9 to 5: The Show that Empowered

By Katie Keyser
Staff Writer

The cast of 9 to 5 kidnapped the audience’s attention on Feb. 13-15.

The musical 9 to 5 centers around three women as they undergo challenges placed upon them by the inconsiderate and oppressive men in their lives. Judy Bernley’s (Emma Watkins ’14) husband recently left her, causing her to get her first job as a secretary at Consolidated Companies. Violet Newstead (Morgan Spivey ’14), who has worked at Consolidated for many years, is not given a promotion by her boss, Mr. Hart (Eric Stefanowics ’15) because she is a woman. All the workers hate Doralee Rhodes (Jessie Powell ’15), who also works at Consolidated, because Mr. Hart tells them that he and Doralee are having an affair.

“We’ve been thinking about doing 9 to 5 since last year at this time,” Marisa Green, music teacher and co-director of the winter musical said. “We knew that when we chose to do Guys and Dolls last year, which was a show that featured a lot of strong male characters and a really big male ensemble, that we would love to do a show to balance it out, one that had multiple strong female characters.”

At the end of the show, Violet accidentally puts rat poison in Mr. Hart’s coffee, and he threatens to call the police.  To avoid going to jail, the three kidnap Mr. Hart. Meanwhile, they impersonate him in order to make changes at Consolidated to create a better and more comfortable working environment. In the process, with the help of accountant Joe (Codi Yhap ’16), they uncover evidence that Mr. Hart has been stealing money from the company.

9 to 5 was different from the other shows I’ve seen at Peddie because it really empowers women,” Kelsie Sirak ’16, audience member said. “During the time period this was set in, women weren’t shown the same respect as men and this musical exemplifies the struggles women went through even if it was comedic in this show.”

“My favorite song in it is a tie between ‘Shine Like the Sun’ and ‘One of the Boys’ because they both really illustrate the empowerment of the women characters that is taking place,” Spivey said. “9 to 5 has a great storyline with moving undertones, and the script is written with such life that it produces a great energy level.”

“My favorite scene to perform was ‘Shine like the Sun’ because it is one of the most empowering songs I have ever sung in my life,” Powell said. “It brought me goose bumps every time I had the opportunity to sing it on stage.”

While the musical had an overall serious plot, there were many funny parts of the show.

“My favorite scene to perform was ‘Heart to Hart’, it was so much fun to play a part so wild,” Katherine Benham ’16 said, who played Mr. Hart’s plotting secretary, Roz. “I loved the energy that the cast brought. It was amazing to participate in it.”

Set crew worked hard to make the set come to life before and during the performances of 9 to 5.

“We started Dec. 2 and the bulk of the structure was completed by Jan. 25,” Technical Coordinator John Lucs said. “The set to 9 to 5 has the main office structure which is 2 stories tall, then we have the 6 tracking large set panels, and finally you have all the larger rolling prop scenery pieces.”

Many people work behind the scenes in order to make the show a success.

“We have people on lights, sound, and even folding programs. The set crew and the stage managers during the show move desks, walls, chairs and any prop or furniture used by the cast,” Marissa Bertuccio ’16 said. “We have to remember entrances, transitions, and everything that the cast does to make sure that the scenery changes with the script, quickly and smoothly.”

Another behind the scenes component that works with the cast to produce the music in the show is the Pit Band.

“My favorite part was when the cast and band got together and made it all work on time,” Cindy Park ’17 said.

Putting the show together successfully takes a lot of effort from many people.

“The kids have so much responsibility and do so much in such a brief period,” Elizabeth Sherman, theater teacher and co-director said. “When I say that, I’m not just talking about the actors but all the kids who are working to learn the music for the pit band every single day and all the kids busting their tails to get the set built.”