every time I perform with this special, talented cast!”
Newcomer Erin Burrow of Lafayette, Tennessee, a sophomore theatre teaching major making her MTSU Theatre debut, rounds out the leads as Doralee Rhodes, the sweet-sounding, tough-talking executive secretary role Parton made her own in the film version of “9 to 5.”
You can see a complete cast and crew listing for the MTSU Arts production of “9 to 5: The Musical” here, and a preview video is available above.
“This is a fantastic and fun cast with a lot of energy,” says director Shamburger. “We’ve been working diligently to put together a show that will make you laugh, surprise you, entertain you and hopefully inspire you with perhaps a sentimental tear from time to time as well!”
Tucker Theatre is fully accessible for people with disabilities, including those with hearing, vision and mobility impairments, and the show features closed-captioning.
Tickets also will be available at the Tucker Theatre box office one hour before curtain times. For more information about the show, visit www.mtsuarts.com.
— MTSU News and Media Relations (firstname.lastname@example.org)