Hold on tight! Narrows Community Theater’s production of “9 to 5: THE MUSICAL” launches audiences through a cascade of emotions, ranging from excitement to awe.
And with this cast’s talent, how can it not? Based on the 1980 film of the same title, “9 to 5” navigates the struggle of three women, Judy (played by the inimitable Julia Dimant), Violet (a punchy and powerful Beth Smith) and Doralee (played by a lovable Angela Orlandi), as they work tirelessly day after day for a man whom Violet labels a “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” of a boss, Franklin Hart.
Judy, Violet and Doralee quickly form a friendship after commiserating about their misogynistic boss, and, in an uproariously funny scene, exchange drug-inspired murder fantasies about him with each other one evening. But at that moment, it seems as if the women can only dream of an office without Hart.
When Violet one day falls under the assumption that she has inadvertently poisoned her boss, she and her two colleagues panic as they contemplate how to avoid jail time. Hart, who has not been poisoned, learns of the mistake, and threatens the women with police intervention. Fed up with his impudence, the three women fashion a comical, yet punitive revenge scheme to keep Hart away from work and grant themselves a few days of freedom from him.
The three leading actresses complement each other brilliantly – their voices meld together in perfect harmony when singing, and they kindle each scene with a unique, playful hilarity while cleverly rendering the balance between the show’s more serious political themes and its lighthearted, humorous approach to those issues.
The actresses are not the only ones who captivate the audience, however. Like many shows, “9 to 5” depends heavily on its supporting characters and ensemble, both of which were correspondingly strong in this production.
Each musical number soared through the theater and thundered down with an electric energy. Harmonies were flawless, choreography (by Lisa Kassay) was delightfully spot-on, the orchestra (directed by Jonathan Parks) blended seamlessly with the actors’ singing on stage, and the show’s direction (Christian Fleming) was unquestionably intelligent, creative, carefully thought out and well executed.
What is equally as impressive are the multilayered set and aesthetic playground set designer Michael Vitucci has created on stage. The show is teeming with set changes: from the secretaries’ office to Judy’s house, from Judy’s house to Hart’s office, and more.
A large, rotating cubicle with each different set piece etched on each side (inside, the cube opens up into an entirely different set) made these set changes possible. Given the limited space with which the actors have to work, this was a clever and impressive feat for the stage crew.
In sum, NCT’s “9 to 5” is but another outstanding milestone in the canon of NCT productions. The final three performances of this show take place on Friday, May 17 at 8 p.m., Saturday, May 18 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, May 19, at 2 p.m. at Saint Patrick’s on Fourth Avenue and 96th Street. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for seniors, students under 21 and children. For more information, call 718-482-3173, email NCT@NCTheaterNY.com, or visit www.NYCTheaterNY.com.