Youngstown Playhouse Gets Busy with Musical ‘9 to 5’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – For the final show of its first century, The Youngstown Playhouse will present a comedy with a message for the ages.

The workplace musical “9 to 5,” an adaptation of the blockbuster 1980 film, opens Friday.

It will be the final show at the South Side theater before the centennial season begins in August.

The movie “9 to 5” became iconic with its cast of Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda as three downtrodden secretaries who turn the tables on their chauvinistic boss.

The movie was back in the news recently with the announcement that a remake will be made, with Jennifer Anniston as producer.

The office environment across the country has changed drastically in the past 40 years. Since the pandemic, a large percentage of office workers now have remote jobs and never even meet their boss or co-workers.

But “9 to 5” is about much more than office politics.

Connor Bezeredi, who is directing the Playhouse production, put his finger on the show’s main pillar.

“Even though the show is a romp, its core message is about hope and how everyone can have it,” he said.

The stage production closely follows the movie.

“It’s incredibly faithful,” Bezeredi said. “A few things were reworked just to make sure it can happen on a stage. But it pretty much retains everything [from the movie].”

Though the number of people in the office, and the machinery used in 1980, might not look the same today, the themes of “9 to 5” also remain intact and relevant.

The disparity in the way men and women are treated in the workplace is at the crux of the show. 

The story takes pains to show the real people behind their office veneers, and how they must adapt every day.

“We see everyone’s inner workings, and then we see them in the office, see how they shift to become a cog in the machine,” Bezeredi said. “The three women sort of take over the office, and we see how they would do things, and how they positively affect morale.”

The musical also features a great score by Parton, including the theme song, which became a smash hit. The song not only lays the groundwork for the story but does it with a pleasing degree of big-city office energy.

The Playhouse production features Jackie Collins, Kath Steeb and Hannah Sinclair as the three lead characters: Violet, Doralee and Judy. In the movie, those roles were played by Tomlin, Parton and Fonda, respectively.

Kage Coven plays Franklin Hart, their boss.

The cast also includes Sarah Whitlach, Edward Bazzell, David Leach, Louis Weiss, Joanna Andrei, Caitlyn N. Santiago, Jaye Mills, Carolyn Colley, Sierra Ellis and Dave Wolford.

For Bezeredi, “9 to 5” has a special allure.

“It’s the first musical I ever saw on Broadway,” he said. 

The director was 16 at the time.

“I came to appreciate the film later,” he continued. “And now that I’ve aged a little, it gave me the sense to appreciate what the movie was saying. Really strong female characters have a strong influence on me, and I always root for the underdog.”

Curtain times for “9 to 5” are 7:30 p.m. June 7, 8, 14 and 15; and 2:30 p.m. June 9 and 16.

For tickets, go to

Pictured at top: Hannah Sinclair, Jackie Collins and Kath Steeb in a scene from The Youngstown Playhouse’s production of “9 to 5.”

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.