Pin It
Favorite

Working Girls 

Dolly Parton wrote a musical and it’s coming to Coeur d’Alene

click to enlarge Charissa Bertels plays one of the frustrated ladies in 9 to 5: The Musical. - STEPHEN SCHLANGE
  • Stephen Schlange
  • Charissa Bertels plays one of the frustrated ladies in 9 to 5: The Musical.

The three actresses are passing around a fake joint. As each inhales deeply from the rolled-up paper, they start to cough and giggle and say their designated lines. The scene is so realistic the whole room can’t help but catch a theatrical contact high.

Rehearsals for 9 to 5: The Musical run, strangely, from 10 am to 6 pm every day but Sunday. As the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre only has two weeks to put the entire production together, time is of the essence.

This day is three days in. Rehearsal is in a side orchestra room, as the ongoing Romance, Romance’s set is currently taking over the North Idaho College theater stage. You can truly feel the camaraderie in the room as actors sideline the temporary stage waiting to be called to their next scene.

“That’s summer stock for you,” says the show’s musical director Joseph Bates. “You go into a tiny world and the rest of the world ceases. We’re a quick family and then get divorced quickly.”

Based on the hit 1980 comedy (currently streaming on Netflix if you’d like a brush-up), starring Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, 9 to 5: The Musical was reinvented for the stage in 2009 with Parton writing the songs.

Playing the three leading ladies are Vanessa Miller as Violet (Tomlin), Darcy Wright as Doralee (Parton) and Charissa Bertels as Judy (Fonda). While the professional actresses had never met before this week, their chemistry onstage sings.

“I’ve never been in a scene where it’s a girl gathering,” says Miller during a quick break. “Exploring these female relationships is an interesting dynamic because we’ve all had these kinds of life experiences with our girlfriends.”

“Theater people are so open,” Bertels continues. “That’s why it’s so easy for us to connect.”

While Miller makes her home as an actor and teacher in Seattle, Bertels and Wright come to CDA Summer Theatre from New York. They all agree playing characters made famous by others is always a daunting task.

“My performance will have hints of Dolly Parton,” says Wright, originally from Coeur d’Alene. “But it would be insane to try to be her.”

But as Parton’s fingerprints are all over the musical, from the big-bosomed character of Doralee to the country-tinged songs that make up the show, it’s hard not to make comparisons.

“I was alive in 1980, unlike many of the cast members,” Miller says with a laugh. “So I definitely remember when the film came out. But there are differences between the musical version and the movie — there’s more layers in this.”

The basic premise, set in the late ’70s, revolves around three women who are treated horrendously by their boss, a “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” (this phrase is a running joke throughout). They hatch a plan to make him pay for what he’s done and take control of the company on their terms.

“I’m definitely drawing experiences from my mom,” Bertels says. “She worked in an office very similar to this for a long time and she’s finally retiring.”

Both Wright and Miller can relate to having an unfair boss.

“This show is all about how women find their survival mode,” Miller says. “Dolly Parton is someone who really knows who she is and that’s what really shines through in this show.”

9 to 5: The Musical • Aug. 15-18, 7:30 pm; Aug. 18, 2 pm; through Aug. 25 • $25-$40 • Coeur d’Alene Summer Theater • North Idaho College • 1000 Garden Ave., Coeur d’Alene • cdasummertheatre.com • (208) 769-7780

  • Pin It

Latest in Arts & Culture

  • United by Song and Dance
  • United by Song and Dance

    A local powwow aims to bring people together across ethnicities for a colorful cultural celebration
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Float On
  • Float On

    To find an hour of glorious silence, I had to enclose myself in a tank full of salt water
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • BASEBALL | By The Numbers
  • BASEBALL | By The Numbers

    Dogs, dingers and dastardly Diaz stuff
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Gathering At The Falls Powwow

Gathering At The Falls Powwow @ Riverfront Park

Sun., Aug. 28, 12-5 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Laura Johnson

Most Commented On

  • Float On

    To find an hour of glorious silence, I had to enclose myself in a tank full of salt water
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Family Values

    A North Idaho clan is making a triple impact on the local food scene
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
Culture & Food

Food


for your consideration


last word


Opening


Beer


Readers also liked…

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation