By Wade Coggeshall
INDIANAPOLIS — There are certain aspects to "9 to 5" that are dated now, namely the presence of typewriters, corded telephones, and leisure suits.
The story itself, however, essentially rings as true now as it did in its 1970s setting.
The 1980 movie - starring Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, and Lily Tomlin as secretaries exacting revenge on a sexist boss - is now a hit musical with original songs by Parton that debuted on Broadway in 2009. Beef & Boards' production opened Feb. 7 and runs through March 24.
Annie Edgerton plays the widowed head secretary Violet, the role filled by Tomlin in the movie. Sarah Hund is Judy, Fonda's character, who's forced to get a job when her husband runs off with his secretary. Parton's role of Texas cowgirl Doralee is played here by Crystal Mosser, a Lafayette native making her Beef & Boards debut.
The overt sexism displayed by their boss, Franklin Hart Jr. (performed here by Andrew Lebon), seems exaggerated for comic effect. But so much of what these characters endure still feel wedded to today's reality. Rumors of having an affair with the boss. Busting your hump in a thankless role only to be passed over for that promotion.
As depressing as that may sound, "9 to 5" is a musical romp that sheds light on the sometimes dispiriting reality of the office setting. The three lead female characters are both good as an ensemble and at imbuing the back stories that fuel their identities. And Lebon takes obvious glee in playing such a cad. The revenge aspect of the story is likely something anyone can picture themselves in. The musical also works because of its winking references to today's technology.
"9 to 5" is rated PG-13 for some adult language and situations. For tickets and showtimes, visit the website BeefAndBoards.com.
- Wade Coggeshall is a reporter with the Westside Flyer newspaper.