9 to 5: Get Up and Work!

Donna J. Kemp, Author

As spring comes rolling around the corner, the drama department is starting the process of putting together a new musical. While choosing what play to produce is a difficult task, after weeks of brainstorming, 9 to 5 the musical was seen as most fitting!

9 to 5 is a two act musical written by Patricia Resnick and music by the glamorous Dolly Parton in 2008, which is inspired by the 1980 film of the same name.  It begins with Judy Bernly, a shy and conserved woman whose husband cheated on her with his secretary. Burned and desperate, she goes out and gets a corporate job where she meets Violet Newstead, a liberated woman who practically runs the company. As well as Doralee Rhodes, a sweet and attractive woman who is disliked by her coworkers because of their boss, Franklin Hart, who constantly flirts with her and started the rumor that they’re having an affair! The three of them get into some risky business together as they try to improve the company, in less than … traditional ways. 

Originally, Drama Club planned on doing Moana Jr. for the spring musical, but then opted out due to casting complications. Drama club director, Sara Barthel, explains how “concerns about being able to cast the show appropriately leew moments that are more mature than you might expect for a high school production, but td to a change in title.  The theatre class students, Drama Club students, and I researched many musicals in December looking for a new title.” Barthel goes on to explain their choice of 9 to 5, “ Of all the shows we considered, 9 to 5 floated to the surface!  It’s a great show for strong female performers and we have a lot of those to feature this year!  There are a fhe message of the show is fantastic and many high schools across the country have produced this show and have had a blast with it!

The casting of the show was on a tight schedule because of the title change, so during Winter Break, anyone interested in joining the cast or crew joined a google classroom where audition material was posted. The students practiced with the material before finally recording an audition tape which they sent in to Mrs. Barthel. After a week or two and one in-person callback, the cast list was revealed, and everyone was able to see and prepare for their part. Barthel notes how, “We talk often about how important each actor and crew member is to the process and about how our individual actions can greatly affect the company as a whole.  We are committed to keeping each other in good health – both physically and emotionally.  I am lucky to have such a committed group of students and staff to work with at LHS.

The show has a plethora of great songs and numbers, almost all of which have an amazing meaning behind it.  A couple of songs float to the top of the pile, having so much meaning and thought behind the catchy rhythm and lyrics. Barthel expresses that, “The two songs that I listen to over and over are “Shine Like the Sun” and “Change It.”  If you know me at all, you know that I don’t tend to settle for anything.  I always want things to be better.  Sometimes it’s exhausting to keep fighting for improvement, but I am rarely satisfied with the status quo.” She points out, Though ‘9 to 5’ is always what first comes to mind, the lyrics that have become my mantra are, ‘There’s a great new world out there for those who care to claim it; a better day is on the way but only you can change it.’  Particularly this year when Ms. Pico selected ‘Return to Change’ as our theme, I have taken this song to heart.  Each of us must do our part for change to happen.  The song ‘Change It’ has become both a challenge and a source of inspiration for me personally.” These songs and the meanings behind the lyrics could inspire anyone and everyone who comes to watch!

Mrs. Barthel encourages everyone to buy tickets, “Though it may not be the most popular musical in the history of musicals, I am increasingly pleased that we found this show this year as it seems to be just right to feature the folks we have in the theatre program at the moment.  This season marks my 20th as the Theatre Director at Lompoc High and I am delighted to be working on a musical that is new-to-me as part of this season.  Come see it!” The show dates for the production are March 11th, 12th, 13th, 18th, 19th, and 20th, and tickets are for sale at this moment. If you are interested in the show, make sure to go to https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/61465 and buy your tickets now!