9 to 5 The Musical shines like the sun at the River Run Centre

9 to 5 The Musical shines like the sun at the River Run Centre

RCMPI puts on a “Dolly” good show

For their Spring 2017 season, Royal City Musical Productions Inc. (RCMPI) took the audience back to the year 1979 with their production of 9 to 5 The Musical. The ambitious cast of 28 and five-piece band took the stage in the Co-operators Hall at the River Run Centre from April 27 to 30.

Dana Bellamy | The Ontarion

The musical remains faithful to the plot of the 1980 film, 9 to 5, which explores sexism in the workplace and celebrates the value of female friendship, all the while maintaining a sharp sense of humour.

An unlikely trio of friends—Violet, Judy, and Doralee—team up to turn the tables on their “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” of a boss, Franklin Hart (portrayed by Pete Strain).

The friends use their temporary control of the office to make it a more efficient and enjoyable place to work.

Dana Bellamy | The Ontarion

The trio’s characters are representations of feminist values. Doralee, portrayed by Olivia Mann, shows that women should be valued for more than their appearance. Judy, portrayed by Alee Wiens, becomes successful after gaining independence from her husband. And Violet, portrayed by Julie Van Duzen, demonstrates that working hard should lead to a deserved promotion.

Unfortunately, topics that were explored in the show such as the unfair wage gap between genders and the difficulty for women to break the glass ceiling still remain relevant today, decades after the show was written.

9 to 5 The Musical hopes to change gender inequality and inspires working women everywhere to embrace their femininity and achieve their career goals. The production delivered the message that with a bit of luck—but mostly unrelenting hard work—gender equality will eventually be attained and bring “joy to the girls.”


Mann, who portrayed Doralee in the RCMPI production, spoke to The Ontarion about her character.

“It shows that you can get married, take your husband’s last name, and still be a feminist,” Mann commented.

Mann also appreciated Dolly Parton, who starred in the movie as Doralee Rhodes. Mann believes Parton is much more talented than she is given credit for, explaining that Parton wrote the music and lyrics for the musical adaptation of 9 to 5. She added that Parton has received many accolades outside of country music for her work as a businesswoman and philanthropist.

Dana Bellamy | The Ontarion

As a not-for-profit community musical theatre group, RCMPI requires the assistance of many devoted volunteers. Rehearsals for the show ran twice weekly back in January and picked up to three times a week as show week approached.

Production coordinator Holly Reid has been involved both on and offstage with the company for at least six years.

Reid spoke to The Ontarion about the greatest production challenge for 9 to 5 The Musical.

“One of the things that caused the most problems was probably moving the set into the hall,” she said. The set made full use of the available space on the stage with a raised platform that sheltered the orchestra and connected the two floors with a spiral staircase. This creative design allowed the entire cast to appear on stage during the intricately choreographed numbers.

Dana Bellamy | The Ontarion

This production of 9 to 5 The Musical appeared to resound deeply with the audience. The moments when Doralee, Judy, and Violet got their revenge on Hart were met with loud cheers and applause. The musical made it clear that even though we are no longer living in the days of 9 to 5, sexism in the workplace is still an issue and it’s just as unacceptable today as it was back in 1979. The clunky typewriters and xerox machines may be gone but the glass ceiling must still be shattered.

Photos by Dana Bellamy/The Ontarion.