Dolly Parton is the kind of once-in-a-century star who would have found mainstream success anyway — but it was 9-5, the 1980 ribald comedy starring Parton, Jane Fonda, and Lily Tomlin, that elevated her beyond the realm of the country-western niche (not to mention big-bosom jokes). Then came Dollywood, massive hits (including the movie’s title track), Academy Award nominations, induction into various Halls of Fame, and cult status that continues today.
The almost 40-year-old film romp concerns three “working girls” who overthrow their chauvinistic boss, and while the pantyhose and big hair is dated, the office politics haven’t changed all that much.
“9 to 5 is certainly a musical comedy, and a broad one at that, but it is also a very real story about very real people,” says Amy Jones, who directs and choreographs the current uproarious, ovation-earning Flat Rock Playhouse production.
“Although a lot has certainly evolved since [that era], much remains the same in terms of equality and opportunity in the workplace and in life,” she says via e-mail. “The journey made by Violet, Doralee, and Judy is one with which we can all identify — learning to be independent and stand up to the people who make us feel less than valuable. We want the ‘underdogs’ to win. And we want the ‘sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot’ [9-5’s bossman, so styled] to get his in the end.”
9 to 5 will run through August 20 at Flat Rock Playhouse’s Clyde & Nina Allen Mainstage. Performances are Wednesday and Thursday evening at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday evening at 8pm, and matinees Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2pm. $15-$40. 828-693-0731. flatrockplayhouse.org