The Placer Performance Calendar


Great Local Shows - Theatrical Reviews

Title 9 to 5, the Musical
Organization Placer Community Theater
Date(s) of show July 27 - August 11, 2012
Reviewer Dick Frantzreb
Review There are so many things that are good about Placer Community Theater's production of "9 to 5," and first among them is the acting. Sure, I know it’s a musical, but that’s what made the acting stand out: so often, even in a good musical, the acting takes a back seat to the music. But not with this production of “9 to 5.” And how did they find 3 women who were so perfectly cast for the leads? Jeanette Albrecht played Doralee (Dolly Parton’s role in the movie) to perfection. Lyra Dominguez, with her big voice, was convincing in the role of Judy. And Allyson Finn was amazing in the role of Violet: if she doesn’t get an Elly Award – or at least a nomination – there’s something wrong with the process. And let’s not forget Phil Jacques, who was wonderfully funny as the hated boss, and Kathleen Brace, who was hilarious as his obsequious assistant, Roz.
But there was so much more that made this show a complete delight, a conclusion I heard from many other audience members last Saturday night. The music, for one, was engaging, and just about every number was listenable and fun. Although the ensemble songs were thin (not enough body mics to go around), the solo singing was solid, and there were a few numbers that were real show-stoppers. And the orchestration itself was great: jazzy piano, drums and guitar. It was so good, in fact, that I thought it was a recorded track until I spoke during intermission with music director Patricia Leftridge, who assured me that her piano playing was indeed live. (I spoke with her only after enjoying the complimentary dessert and drinks that this company somehow finds the means to provide.)

Another plus of the program was the dancing, a fair amount of which took place in the aisles. How many productions can claim as a choreographer, someone experienced and beloved enough to have a high school theater named after her? That’s Patti Baker, who retired from teaching dance at Roseville High School several years ago, and who enlisted 6 of her alumni to put on some great dancing (in which she joined) throughout this show.

Although the sets and set pieces were rather Spartan, as one might expect from a community theater production, they were more than made up for by the projections on the stage-wide screen above and behind the actors. When the action was taking place in an office, the screen showed a real office scene, and this background changed when the action moved to a different locale. But there was much more to what was projected, including images that reinforced the action (such as the imagination of the main characters), humorous commentaries, etc. Another person might think that getting creative with projections would detract from any realism in the play, even for a musical like this. But I thought the effect was terrific and added a lot to the pace of the action and the humor.

And this is a genuinely funny show, with witty dialog and excellent comic acting. Some of the humor is a bit risqué, and there are occasional words that would be bleeped out if you were watching on TV. So leave your small children at home. But don’t miss this show yourself. It has personality -- a quality that is projected by each person on stage – and that, along with all this production’s other strengths, makes this top-quality entertainment.

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