Performers from Yadkin and Surry counties put their employment experience to use as well as their acting capability in the Foothills Theatre’s summer performance “9 to 5” which opens this Thursday.
Originally a movie of the same name released by 20th Century Fox, the surprising comedy hit was turned into a musical first performed on Broadway in April 2009. Ironically, this movie was a turning point in the careers of screenwriter Patricia Resnick and Dolly Parton, who wrote music and lyrics for the film as well as the play.
The story is based on several working women in an age when sexism was expected, although things were changing. The audience follows Judy (a woman learning to be on her own for the first time), Doralee (an attractive secretary tired of the boss’s advances), and Violet (a hardworking secretary tired of the boss taking credit for her work.)
“Fans of the movie will love the play as it follows very much the same story line,” said cast member Kitsey Burns Harrison, of Boonville.
Although the musical is revealed primarily through the perspective of these three distinct personalities becoming friends over their mutual disgust with their oppression, it is the character of Roz, the boss’s personal assistant, that appeals to Aspen Jackson, who plays Doralee.
“She is very persistent,” explained Jackson, who enjoys watching the movie with her mom. “She knows what she wants and tries to go after it, and I see a lot of her in me.”
Playing Violet, Susan Lawrence, who was completely unfamiliar with the story when trying out for the musical, agreed, “Her character’s just so fun.”
Roz is not in Lawrence’s preferred scene, however. “When we’re all high and talking about how we want to kill our boss,” is the moment Lawrence most enjoys playing. “We’re supposed to be relaxed and goofing off on stage anyway so it’s no big deal if we mess up.”
With all the rehearsal put in by the cast of 20, mistakes are not likely.
“Everyone has worked so hard,” said Director and Producer Kim Arnold, who also did the choreography.
Arnold seemed pleased to be working with so many veterans of the Foothills Theatre. “We have many repeat actors of stage,” said Arnold, noting the productions frequently have familiar participants such as Gary Zickmund, who will be playing Mr. Tinsworthy, although he did not anticipate such a large role.
“I’m usually shuttling my wife and son back and forth to [rehearsals],” said Zickmund jokingly. “It has been a great experience.”
Tickets for the Foothills Theatre’s production of “9 to 5” can be purchased for $10 at the door. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. July 20-22 and at 2:30 p.m. on July 23 at Elkin High School’s Dixon Auditorium located at 334 Elk Spur St.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.