Friday, December 6, 2013
Becky Gulsvig knew about Dolly Parton growing up, but she didn't fully appreciate the country music legend until she saw her in concert a few years ago.
Edward Staudenmayer as Franklin Hart Jr. and Becky Gulsvig as Hart’s secretary Doralee Rhodes.
Courtesy of Gateway Playhouse
Staudenmayer with Sally Struthers as executive assistant and corporate snitch Roz Keith.
"9 TO 5: THE MUSICAL"
WHEN: 2:30 and 8 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 3:30 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday; 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday; 8 p.m. Tuesday; 2:30 and 8 p.m. Wednesday and Aug. 30. Through Sept. 15.
WHERE: Ogunquit Playhouse, 10 Main St.
HOW MUCH: $39 to $74
INFO: 646-5511; ogunquitplayhouse.org
"She was so good. She was fantastic," said Gulsvig, who plays Doralee Rose, the role Parton popularized in the 1980 hit movie "9 to 5," in the Ogunquit Playhouse version.
"The evening was so enlightening and wonderful," said Gulsvig. "It's interesting how people adore her so much -- in the old-school meaning of adore, not in the new wave of screaming fans. They genuinely love her, and she is such a lovely, loving person and such a positive person."
"9 to 5: The Musical," which opens tonight and will be on stage through Sept. 15, stays pretty true to the film about three office workers and their plans to overthrow their egotistical sexist boss. The American Film Institute named it one of the top 100 funniest movies.
In addition to starring in the movie, Parton wrote the hit title song and added many more for the musical. Patricia Resnick wrote the original screenplay and the book for the musical, which premiered in Broadway in 2009.
The Ogunquit version also stars Sally Struthers, who is in her 10th season with the playhouse, as executive assistant and corporate snitch Roz Keith; Erica Aubrey and Carrie McNulty as Judy Bernly and Violet Newstead, Doralee's cohorts; and Edward Staundenmayer as Franklin Hart Jr., the nasty boss.
Keith Andrews, who directed and choreographed "Avenue Q" at Ogunquit last summer and "The Full Monty" at the playhouse in 2007, returns to direct "9 to 5." He said his job is to stay out of the way and let the music and characters tell the story.
"As much as most people do not know the musical, they know the movie because it was so popular back in the '80s. They have some idea about the show in general," Andrews said. "They might not remember exactly what it was about, but the characters quickly become familiar, and the story is familiar. The same characters from the movie are there, and the story is pretty much the same."
Although Parton is best known for her country music, Andrews described the music in this show as "borderline country." In fact, the song "9 to 5" was a No. 1 hit not just on the country charts, but on the pop charts in 1980.
"I can just barely call it country. It has that pop-sweet country sound to it," Andrews said.
"9 to 5: The Musical" garnered four Tony Award nominations. It has toured nationally, and this summer is being produced by regional theaters across the country.
The Ogunquit version is a co-production with Gateway Playhouse on Long Island; the same cast presented the show in New York last month.
Gulsvig enjoys acting and singing in the show because it's fun and empowering. But she said she would have taken any role, in any show, for the chance to work at Ogunquit.
She starred in last season's version of "Legally Blonde," and loved her time on the Maine coast and working at Ogunquit particularly. This is the playhouse's 80th season.
"It's got such history," Gulsvig said. "I love that it is quaint and cute and not super ritzy fancy. It's a lovely playhouse, and there is something a little artsy and gritty about it. I love the setting, I love the town, I love Maine."
Gulsvig grew up in Minnesota, and performed in many musicals as a youngster. Her parents moved her to New York when she was 17, helped her settle in, then left her there to pursue her dreams.
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