By Clara Marks
Dolly Parton’s 9-5: The Musical is a heart-warming, belly-laughing showstopper.
A friend and I were lucky to be invited to the opening night at New Theatre Oxford with drinks at the stylish Piano Bar and multiple ‘cups of ambition’ provided.
The musical combines a modern set with classical 1950s costuming and sleek set changes. With refreshingly not one, but three complex female leads, the show challenges stereotypes about “dumb”, glamorous blondes, stay-at-home wives and romance for older women. While confronting uncomfortable truths about the reality of “the boys club” in the workplace, the musical delivers easy humour and joyous, colourful choreographed numbers.
Mr Hart (Sean Needham) is an equal parts sinister and farcical character as the chauvinistic boss of hard-working Violet, new girl Judy and his beautiful secretary Doralee. Roz (Julia Nagle) performs a show stealing number ‘Heart to Hart’ which left the audience laughing out loud. The ensemble supports the amazing female leads whose voices meld together perfectly, showing the beauty of women working together to achieve a common goal.
The musical is an instant classic, with a dynamic set, fabulous costumes and so much talent on display. It tells an important story of what it means to be your own woman, and how independence looks different for each woman. Along the journey, there’s plenty of hilarity to entertain you, as you’re transported into the genius of Dolly Parton’s lyricism, Patricia Resnick’s writing and Jeff Calhoun’s direction.
I highly recommend watching the show while it is at Oxford and experiencing the magical atmosphere which New Theatre provides: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/9-to-5-the-musical/new-theatre-oxford/