by lisa lipsey –
Get ready for a wild romp as San Diego Musical Theatre presents the regional premiere of 9 to 5: The Musical. Based on the film that starred three living legends: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton, 9 to 5: The Musical features music and lyrics by Grammy Award-winner Parton, with a book by Patricia Resnick.
9 to 5 follows three female co-workers pushed to the boiling point by their sexist and egotistical boss. Together, these unlikely partners conspire to take control of the office and achieve the ultimate, workplace revenge. It has been hailed as a jubilant musical celebrating friendship and the Tony and Grammy-nominated score contains 18 original Dolly Parton numbers, including “Backwoods Barbie,” “Shine Like the Sun,” “Get Out and Stay Out,” “Let Love Grow” and of course, the show’s title hit.
The San Diego Musical Theatre cast is led by a trio of powerhouse, San Diego favorites, Joy Yandell as Violet Newstead, Allison Spratt Pearce as Judy Bernly, and Karyn Overstreet as Doralee Rhodes, with direction by Cynthia Ferrer, musical direction by Don LeMaster and choreography by Tamlyn Shusterman.
Discussing the beginning of the process Joy Yandell said this, “Auditioning was probably the most fun I have ever had in an audition. A room full of women and Don LeMaster…Walking into the room I felt a special vibe. It was a group of women who completely support each other and it wasn’t nerve-wracking. Cynthia [Ferrer, director] played along with us and gave us direction over the course of callbacks. The tension melted away because it was a safe place to let go and really embody these characters.”
As to the reason she auditioned, “Singing Dolly Parton songs,” Yandell laughs. “I grew up listening to her and Kenny Rogers with my parents. She is one of those people, that if I could get close enough to hug her, I don’t think I would ever let go of her.”
When the cast was announced, Yandell was elated, “Getting to do this show is a thrill, then throw in performing with Karyn Overstreet…I have known her since childhood. It is so fun to be working together again and with Allison Spratt Pearce! It is such a gift to share this experience with her, she has ridiculous talent. The first equity rehearsal happened recently and I am so excited for this cast… David Humphrey, Candi Milo and Chaz Feuerstine were there and the ensemble has giant voices.”
“I feel like, especially right now in our world, when it feels like there is so much darkness, bitterness and hate, now is the time for this show. It puts together these women—a new group of friends— who become cheerleaders for each other, the angels on our shoulder.”
Reflecting on the show’s message, Yandell says, “This musical has an amazing story, it is funny as all get out and very witty. I feel like, especially right now in our world, when it feels like there is so much darkness, bitterness and hate, now is the time for this show. It puts together these women—a new group of friends— who become cheerleaders for each other, the angels on their shoulders. They pull together and change the lives of hundreds of employees. Like the song I love, ‘Shine Like the Sun,’ these women completely infuse each other with light and they overcome that glass ceiling.”
Yandell, who won a San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Award for her performance in MixTape, continued, “I go where the wind takes me, I always try to stay open to saying “Yes.” I am so fortunate to also be a massage therapist, I have the privilege of working with women going through treatments… And I love being a mom.”
“Some things I would love to do,” She continued, “As a child of MixTape, I would love to do anything that Jon Lorenz and Colleen Kollar Smith create and write. There is a ‘90s version of MixTape coming out this summer. It’s called Pump Up the Volume. Oh, and I want to be George Washington in Hamilton, that’s the newest thing I’ve dreamed up.”
9 to 5 runs Friday, February 10 through Sunday, February 26 at the Spreckels Theatre in Downtown San Diego. For tickets and more information, call 858.560.5740 or go to: sdmt.org.