Theater Review: Fireside’s ‘9 to 5’ — a musical version of the comic movie

By Edith McCauley
Theater Critic

Currently playing at The Fireside Theatre in Fort Atkinson, Wis., Dolly Parton’s hit Broadway musical, 9 to 5, presents audiences with some lively country music that gives a new aspect to the movie that so many people enjoyed.

The staging at the Fireside puts the audience in direct contact with the cast who was miked, maybe unnecessarily. They consisted primarily of seniors, and they had no trouble hearing.

Having seen the film several times, we anticipated every joke, and the musical score added another dimension. The taped musical score also enhances the singers’ numbers. Julie Barnes plays Violet; Lisa Liaromatis, Doralee; and Jasmine Ryan, Judy. The three women are in conflict with Franklin Hart Jr. (Gary Lindemann), their dominating and anti-feminist boss. The plots they contrive often go awry, but justice prevails.

It was interesting to follow the plot in its new format. Parton has successfully written her country-style music, and her character, Doralee, played by Liaromatis, is the shapely, blonde-wigged reincarnation of the Dolly we all know so well.

The multiple characters fill the stage, and the challenge to Director Ed Flesch has been well accomplished. Mary Ehlinger’s musical direction and the choreography of Kate Swan give the production the complete professionalism we have come to expect at the Fireside.

My two guests enjoyed the entire day. Lunch was excellently prepared, and we enjoyed every bite, and as always, the service was impeccable. Upcoming performances include Legally Blonde, another film adaptation; the familiar Hello, Dolly!; and as a part of the series from Bible stories, The Rock and the Rabbi. Closing the season is Scrooge the Musical.

Many packages are available, and the Fireside offers much flexibility. Located in Fort Atkinson, Wis., it is only a short drive. For more details, call 1-800-477-9505 or go online at 9 to 5 runs through May 6.

From the March 28-April 3, 2012, issue

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