Editor’s note: This story was written by Mackenzie Moller.
Saint Mary’s students completed their production of Dolly Parton’s musical “9 to 5” yesterday after running Feb. 20-23 in the Page Theatre.
“9 to 5” is based on the 1980 film of the same title. The book was written by Patricia Resnick with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton. The show follows three female coworkers who plan to get rid of their sexist boss so that they can run the office the way they want to.
“This musical is an embodiment of the feminist movement in the 1970s,” said dramaturge and actor, John Huevos. “It’s a musical that tackles the working man’s issues and highlights how together we are more powerful.”
“I chose this production for the strong female leads,” said director and SMU professor, Judy Myers. She wanted to highlight the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage by directing a musical that empowers women. “The message of ‘9 to 5’ is that when women work together they can accomplish anything.”
Each of the female characters in the show exemplify a different issue women face in the workforce, and all of these battles are still being fought today, said Myers.
The character Violet Newstead, played by Annabeth Kerr, represents the idea that women do not have to be soft, and that they can have it all if they want to.
Doralee Rhodes, played by Olivia Beauchamp, is a character inspired by Dolly Parton. She embodies the struggle women face when assumptions about them are based solely on their appearance.
Judy Bernly, portrayed by Emme Jones, showcases that women can be independent in every aspect of their life, and that they do not need a partner to succeed.
Kerr, a senior at SMU who is using this production as her grad project, explains the song “Change It” as the song with the most powerful message in the show. “We can change the way we want to be perceived,” said Kerr. “It shows that you can do it if you try.” The song occurs in the second act of the musical, and showcases the characters working together to better the dynamic of their office now that their sexist boss is gone.
Another strong message in the show, according to Kerr, appears in the song “Shine Like the Sun.” This song appears at the end of the first act. The line is “They say we always get what we deserve whether good, bad, or indifferent.” Each of the characters ends up getting what they deserve throughout the course of the show, just like in life.
“This is the most ensemble thing I’ve done,” said Myers. It was important to her that each member of the cast felt like they had enough to do, and like they were a part of a community that works together. “I want people to walk away [from the show] feeling positive about how people can work together, and how women can change their destiny,” said Myers.