By Sheena Barnett
TUPELO – The ladies aren’t gonna take it anymore.
Dolly Parton’s comedy classic “9 to 5” comes to the Tupelo Community Theatre stage next week. Complete with both new and familiar songs written by Parton, the musical stage version has all of the laughs and empowering messages of the film version.
“It’s fun, but it’s got some good messages,” said director Tom Booth. “And who doesn’t love Dolly?”
The musical focuses on three women, Doralee (Mary Frances Massey), Judy (Karen Irwin) and Violet (Belinda McKinion) who have had enough of their sexist boss, Mr. Hart (John Carroll).
“9 to 5” includes some Parton favorites, like the title track and her hit song “Backwoods Barbie,” but the songs written just for the musical are just as catchy, Booth said.
“Although some of the music isn’t well-known, the audience will be leaving humming these songs,” he said.
The musical also features plenty of newcomers to the TCT stage, including McKinion, who’s taking on the role made famous by Lily Tomlin in the film.
“It’s really fun, and it’s very challenging,” she said of her role. “Violet is a single mother and a widow, and she’s very hardworking. She’s battling the glass ceiling.”
She’s also battling her boss, the sleazy, womanizing Mr. Hart.
“He is everything that is not me,” Carroll said. “In acting, you do some things you’re not used to, and in this I’m an ogling, lecherous, all-around unsavory character, but he makes people laugh – that I can do.”
Carroll, a TCT veteran, appreciates the humor and the message in “9 to 5.”
“This is about female empowerment, equal treatment and women’s rights,” he said. “If you’ve ever hated your boss, if you’ve ever struggled to make ends meet, this puts everything on a plate and says, ‘Enjoy.’ This is speaking to anyone who’s ever worked for their money.”
• What: Tupelo Community Theatre presents “9 to 5”
• When: 7:30 p.m. May 1-3, 2 p.m. May 3
• Where: The Lyric, Tupelo
• Cost: $22/adults, $10/students
• Info: (662) 844-1935
• “9 to 5” cast: Belinda McKinion (Violet Newstead); Mary Frances Massey (Doralee Rhodes); Karen Irwin (Judy Bernly); John Carroll (Franklin Hart); Suzanne Oakley (Roz Keith); David McKell (Joe); Scott Angle (Dwayne); Harley Nabors (Josh/Ensemble); Emily Holman (Missy Hart/Ensemble); Amanda Summers (Maria/Ensemble); Derek Russell (Dick/Ensemble); Margaret McGrath (Kathy/Ensemble); Jennifer Cummings (Margaret/Ensemble); Craig Helmuth (Bob Enright/Ensemble); Bobby Geno (Tinsworthy/Ensemble); John Young (Detective/Ensemble); Stacy Smith (Doctor/Ensemble); Meg Dennis (Candy Striper/Ensemble); Suzy McGrath (Cop/Ensemble); Brittany Trimble (Intern/New Employee/Ensemble)