Conway Dinner Theater to present 9 to 5

Carol Rolf Originally Published July 28, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated July 26, 2013 at 2:24 p.m.
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CONWAY — The Conway Dinner Theater has a new home — right under the same roof as its sponsor, the Faulkner Academy of Arts, at 2201 Washington Ave.

It’s there that a veteran group of actors will present 9 to 5: The Musical on Friday and Saturday and again Aug. 9 and 10. A dinner theater will be offered Friday and Aug. 9 and 10, with the meal being served at 6 p.m., followed by the performance at 7. Saturday’s offering will be theater only, starting at 7.

The menu for the dinner theater is roasted Cornish hen with a savory rub, home-style mashed potatoes with gravy, coleslaw and bread. For a summertime dessert, patrons will be served strawberry cake with vanilla ice cream.

Tickets are $27.50 for theater and dinner and $14.25 for the show only. Tickets may be purchased by phone at (501)-339-7401; at Kordsmeier Furniture in downtown Conway; or online at faulkneracademyofarts.com.

Joan Hanna, director of the Faulkner Academy of Arts and music director of the upcoming production, said members of the group are “thrilled” to have a permanent place of their own for their productions.

“We have a permanent stage with a permanent curtain,” she said. “That means no more lugging around the stage and sets. We also have two rows of elevated seating. With this construction, which we have done ourselves, we will be able to seat about 80 patrons. I think this will be the best viewing venue we have ever had.

“We also have our own kitchen right here.”

Hanna said 9 to 5 features a score by seven-time Grammy Award winner Dolly Parton “that includes the blockbuster title song,” plus a book by original screenwriter Patricia Resnick.

The musical premiered in Los Angeles in September 2008 and opened on Broadway in April 2009. The show received 15 Drama Desk Award nominations, the most received by a production in a single year, as well as four Tony Award nominations.

The movie 9 to 5 was released in 1980 and starred Dolly Parton as Doralee Rhodes, the sexy secretary; Lily Tomlin as Violet Newstead, the super efficient office manager; and Jane Fonda as Judy Bernly, the frazzled divorcee. These three characters are all secretaries in a business owned by Franklin Hart Jr., played by Dabney Coleman in the movie.

These three women “turn the tables on their ‘sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical, bigot’ of a boss,” Hanna said. “In a hilarious turn of events, our three stars live out their wildest fantasy — giving their boss the boot. While Hart remains ‘otherwise engaged,’ the women give their workplace a dream makeover, taking control of the company that had always kept them down.”

Hanna said the musical “pretty much follows the movie.

“I think it’s a little more risqué than the movie, so I would rate it as PG-13,” she said, noting that several new faces are seen in the cast lineup.

Kristen Sherman directs the local production.

“It’s going to be amazing,” she said. “It’s hilarious. We have a phenomenal cast; we have some super, super talented people. It’s a really, really fun show.”

Members of the cast include the following:

• Kimberly Norris of Greenbrier as Violet Newstead;

• Breanna Bucko of Morrilton as Doralee Rhodes;

• Shannah Rae of Conway as Judy Bernly;

• David Allison of Jacksonville as Franklin Hart Jr.;

• Jenny Ruud of Little Rock as Roz Keith;

• Sam Prescott of Conway as Joe;

• Devin Pittinger of Perryville as Dwayne;

• Mark Wilson of Greenbrier as Josh;

• Amy Wittenburg of Conway as Missy Hart;

• JoAnna Hoadley of Conway as Maria;

• Bill Meehan of Conway as Dick;

• Kelly Green of Conway as Kathy;

• Kendra Thomas of Conway as Margaret;

• Frank Norris of Greenbrier as Bob Enright;

• Mike Woodrum of Conway as Tinsworthy;

• Jim Guinee of Conway as the detective and the doctor;

• Mandi Norris of Greenbrier as a candy striper;

• Jim Guinee, Bill Meehan, Frank Norris, Sam Prescott, Mark Wilson and Mike Woodrum as members of the men’s ensemble; and

• Kelly Green, Sarah Guinee, JoAnna Hoadley, Mandi Norris, Amy Wittenburg, Kendra Thomas and Rita Woodward of North Little Rock as members of the women’s ensemble.

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