UTC students Pearson Smith (as Judy Bernly), left, Katie Mullins (as Violet Newstead) and Harrison Faulkner (as Franklin Hart Jr.) in the UTC Theatre Co. production of "9 to 5 the Musical"
photo by UTC
A musical based on a 1980 hit movie will soon be coming to the UTC Fine Arts Center’s Dorothy Hackett Ward Theatre stage.
The UTC Theatre Co. continues its 2023-2024 season with its production of “9 to 5 the Musical,” with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton and book by Patricia Resnick, with performances taking place at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 27-March 2 and a 2 p.m. matinee performance on Saturday, March 2.
Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here and through the UTC Box Office—in person or by phone 425-4369. Tickets are $25 for general admission and $20 for students (with proof of student ID) and seniors.
The winner of four Tony Awards as an original Broadway production in 2009, “9 to 5 the Musical” is described as a hilarious story of friendship and revenge in the Rolodex era that is often outrageous, thought-provoking and even a little romantic. The production tells the story of office manager Violet Newstead, who—along with co-workers Judy Bernly and Doralee Rhodes—turns the tables on their “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” of a boss.
The musical is based on the award-winning movie “9 to 5,” which starred Parton, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dabney Coleman (Franklin Hart Jr.). Their roles in the UTC Theatre Co. production are reprised by senior Nancy Tillman, a native of Franklin, Tennessee, as Rhodes; junior Pearson Smith (Ringgold, Georgia), as Bernly; sophomore Katie Mullins (Antioch, Tennessee), as Newstead; and junior Harrison Faulkner, a theatre minor from Signal Mountain who plays Hart.
“9 to 5 the Musical” is directed by Steve Ray, head of the Department of Theatre and artistic director of the UTC Theatre Co.
“One of the reasons I wanted to do this is because I love the movie and Dolly’s music,” Mr. Ray said. “As we looked at our student body talent pool, we had the perfect cast for the show in our theatre students.”
He said 24 UTC students are performing in the musical.
“It is a female-heavy show, and it’s a strong voice for women with an important message about misogyny and the difficulty women still have,” Mr. Ray said. “It has an important message about empowering women but does it in a way with great music and lots of laughs.
“This wonderful musical allows us to laugh at a pretty serious subject matter as ‘The Boys Club,’ as it’s called, gets exposed. They’re shocked when they don’t get what they think they deserve—and comedy is had at their expense.”
Ms. Tillman called it a “silly, fun process” to play the role made famous by Parton.
“I’ve never played a part where I was portraying a real person in any type of way,” she said, “so I’ve already had fun just searching old Dolly Parton pictures. I want to put some of those around my dressing room mirror just for inspiration.”
Added Mr. Ray, “Nancy did her research and really brought a sense of Dolly to her audition without letting it become just an impersonation. She made it her own while also letting us see Dolly in the role.”
Later this semester, the UTC Theatre Co. will present “Out at Sea” by Slawomir Mrozek from April 9-13. “Out at Sea” is an absurdist tale of survival and democratic decision-making.
For more information, visit the UTC Theatre Co. page.