Arts & Entertainment: TMP goes corporate with Dolly Parton show

Before AMC’s “Mad Men” took on the world of corporate advertising during the 1960s, there was Dolly Parton’s musical “9 to 5.”

Based on the 1980 20th Century Fox movie of the same name that included a score by overly buxom country music icon Dolly Parton and book by Patricia Resnick, the stage version has all the characters Generation Xers will remember from the silver screen.

The age of Rolodex flip cards, carbon copy paper, rotary phones and butt smacks from bosses as they pass in 1970s hallways is the fodder for good fun in a musical comedy that is as over the top as it is technologically out of date.

The tale centers on a non-descript corporate office as three female co-workers take on the “old boys” network in their own way, partially by mistake. Franklin Hart, their boss (played by John B. Copper), finds himself hog tied and dangling from the ceiling in his house after he is accidentally poisoned and then intentionally kidnapped. Yada, yada, yada. In his “absence,” the ladies make changes at the office that improves worker morale and productivity along the way, largely accompanied by an outburst of songs and dances.

Anchoring the show are the female leads (Sheri Tipton, Cherity Harchis and Brynne Geiszler) as they conspire to bring change to their co-workers and stay out of jail for attempted murder and kidnapping at the same time.

As TMP audiences have grown to expect, the show was well stocked with power-piped singers and tight choreography. That is a given.

What was frustrating at times, also something that happens more often than randomness would suggest, was the parade of lower-than-adequate microphone levels as singers battled the orchestra’s volume. There were also far too many occurrences of actors taking their positions up stage only to wait a musical measure or two for orchestra conductor Jeffrey Stvrtecky to reach the vocal intro. Those moments just killed the momentum of the show and often get fixed after a few performances. But they, unfortunately have become the status quo on opening nights, which have become more of a final dress rehearsal with paying audience members than the formal start of a show’s run, since costume and set tweaks often find themselves in the show between opening night and the Sunday matinee two days later.

“9 to 5” runs at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Sundays through June 9. There will also be Saturday matinee performances at 2 p.m. on June 1 and 8. Performances take place at Tacoma Musical Playhouse, 7116 6th Ave. in Tacoma. Tickets are $29 for adults; $27 for seniors, students and military; and the $20 student rush price available for all opening weekend performances. Due to mature content, TMP’s “9 to 5” is not recommended for children age 13 and under. For tickets or more information, visit www.tmp.org or call (253) 565-6867.

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