Fireband Theatre Goes Back to the 80’s
Shoulder pads, knee-length skirts, feathered hair, and even rotary phones have been resurrected for a new production of 9 to 5 The Musical. The color yellow welcomes you into the space as it’s on the floor and the color of the stairs leading up to Mr. Hart’s Office. The office has a very stark contrast to the bright yellow leading up to it and has fake wood paneling that actually resembles most of the 80’s movies that have office scenes. It also has a massive wooden desk in front of a copy the Rape of Persephone depicting Persephone being abducted by Pluto as someone looks on from the corner of the frame. The dark office and artwork depicting an assault looms over the yellow-infused playing space and the band that is tucked near a section of seating.
The cast sounded amazing, but to this writer, seemed to struggle to be heard over the band. The moments where voices and instruments aligned were delightful though. Outside of the three leading ladies Sharriese Hamilton (Doralee), Anne Sheridan Smith (Violet), and Sara Reinecke (Judy) a memorable solo number came from Veronica Garza’s (Roz) “Heart to Hart” which showed hidden layers to the of the office snitch. It was also fun to watch chorus members step out of scenes and join the band and/or vice versa as needed. The mics had issues on opening night –on when they shouldn’t be, or too hot at times- -which likely will get fixed in later performances.
The Joys of Live Theatre
Aside from these sound issues, and Anne Sheridan Smith having to perform around a few wardrobe malfunctions, the team rallied remarkably and put on a fun show. While the major themes of the play are still sadly relevant, and some of Mr. Hart’s behavior is particularly appalling almost 40 years after the film was released, the production team put forth an exciting effort that lead to a ton of laughter (and at times applause and audible agreement from the audience). This production also leans into important social media movements, even going as far as listing hashtags in the back of the program, which is refreshing in today’s climate.
This show is ideal for ladies nights out, family outings with teens, and anyone who is looking for a fun night out after working their own 9 to 5 job.
Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read – Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.
Thru May 20th
Thursdays 7:30 pm
Fridays 7:30 pm
Saturdays 7:30 pm
Sundays 3:00 pm
Anne Sheridan Smith
Andra Velis Simon
The Den Theatre's Bookspan Theatre
1331 N. Milwaukee Ave
$20 Student/Industry Rush Tickets
Tickets available at Firebrand Website
Andra Velis Simon
Note: An excerpt of this review appears in Theatre in Chicago
About the Author
Sharai Bohannon is a playwright, and an avid theatre practitioner, who is very excited to write about most things but especially Chicago Theatre. She has a background in journalism and technical theatre and is excited that those degrees will be put to use in a way that gives her an excuse to leave her couch and brave this “outside” that people keep telling her about. When not on her couch watching TV, she can be found working one of her multiple jobs and/or hunting down a happy hour near you. Read some of Sharai Bohannon’s New Works on New Play Exchange.