Friday, May 01, 2009

9 to 5 Reviews

Well the reviews for 9 to 5 The Musical are in and as expected they are mixed. As I mentioned in yesterdays blog I enjoyed the show a lot. Yes it may not be everyone's cup of tea but it does what it is supposed to do and that is to entertain. Give it it a try. Maybe you'll like it or maybe you won't. The only way to find out is to see the show. Below you will find several reviews of the show. Enjoy!

Elisabeth Vincentelli in the New York Post writes: (*** out of 4) "The star can barely sing or dance, the composer's never written for Broadway before -- and the whole thing's based on a 1980 film some think is outdated. But since we're talking about Allison Janney, Dolly Parton and "9 to 5," what could have been lethal problems turn out to be assets in this goofily entertaining show. . . . Making a welcome return to the stage after years in TV and movies, Janney throws herself into the show with a contagious abandon. Rocking a three-piece white pantsuit, she brings down the house with the big, busy dance number "One of the Boys." . . . Yes, a pair of X chromosomes may well help you enjoy this show. Then again, women buy 66 percent of Broadway tickets. And it's "9 to 5" that gets the last laugh."

Joe Dziemianowicz in the New York Daily News writes: (*** out of 5 stars) "What's fresh and original are Dolly Parton's bouncy, big-hearted songs, which accompany the familiar title tune. . . . Not every tune is a home run, and some lyrics are too plain-spoken. But enough of them stand out, like "I Just Might," a bright, optimistic ballad. The best number, "Change It," is about the office but really addresses larger issues, and makes the show shine. . . . Unfortunately, Joe Mantello's direction (he scored big with "Wicked") careens from full-of-life to DOA. . . .The creative team, including writer Patricia Resnick, who co-authored the film, has struggled to open the show up for the stage. . . . Is "9 to 5" as hip as TV's "The Office" or as joyously hit-filled as "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying"? No, but if you're looking for a little diversion, it will do the trick from 8 to 10:15."

Erik Haagensen in BackStage writes: "'9 to 5' is unquestionably entertaining and likely to be pleasing Broadway audiences for some time. . . . [Allison Janney, Megan Hilty and Stephanie J. Block] exhibit terrific chemistry with each other, so important in a feminist story of sisterhood empowered, and Hilty and Block sing like a dream. Janney, of course, is not known for musical comedy, but she reveals an attractive if modest voice and, most important, she sounds like Violet should sound in song. In addition, she understands the size musical comedy requires without ever sacrificing her great gifts as an actor. Indeed, those gifts serve as the show's anchor. The reliable Marc Kudisch finds considerable comedy in the one-note role of the chauvinist boss. But, like the film, '9 to 5' belongs to the ladies."

Michael Kuchwara for the Associated Press writes: "Durn. You kinda want "9 to 5: The Musical" to be better than it is. Not that you won't have fun at this stage version of the 1980 feminist revenge comedy that was a hit movie with an impossibly catchy title tune. It's a certified crowd-pleaser. Dolly Parton, who wrote that persistent little film ditty, has supplied the entire score . . . . You won't mistake Parton's words and music for the works of Stephen Sondheim, yet she has a simple, direct way with lyrics and a beguiling sense of melody whether it's country twang, gospel, rhythm 'n' blues, power ballad or sentimental love song. . . . In the end, though, "9 to 5: The Musical" is a mixed bag. Savour it for Parton's songs and the three women who sing most of them. They make the case for the show being more than just another workday event."

Simon Vozick-Levinson in Entertainment Weekly writes: (Grade: B+) "It's almost a surprise that Dolly Parton has never written music and lyrics for a Broadway musical before "9 to 5". . . . There's always been a theatrical quality to her lengthy catalog of hits, each one a showstopper meant to be belted out to the last row of whatever venue she's playing. . . . The original film is a hilarious but . . . how will it work as a mainstream musical? Surprisingly well, it turns out. . . . It certainly doesn't hurt to have the always excellent Allison Janney. . . . What Janney lacks in natural singing chops, she more than makes up for with her impeccable comic timing and genuine pathos. . . . And it's tough to complain about any performance that includes not one but two renditions of "9 to 5's" title song, still one of Parton's catchiest, cleverest compositions. Seeing the cast sing it out on stage is enough to make any aspiring pop songwriter pour him- or herself a strong cup of ambition."

Linda Winer in Newsday writes: "The lavish and harmless entertainment, which opened last night with a shiny-colored and efficient score by [Dolly] Parton, is mostly a tracing-paper adaptation of the popular secretary-revenge movie. . . Parton's songs are more than functional, with short, unpredictable phrase lengths and an apt mix of the plaintive and the shrewd. . . . There is a big cast of talented people, including Allison Janney from "The West Wing." She isn't much of a singer or a dancer, but she smartly nails a classic type - the capable-yet-vulnerable big-boned gal - with endearing echoes of Eve Arden and Rosalind Russell."

Elysa Gardner in USA Today writes (scroll down to middle of article): (**½ out of 4 stars) "Allison Janney deftly fills Lily Tomlin's shoes as long-suffering office manager Violet Newstead. Janney may not have a mellifluous singing voice, but her delectably tart delivery, of songs as well as dialogue, is one of the production's two strongest assets. Marc Kudisch's divinely dastardly Hart is the other. . . . Dolly Parton's original songs tend to be quite forthright. Predictably, the country icon — who co-starred with Tomlin and Jane Fonda in the movie — has injected plenty of twang into the score. But there are also ballads that wouldn't be out of place in most contemporary, pop-influenced musicals and nods to Tin Pan Alley and '70s funk. . . . If seeing Y-chromosome-addled cartoon characters get their due is your idea of an empowering experience, or at least a good time, "9 to 5" has your number."

David Rooney in Variety
writes: "The popular 1980 fem-powerment farce about three renegade secretaries who turn the tables on their chauvinistic boss was driven by three iconic performances, and the women who step into those heels here do dandy work re-creating those characters with enough freshness to rise above mere imitation. If the material showcasing the trio is an uneven cut-and-paste job that struggles to recapture the movie's giddy estrogen rush, plenty of folks will nonetheless find this a nostalgic crowd-pleaser. . . . As composer-lyricist of the country-flavored pop score, [Dolly] Parton is a significant presence, not just in the evergreen title tune but particularly in a handful of new songs. . . . and "9 to 5" is at its most winning when these numbers focus attention squarely on the women battling for a fair deal in an unequal-opportunity environment. . . . The pleasures of "9 to 5" are . . . less satisfying than they should be. The promising material and terrific performers are too often sold short by clumsy story-building, overwhelming sets and unfocused direction."

Roma Torre for NY1 cable channel writes (with video): "Joe Mantello pulls out all the directorial stops on this sweetly silly musical and he achieves a nifty sleight of hand. He covers up the show's deficiencies with a kaleidoscope of fevered energy. . . . The lead performers are wonderful. Marc Kudisch is a huge plus in the Dabney Coleman role. The nasty blowhard is a familiar routine for him but he pulls it off with gusto. Allison Janney in the Lily Tomlin role is not the greatest singer but is quite a class act, and wins the crowd over with her great warmth and presence. Stephanie J. Block in the mousy Jane Fonda role comes into her own beautifully. Finally, Dolly Parton has been cloned by Megan Hilty, a bosomy belter with tons of down-home appeal. On the theme of numbers, "9 To 5" rates a 5 for content but the razzle dazzle factor earns a 9. Depending on your taste for mindless extravaganza, the show's overall score is somewhere in between."

Ben Brantley in The New York Times writes: "Dolly Parton and Patricia Resnick’s musical adaptation of the 1980 movie about three women’s revenge on their sexist boss piles on the flashy accessories like a prerecession hedge funder run amok at Barney’s. Staged by Joe Mantello (who directed the fat fairy-tale cash cow “Wicked”), this show feels assembled by an emulous shopaholic who looked around at the tourist-drawing hits of the last decade and said: “I want some of that. And that. Ooh, and can I have that, too?” . . . The musical “9 to 5,” which overmilks and overmikes tuneful songs by Ms. Parton (who wrote the movie’s popular title number, which is the opener here), is at least blessed with the presence of Allison Janney. This deliciously droll actress is known for playing exceedingly competent people (“The West Wing” on television, “Present Laughter” on Broadway) with much more than mere competence, and her game but dignified professionalism is the show’s biggest asset."


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