An empowering choral performance about female co-workers that dethrone their male bigot of a boss
Clarissa Sabile // Contributor
In the 1970s, what was it like to be a woman in a man’s world? Find out on March 14 at the BlueShore Theatre for the Performing Arts.
9 to 5: The Musical, presented by 25 students from Capilano University’s Musical Theatre (MUTH) and Acting for Stage and Screen (ASAS) programs offers a sensational look at life in the 70s. Under the direction of Sylvia Zaradic, the dynamic group of second and third-year actors took on this Spring 2019 semester’s mainstage performance with empowering feminist attitudes, catchy musical numbers, and comical workplace scenarios.
The 1980 movie-turned-2008 musical perfectly strikes on themes of workplace harassment and mistreatment. “9 to 5 is essentially about three women getting even with their sexist, disrespectful and egotistical male boss,” Zaradic explained. It’s a hilarious twist on the classic resistance story, with deeply-rooted matters regarding workplace discrimination.
The musical features three protagonists: Judy Bernly, Violet Newstead and Doralee Rhodes. After each became fed up with their boss, Franklin Hart Jr.’s privileged and misogynistic actions, they fantasize about overthrowing him. Through amusing scenes, the women eventually kidnap Mr. Hart, plan to expose his schemes and achieve revolutionary changes at their workplace in his absence.
Ivania Delgado, a third-year Musical Theatre student, is the bright-eyed, naïve Ms. Bernly, and she describes the show as being as much off stage as her character puts in on stage. “Rehearsals dedicated to choreography, choral and music, blocking, costumes, lighting and sets occurred five times a week since the second week of January,” she shared. Being a musical, the singing dimension makes the production. The original musical numbers by Dolly Parton are accompanied by a talented live orchestra that are toe-tapping and memorable.
A collective challenge that Delgado discussed during production of 9 to 5: The Musical was learning how to maneuver a piece that is so politically-correct, but ironically using extreme comedy to effectively make feminist points. “Some sequences were so ridiculous, but 9 to 5 highlights the wrongs to make them right,” she said. Some scenes were uncomfortable in the levels of sexist and dogmatic ideas portrayed. Additionally, Zaradic mentioned that the effort put into creating period props and sets from the 1970s and the realistic nature of the musical is truly what makes the play impressive.
Both Delgado and Zaradic press that they wish for audiences to walk away with the positive, feminist messages circulated throughout the performance. “We still need to fight the fight for equality,” said Zaradic. “No matter how smart, accomplished or educated women are, they are often marginalized. I want people to walk away thinking about what feminis[m] is and possibly even self-[identify] as a feminist, because the true definition of a feminist is someone who believes in equal opportunities for men and women.”
9 to 5: The Musical’s advanced humor and political themes make for a memorable experience, emphasized by forward ideas, like a female trio of leads and tongue-in-cheek comedic references, which is convincing enough in a regularly solo male-dominated industry. The play, based on historic development, makes strong links to the relevant #MeToo and #TimesUp movements happening today.
9 to 5: The Musical will show at the BlueShore Theatre at CapU from Thursday, March 14 – Saturday, March 23.