9 to 5 by Haverford High School in Havertown, PA
May 7, 2020
Review submitted by Fiona Moser of Agnes Irwin School
The cast and crew of Haverford High School’s musical production of 9 to 5 certainly did “shine like the sun”! Haverford High School took its viewers back to the ‘70s in this musical tale of female empowerment.
9 to 5 follows the unlikely friendship of three women working at Consolidated Incorporated. One thing bonds them together: their contempt for their boss. In an impulse decision, the women kidnap him and run the office in his stead, making positive changes that improve the office environment. But will their crime go undetected? Inspired by the 1980 film, with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton and book by Patricia Resnick, 9 to 5 opened on Broadway in 2009. It received four Tony nominations.
Overall, Haverford’s professionalism, passion, and boldness made 9 to 5 a rousing success.
Georgia Evans as Violet Newstead, Pammie Cobaugh as Doralee Rhodes, and Grazia LaRosa as Judy Bernly led the cast. Exuding professionalism, all three actresses showcased impressive vocals, excellent comic timing, and distinctive acting choices. Evans’s strong onstage presence drew the audience in, and she depicted a tough persona while showing vulnerability. Her versatility was evident in “Potion Notion”, where she shifted from sweet to deranged. Not only did Cobaugh show off her smooth voice, she also showcased a realistic character. She portrayed Doralee with strength and calm positivity. LaRosa showed Judy’s emotions through her face and body language, and she made sound acting choices which made her even more endearing. It was inspiring to watch her character gain confidence throughout the production. However extraordinary these actresses were on their own, they were even greater together. Their apparent chemistry and tangible support for one another elevated the performance. To round off the leads, Jack O’Leary as Franklin Hart, Jr. exemplified a role that the audience loved to hate! His suave vocals and comic expressions were polished to a tee, and his scenes often had the audience howling with laughter.
Aidan Curry as Joe showcased sweet sincerity in his scenes with Evans. Annajean Gionta as Roz Keith caused some of the loudest laughter in the show. Her strong vocals and excellent comic timing made her a standout among the cast. The energy and commitment of the large ensemble stood out in all of their scenes. They showed off polished choreography, whether it was the complex dances performed by the Featured Dancers or simpler movements. In particular, “One of the Boys” was an exuberant and impressive number, due both to Evans’s powerful presence and the male ensemble’s high energy. Notable was assistant director Shane Leinhauser’s work on the complex hospital scene, which he directed to maximize comedic timing and to showcase ensemble members.
Student Tommy Barnes conducted the HHS Pit Orchestra, which gave a flawless performance and boosted the production’s level of professionalism. Georgia Evans’s costumes included subtle details and impressive quick changes which further grounded the show in the time period.
Overall, Haverford High School’s 9 to 5 was a masterful, larger-than-life production which left its audience feeling empowered and ready to change their own lives.
Review submitted by Oakley Blinman of Harriton High School
Pour yourself a cup of ambition and get ready for an extraordinary day at the office, because Haverford High School’s production of 9 to 5 is a show certainly worth tumbling out of bed for!
9 to 5, based on the movie of the same name, tells the story of three women: Violet Newstead, Judy Bernly, and Doralee Rhodes. Working under misogynistic CEO Franklin Hart, each woman develops her own conflict with the boss, whether it be a lack of reward, recognition, or respect. When each of them finally come together and accidentally kidnap Hart, the world spins on its head in a hilarious tale that speaks volumes for women’s equality.
Haverford High School’s production was packed with talented players – strong vocalists, incredible comedic talent, and moving performances. The cast and crew worked harmoniously and brought Consolidated Industries to life on the stage with a gorgeous and functional set, brilliant costumes, and stunning technical elements. Featuring a student directed scene as well as a student-lead orchestra, this show came together seamlessly and shone like the sun.
The female-lead cast was packed with powerful players, like Georgia Evans, who portrayed the headstrong Violet Newstead. With rich vocals, brilliant acting, and a glaring aptitude for dance, there’s no question of whether or not this girl deserves a promotion. Alongside her was Pammie Cobaugh as Doralee Rhodes, who delivered power-packed vocals (with a little Southern twist). Playing the girls’ sworn enemy, Franklin Hart, was Jack O’Leary, who found a way to make the audience despise him just enough that he was impossible not to adore. It’s a challenging balance, achieved with the help of his side-splitting delivery and potent vocal talent.
Alongside the formidable leading team, a number of talented players took to the stage. One of them was Annajean Gionta, playing Roz Keith, the nosy office assistant with a soft spot for her boss. Gionta’s performance was fantastic, especially in the song “Hart to Heart,” which perfectly displayed her immense vocal talent. Aidan Curry played another love-struck worker: he fell for Violet as the audience fell for his stunning performance as Joe. A strong ensemble brought the show together, featuring many proficient vocalists as well as a dazzling dance ensemble.
This production also showcased a talented technical team. The set was practical and attractive, the lighting was meticulously done, and the costumes were perfectly period-appropriate. Although there were a few hiccups with the sound, they recovered quickly and did a great job of solving issues on the fly.
Breaking free from the dormancy of the daily grind, Haverford High School’s 9 to 5 was pure joy (to the girls)!