REVIEW: No Promotion in Dolly’s Business Plan

Diana DeGarmo, Dee Hoty and Mamie Parris in "9 to 5"

The national tour of ”9 to 5: The Musical” is like a brilliant CEO without a business plan…destined to struggle, if not fail.

Dallas Summer Musicals’ current offering through May 29 at Dallas’ Music Hall at Fair Park is the stage version based on the film featuring Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. The hook then and now is Parton’s catchy hit of the same name, but it’s simply not enough to wrap a musical around.

The touring production features some outstanding vocal performers. Tony-nominated Dee Hoty takes the lead playing Violet, and she’s joined by Broadway veteran Mamie Parris as Judy and ”American Idol” finalist Diana Degamo, platinum wig and more, in the Dolly Parton role. They ably, energetically and enthusiastically handle all the vocal demands and truly do the best they can with the mediocre script, but it’s just not enough.

For a while, it’s fun to take a trip back to a time of carbon paper, afros, typewriters and broad-shouldered jackets. But the show can’t decide if it wants to make social commentary on the times, a musical farce or a stage version of an old movie.

Too many elements just don’t pull together. A larger-than-life video of Dolly Parton weirdly welcomes the audience in her folksy, gee-whiz manner, and the villain is left awkwardly dangling at one point in slapstick that doesn’t work. The constant scene changes, involving the cast  pushing and pulling desks, just get plain tiresome.

This show, like an office worker who’s been out performed by other workers, needs a pink slip.

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