Enough with Politics Go See “9 to 5”

See a sneak preview of "9 to 5"

This reviewer has had enough of nonstop reporting on politics. It is impossible to escape because it is on local, national, news sites, on social media and even relatives are garrulous.

Take a three-hour escape and go see Palisades Charter High School’s production of 9 to 5.

Remember the 70s, hum-a-long, enjoy some spectacular dancing, phenomenal singing and just have fun. There’s nothing wrong with just having fun!

An 18-piece orchestra, 17-member cast, (and their understudies), a dance ensemble of 36 and a production crew of 35 will ensure that residents are entertained in an impressive fashion. You might even forget that you are in Mercer Hall (a former high school cafeteria) and not on Broadway.

Many might remember that 9 to 5 is a musical based on a film of the same name, with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton. The musical premiered in Los Angeles in 2008 and opened on Broadway in 2009. The show received 15 Drama Desk Award and four Tony Awards nominations.

The show, set in the late 70s, chronicles how women were treated in the office. Three female coworkers Violet, Judy and Doralee are seen as less than human by their sexist, egotistical boss Hart.

Judy and Doralee commiserate in the musical.

Violet is overlooked for a promotion, and the man who receives it is someone she trained. The boss has told everyone that Doralee is his mistress, which means the women don’t trust her. Judy has never worked anywhere before. After her husband left her for his secretary (that would be Mindi, with an i), Judy is now entering the work force – with no skills.

Everything comes to a head, when fellow-worker Maria is caught trying to find out if men are being paid more than women.

Director Cheri Smith said that the musical was chosen because “we wanted something to make a statement, yet entertaining and comedic.”

When she started rehearsing, the boys were unaware of how some women were treated in the 70s. “We are putting a spotlight on women’s history,” Smith said, who added the boys would ask during rehearsals, is it okay to say this to the girls? “It was interesting seeing it through their eyes.”

In some ways 9 to 5 a period piece, but on the other hand, women and men are still evolving even in 2024.

But. . .the talent in this show. . . oh, the talent!

Smith said that casting is a good/bad problem because, “Pali is in a situation where so many kids are incredibly talented.”

Students who are cast are not your typical high school student, these kids could go onto careers in show business, and many have.

Smith said it can be a problem because she had numerous students to choose from for each role.

There are so many standouts in this cast, but let’s start with Hart (Sam Jacobson), who is the perfect combination of chauvinist pig and egoist, but he’s also someone who can sing, really sing.

Violet, a widower and single mom, is played by Kaela Tagliaferro: Doralee. “A backyard Barbie” is played by Annika Johansson. Judy, the novice to the workplace is double cast with Aurora Finetti and Lexie Palmer.

Listening to their solos, fabulous voices, great stage presence, one begins to appreciate Director Smith’s remark about “incredibly talented,” because these women were exceptional.

This reviewer would be remiss not to mention the office snitch Roz (Bria Green), who has a crush on Hart. On her solo, she “owned” the stage – amazing.

Cheri and Monique Smith also teach the dance program at PaliHi, and anyone attending a musical knows they’ll be treated to some great choreography. I don’t think I’ve ever seen bathroom stalls so creatively used.

Turn off your screens and go have some real fun with this musical.

The show runs in Mercer Hall, 15777 Bowdoin Street, on March 8, 9, 14, 15  at 7 p.m. and March 9 and 16 at 2 p.m.

Ticket prices are students ($10), General ($17) and VIP ($25) and can be purchased at click here.

The cast of “9 to 5” is waiting to entertain you.
Photo: Alix Levy

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