April 8, 2019
Saginaw Valley State University student-actors plan to put a modern — and musical — spin on a beloved 1980 film following three working-class women getting even with their boss.
The curtains open for "9 to 5: The Musical" from Wednesday to Sunday, April 10-14, at SVSU's Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts.
Based in part on the movie featuring Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, "9 to 5: The Musical" features music written by Parton, who also sang the catchy 1980 radio hit of the same name.
The three female leads for SVSU's production are Abby Burgess, a Commerce Township theatre major cast in the role originally played by Parton; Brianne Dolney, a Bay City resident portraying Fonda's old character; and Jessica Hurley, an Essexville native in the part once occupied by Tomlin.
Dolney, a theatre and political science major, said the musical offers hearty roles for the three leads. The plot places the co-workers in a challenging office environment in 1970s New York City.
“Each is facing her own unique struggles in her own way, but they all come together to overcome them," Dolney said. "It’s about friendship, sisterhood, and women fighting back against hypocritical bigots."
Ric Roberts, the play's director and an SVSU professor of theatre, said the timing was right for the university to produce a story about female empowerment.
“SVSU has the luxury of looking at the school’s acting pool and deciding our next production based on the talent," he said. "This year, we are very female-heavy in talent."
Roberts said, even though the script is from 1979, the topic is relevant to today's social struggles reflected in the #MeToo movement and the fight for equal pay.
“Women have put up with so much for so long," Dolney said. "This story is about a group of women who decided enough was enough."
Hurley, a theatre major, said she can relate to her character of Violet Newstead.
"I also share my character's dream of wanting to become a female CEO in a business world that is mainly dominated by men,” she said. “The message of this story is that you can do anything if you set your mind to it, regardless of your gender or any other external factor.”
Hurley anticipated audience members of all ages will enjoy the musical, first performed on Broadway and Los Angeles stages more than a decade ago.
“This story is one that you will find yourself laughing, crying and everything in between,” said the theatre major.
“9 to 5: The Musical” is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. performances Wednesday through Saturday, April 10-13, and a 3 p.m. performance Sunday, April 14.
Tickets are $16 for general admission, $14 for senior citizens aged 60 and older, and $12 for students. Tickets can be purchased online now.
For more information, please contact the SVSU Box Office at (989) 964-4261.