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Two-week run for LRT's '9 to 5'

Becky Wood as Judy Bernly.
Becky Wood as Judy Bernly. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Lighthouse Repertory Theatre is getting ready to roll out its latest production, “Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 Broadway Musical.” 

The play opens March 8. It’s based on the 1980 movie that starred Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda as three women who work for a chauvinistic boss, played in the movie by Dabney Coleman. The women manage to trap him in his house while they assume control of his department, resulting in a leap in productivity.

The stage play was written by Patricia Resnick with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton. In addition to the catchy “9 to 5” tune featured in the movie, theater-goers will hear about 10 more songs written by Parton.

“We wanted to do something that would appeal to theater and non-theater people alike,” said Jenny Young, who co-directs the show with Kady Pomerleau-Corpstein. “It’s a movie; people would recognize it.”

To bring the audience up to snuff with who’s who, LRT even brought in a vision of the queen of Dollywood herself.

“At the beginning of the movie, we project Dolly Parton on stage,” said Young. “She gives the background history on each of the characters and what their story is.”

“We’ve got a nice big cast, about 20 on stage, 15 in the (orchestra) pit and about 10 people backstage doing things,” said Young. “There’s a lot of 30-somethings. It’s a sort of changing of the guard with LRT.”

The three women employees are played by Amy Wood as Doralee Rhodes, Carla Critz as Violet Newstead and Becky Wood as Judy Bernly. Bob Cochran plays the part of Franklin Hart Jr., the boss, also referred to as a “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.”

“Trying to bring that out in Bob is challenging ’cause he’s not that way at all,” said Young.

Hence the term, “acting.”

Critz plays the Lily Tomlin character from the movie. Becky Wood plays the Fonda character, and her daughter, Amy Wood, plays the Parton character. 

John Degler as the detective.
John Degler as the detective. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
“It’s really neat having a mother and daughter on stage,” said Young. 

“Getting men on stage is always a challenge, especially in this show ’cause there’s lots of men’s parts.”

She also said it was hard to find enough musicians due to the wide variety of music, which she described as “slow pop to jazz music, big band and then country-western.”

Costuming and stage propping proved to be difficult as well. “Creating an office from the past has been a challenge,” she said, “and finding clothes and stage items that look like 1979, not 2013.”

One of the scenes takes place in a hospital. “Becky Wood bought stuff from an auction when Seaside Hospital was closing, some old curtains and a machine that ran IVs. It helps with the retro look.”

Young said the actors have been rehearsing six days a week, instead of the usual four days. That made it harder for cast members to make it to every practice, including Amy Wood, who commutes to Crescent City from Humboldt where she goes to school at HSU.

Heather Dikes as Margaret the drunk.
Heather Dikes as Margaret the drunk. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
“It was a lot more difficult of a show than we anticipated,” Young said.

This is her second play co-directing with Pomerleau-Corpstein. The first was LRT’s most recent production, “Little Shop of Horrors.”

“We work really well together,” Young said. “We educate each other and work well as a team.”

Young emphasized that the PG-13-rated show is not suitable for young children due to adult content and language. But grown-ups will love it.

“It’s a really fun show.  It’s upbeat. It’s hilarious. A show everybody can relate to.”

Dolly Parton makes a performance by video projection.
Dolly Parton makes a performance by video projection. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
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