‘Nine to Five’ clocks in as latest AOP musical

Photos by SUE SUCHYTA. Acting Out Productions present “9 to 5: The Musical” with April Denny (left) of Dearborn Heights as Doralee Rhodes, Melissa Brown Knox of Lincoln Park as Judy Bernly, John Sartor of Canton Township as Franklin Hart Jr. and Liza Boos of Allen Park as Violet Newsted. Show times are 7:30 p.m. April 22, 23, 29 and 30, and 3 p.m. April 24 at The Royal Majestic Theater inside Trillium Academy, 15740 Racho Blvd. in Taylor. For tickets go to Actingoutdownriver.com/jazzhands.

Photos by SUE SUCHYTA. Acting Out Productions present “9 to 5: The Musical” with April Denny (left) of Dearborn Heights as Doralee Rhodes, Melissa Brown Knox of Lincoln Park as Judy Bernly, John Sartor of Canton Township as Franklin Hart Jr. and Liza Boos of Allen Park as Violet Newsted. Show times are 7:30 p.m. April 22, 23, 29 and 30, and 3 p.m. April 24 at The Royal Majestic Theater inside Trillium Academy, 15740 Racho Blvd. in Taylor. For tickets go to Actingoutdownriver.com/jazzhands.

By SUE SUCHYTA

Clock in with a musical version of “9 to 5” at the Royal Majestic Theater next weekend as Acting Out Productions presents the stage play where three fed-up female office workers turn the tables on their sexist, bigoted, egotistical and dishonest male manager.

“9 to 5 – the Musical” features music and lyrics by Dolly Parton and a book by Patricia Resnick. Show times are 7:30 p.m. April 22, 23, 29 and 30, and 3 p.m. April 24 at Trillium Academy, 15740 Racho Blvd. in Taylor.
Tickets are $10 online at Actingoutdownriver.com/jazzhands. Call 734-658-8AOP for $8 group rates when buying 15 tickets or more.

Directed by Kelly R. Lomas of Trenton, the show features the musical direction of Sarah Leonard of Allen Park and the choreography of Rian McDonald of Southgate.

Leading the cast are Liza Boos of Allen Park as Violet Newsted, April Denny of Dearborn Heights as Doralee Rhodes, Melissa Knox Brown of Lincoln Park as Judy Bernly and John Sartor of Canton Townshiop as Franklin Hart Jr.

Others in the cast include Allen Park residents Brendan Siddall alternating in the role of Josh Newsted, and in the ensemble, and office girls and ensemble members Kelsey Weiss and Gabby Sikora; Domingo Guzman of Melvindale as Dick Bernly; and Southgate residents Charles Doddie, alternating in the role of Josh Newsted and in the ensemble, and Julie Doddoe as Missy Hart.

Taylor cast members include Megan Cuthbert in the ensemble, Jeff Klug as Russell Tinsworthy and a detective, Kelly Klug as Roz Keith, Harold LeBeau alternating in the role of Joe, Makenna Mariles as a candy-striper and an office girl, Joe Oliveri as Bob Enright and ensemble, and Jeffrey Tate as the doctor.

Michael Lomas of Trenton alternates in the role of Joe, with Lonni Curri of Wyandotte as Margaret.

Others in the cast include Paul Primeau of Brownstown Township as Dwayne Rhodes, Ciara Miner of Flat Rock as a new hire and ensemble member, Becky Dodd-Sherry of Monroe as Kathy and Cari Zeppa of New Boston as Maria Delgado.

Lomas, an actress, said this is her first time directing an adult musical, and she is enjoying the challenge of being on the other side of the stage watching a show she helped build come to life.

“When I tell an actor to try something or I ask them a question that makes them think about something with their character, and then they do it, it’s pretty cool,” Lomas said.

She said she doesn’t even compare the stage musical to the 1980 movie. She said while the original ideas are intact, the stage play is allowing a new generation to discover the story.

“I think that this next generation is going to watch it and find new ways to connect with it and have a lot of fun with it,” Lomas said.

She said she loves the fantasy scene where each of the three female leads thinks about how they would get even with Hart.

“Each of them embodies the personality of the characters very well,” Lomas said. “Each fantasy does that. I think the audience is really going to appreciate them. She said she also loves the tap dance number that opens Act II.

“It’s energizing and breathtaking and fun, and I can’t wait for the audience to see it,” Lomas said.

Denny said the part of Doralee is ridiculous, fun and powerful.

“When you are given the opportunity to play Dolly Parton, you take it,” Denny said.

Denny said the show is filled with good music that goes beyond the original “Nine to Five” song from the movie and ties the show together.

She said the show appeals to the secret fantasy people may have to turn the tables on their own bad bosses.

“Wouldn’t it be great to kidnap your boss, tie him up, string him up and do all the mean things to him that he did to you?” Denny said. “Wouldn’t you love to come see us do that to somebody else?”

Boos grew up watching the movie with her father, and said it is fun delivering the lines she remembers from the movie onstage.

She said she likes her character Violet’s transformation.

“She always has this fiery attitude, but she really doesn’t let it show until a little later in the show,” Boos said. “It’s fun to watch her transform into what she is going to become.”

She said she thinks workplace conditions are better for women since this movie came out in 1980, but the obstacles women face now are more subtle.

“A lot of it still happens,” Boos said. “I think it is quieter, and I think there is more shame around saying something about it now.”

Boos hopes audiences are entertained and learn from the show.

“I hope that they’ll leave laughing,” Boos said, “but I really hope that they get the uplifting messages that come from it as well, about taking control of your life and turning it into what you want it to be.”

Brown said she likes seeing her character, Judy, blossom.

“She goes from being this meek, scared, anxious person to a self-assured, confident woman who has found herself in this job she had to take because her husband left her,” Brown said.

She said her character inspires by making the best out of bad circumstances and coming out on top.

“That particular story arc is quite intriguing to play, because none of us are finished. We are all works in progress,” Brown said. “Judy was definitely a work in progress, and at the end of it she’s confident and a new woman.”

As a lawyer practicing employment law, Brown still sees cases where people experience discrimination.

“It doesn’t go away just because it’s 2016,” she said. “People’s prejudices and discriminatory practices have gone underground.”
Sartor said he is basing Hart on people he actually knows who are like that.

“It is fun to be portraying that, because it’s hard to do sometimes,” Sartor said. “These are my friends, but you just set that all aside and just be a total ass, and it is kind of fun, actually.”

Sartor said he’s had fun developing his character and taking him over the top.

He said while people like Hart still exist, this movie and its message was important for women when it came out in 1980.

“This was a pivotal moment in the women’s movement,” Sartor said. “By Dolly Parton making the film to begin with, it affected a lot of people. It was funny, but a lot of people could relate to it.”

He said the story empowers women.

“It’s sad that it takes things like this to say we have idiots like this on our planet that women have to deal with,” Sartor said. “So we make fun of it, and make it funny.”

DIVINE CHILD PRESENTS ‘PHANTOM OF THE OPERA’

Divine Child High School presents the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Phantom of the Opera” at 7:30 p.m. April 21 to 24, and at 2:30 p.m. April 23 and 24 at the school, 1001 N. Silvery Lane in Dearborn.

Tickets are $10, with a $2 discount for students and seniors. For more information and to purchase tickets online, go to artsatdivinechild.org.

CRESTWOOD PRESENTS DISNEY’S ‘THE LITTLE MERMAID’

The Crestwood High School Players present Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” at 7 p.m. April 22, 23, 28, 29 and 30, with a free senior citizen matinee at 11 a.m. April 21 at the school, 1501 N. Beech Daly in Dearborn Heights.

Tickets are $10, with a $1 discount for students and seniors, and an $8 presale price if purchased online at showtix4u.com/boxoffice.php.

The cast showcases the talents of Hyaal Wehab, Jamal Jaafar, Karim Hazime, Markus Monolidis, Sibelle Barada, Vanessa El-Zein, Alex Krysztof and Jennifer Gladkowski.

HILBERRY PRESENTS CLASSIC FARCE ‘A FLEA IN HER EAR’

The Hilberry ushers in spring with David Ives’ translation of Georges Feydeau’s classic farce “A Flea in her Ear” April 22 through May 8, running in rotating repertory.

Show times are 8 p.m. April 22, 23, 29 and 30, and May 7 and 10; 2 p.m. April 23 and May 7, and 3 p.m. May 8 at the theater, 4743 Cass in Detroit.

For tickets, call 313-577-2972 or go to hilberry1.com/ticket-info.

Directed by Shelley Butler, the production is set in 1950s Paris to play up the sexy, sumptuous and scandalous nature of the farce.

When the wife of a rich man suspects her husband of having an affair, she enlists a male friend to help her catch her husband in the act. Comedy and chaos quickly accelerate the plot set in a mysterious hotel.

The cast includes Ernest Bentley as Tournel, Wesley Cady as Antoinette, Devri Chism as Eugenie, Santino Craven as Homenides, and Kyle Mitchell Johnson as Camille.

James Kern plays Rugby, with Antonia LaChe as Lucienne, Michael Manocchio as Etienne, Cody Robison as Finache and Mary Sansone as Raymonde.

Nick Stockwell plays Ferraillon, with Michael Phillip Thomas as Chandebise/Poche, Tiffany Michelle Thompson as Olympia and Brandon A. Wright as Baptiste.