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October 26, 2014

Clockwatchers: CAST makes light work of classic comedy film ‘9 to 5’

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Posted: Sunday, April 20, 2014 1:05 am

Monday through Friday it’s the same routine — get up, go to work, come home, complain about work. After spending eight hours a day, five days a week in the same environment, it’s only natural to develop friends and enemies — and, in some cases, partners in crime.

That’s how Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton got through the day in the ’80s workplace comedy “9 To 5.” And the cheery title song, with its underlying message of equality and respect, still resonates today. The movie’s popularity is what CAST artistic director Kim Dobbs is banking on with her choice to stage the film-turned-musical as the final show of the season.

“I’ve been trying to reach out to folks that may not come to (the) theater very often, so I chose a title that I knew people knew. They know the song, they know the film and they love Dolly Parton,” she said. “This is not your typical Broadway musical. It seemed to me like it would reach out to a broader audience.”

Fans of the 1980 film about three women who take revenge on their sexist boss will be delighted to see the play is not far off from the original plot. The characters navigate the pitfalls of office politics — being passed over for a promotion, finding friends as the new employee and trying to ignore watercooler gossip. The film’s hilarious and bawdy approach to these issues are what actor Mike Tyson remembered when he decided to go out for the role of chauvinistic, two-timing boss Franklin Hart.

“I thought Dabney Coleman was a really good actor, and I thought it would be fun to play that part,” Tyson said of the film actor’s performance. “He is pretty much a cheater, and he gets his in the end.”

A central plot point revolves around secretary Doralee Rhodes finding out that Hart has been perpetuating rumors they have slept together. The lies have made Doralee feel isolated at work for reasons she can’t pinpoint until later.

“She’s kind of just oblivious to what everybody thinks,” said Tonya Yarborough, who plays Doralee in the CAST production. “I don’t think she’s a very judgemental type of person and the workplace can be a very harsh place at times — especially in the ’70s for a woman.”

Doralee, played by Parton in the film, is originally from Texas and the role requires a fair share of singing, which Yarborough is prepared to do her way.

“But there’s still going to be a Southern twist to it,” she said. As a recent transplant from South Carolina, Yarborough has only worked with CAST for a year, but says she is happy with both her new city and the local theater scene.

“I’m just so pleased to be able to play the role of Doralee, and hope that I do Dolly Parton proud,” said Yarborough. “That’s kind of a big brassiere to step in to.”

IF YOU GO…

WHAT: CAST presents “9 To 5: The Musical”

WHEN: April 24-May 4; Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

WHERE: McClellan Auditorium, 100 Gamecock Drive

TICKETS: $15 adults, $10 students; available online at castevents.ticketleap.com

INFO: Online visit www.castalabama.com or call 256-820-CAST

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