Curtain Call Set to Light Up the Stage

Between the 23rd and 25th of February, the Curtain Call Musical Theatre Society will be performing their latest production, 9 to 5. The play, based on a 1980 hit movie of the same name, is a hilarious and thought-provoking musical comedy in which co-workers Violet, Judy and Doralee unite to turn the tables on their sexist, unctuous boss, Franklin Hart Jr.

I sat down with the production team to discuss the play. Joshua Colgrave occupies the director’s seat, whilst Jessica Cox serves as musical director. We are joined by the leading ladies themselves – Jennifer Nunn, Lilly Connors, and Cassandra Buck, who play Violet Newstead, Doralee Rhodes, and Judy Bernly, respectively.

So, tell us about the show.

Jessica: 9 to 5 follows the lives of our three leading ladies, Violet Newstead, Doralee Rhodes, and Judy Bernly as they navigate office life in the 70s, when ‘everything’ happens between the hours of 9am and 5pm. Dealing with the sexist boss, the boys club, and the trials of balancing family life and relationships with working at Consolidated, the musical follows the girls as they bring about a few changes to the office.

Why did you choose 9 to 5 as your first musical this year?

Joshua: It’s a fun musical that deals with some quite big issues, like sexism and female empowerment! It tackles this in a fun, upbeat way. I don’t think it’s a predictable musical, though, with what the three leads have in store for us! They all grow hugely within the musical in themselves and as a trio and I think it’s very powerful and funny to watch.

The show is performed alongside a full band. What was it like for you to prepare and conduct that?

Jessica: It’s the first time I’ve been conducting a band, rather than being in the band or on stage, so it’s definitely a change for me. It is challenging, but it’s also fun, and a real buzz hearing the songs we’ve been working on for the past five months come to life when the full band play together.

How have the three leads found this process?

Jennifer: It’s been incredibly rewarding. Rehearsals have been hard-work but it’s all worth it. The show has really come together.

Lilly: Really enjoyable. I come alive when I play such a strong woman as Doralee, so I’ve always been so excited to start rehearsals.

Cassandra: As Jennifer said, it’s been a lot of hard work, but seeing everyone come into their own is so worth it. It doesn’t hurt that the script and music are incredible fun to work with either.

How does it feel to perform hits by Dolly Parton in a musical like this?

Lilly: Obviously, the songs are so well known that you worry if you’re doing them justice half the time. But it’s really exciting to bring her words to life in our own special way.

Jennifer: I’m a big fan of a lot of her work and to be able to perform some of it has been amazing.

Cassandra: Weirdly enough, her style of writing translates really well to a musical theatre setting. They all create such a fantastic story.

A big theme of this musical is female empowerment. What has it been like developing that for the stage?

Jennifer: I’ve loved developing the relationship between the three girls. They have such distinct characters and it’s been so interesting seeing how they respond to each other.

Lilly: Yes, it has been amazing to work alongside two women who have such clear visions of who their characters are and what they want. It makes it powerful to act alongside them and to bring that to the stage as a trio that are not to be messed with!

Cassandra: I have to repeat what Lilly said, that it’s great working with these two women. The dynamic between the three characters is so important to the show, so working together on making it believable has really helped me. I couldn’t have done it without such great acting partners.

Why do you think people should come and see the show?

Cassandra: It’s an energetic, feel-good musical with incredibly catchy songs, a good few dance breaks and a great story with lots of emotion at its core.

Joshua: Plus, it’s hilarious. I feel that it’s a musical which has something for every member of the family, with catchy songs that will stay in your head for weeks after.

Jessica: If you love Dolly Parton, it’ll be great for you, but even if you don’t absolutely love Dolly, it’s still a blast! And, of course, very empowering for women, I think.

Lilly: And it’s absolutely ridiculous! Insane!

Jennifer: Yes, it has everything from woodland creatures to M&Ms, with multiple fantasy sequences and a whole lot of coffee in between. It’s a lot of fun, to watch and to perform.


9 to 5 is to be performed 23rd to 25th February at Morlan Centre, 7:30pm. Tickets are £5 for students/concessions, and £8 for adults. Contact 07443607874 or email [email protected] to get yours!