Saturday, April 13, 2013

Hollins' '9 to 5' Is Simply Dazzling

Hollins University's production of Dolly Parton's and Patricia Reskick's "9 to 5," the 1970s play that became a hit movie, continues a recent level of excellence of production that has become the standard in this region--with or without the presence of Mill Mountain Theatre, the professional theater.

Mill Mountain returns late this month after nearly two years of being dark but it has a long way to go to catch Hollins and its outstanding director/chairman of the theater department Ernie Zulia and the team he has put together. Zulia once again pairs seasoned professionals--both on and off the stage--with talented students to produce a play that delighted a full house tonight.

Ernie Zulia with Mary Ellen Apgar.
Whether Zulia's direction, John Sailor's outstanding set, Amanda Quivey's eye-grabbing costumes or performances by seasoned professionals like Drew Dowdy paired with a student lead trio of Russell Wilson, Brittany Kemmer and Maria Latiolais, the teamwork is obvious. The show was stopped by a second level player, Lucretia Bell in one of those "holy crap!" moments.

Zulia even brought back recent graduate Mary Ellen Apgar, who was so memorable in last year's "Good Ole Girls" to do the narration for this one. She graduated last spring and does a narration as well as she does an "old girl." Dowdy, for his part, has become the hottest acting commodity in this region in the past year--deservedly so.

This is the story you'll remember from the movie with Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dabney Coleman. It revolved around an evil, sexist male boss and the three secretaries who overcame their status and got even, taking over the company eventually. The script is a bit dated, but on a woman's campus, it elicits howls.

The three leads--Wilson, Kemmer and Latiolais--are delightful singers separately, but are especially effective when harmonizing. There is some solid dancing throughout. This is a fluid, professional performance on every level and one that should appeal to a wide audience. Go see it.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the prompt Dan. I concur with your review. My wife and I had a ball watching it in front of a practically full house this afternoon.