News

Working “9 to 5”: student-run musical wows audience

by Caleb Obico (’25) and Anika Bastin (’23) | February 14, 2022

Cast of 9 to 5 on stage in the PAC Theater. Photo by Katherine Eng (’23)

From January 27 to 29, the Performing Arts Center opened for performances of 9 to 5: The Musical, the student-run show. The musical, directed by Sarah Vorrath (’22), focuses on three women in a 1970s workplace — Doralee, Judy, and Violet, played by Maria Ana (’23), Gabriella Federighi (’23), and Aashka Trivedi (’24), respectively. The trio works for their sexist boss Mr. Franklin Hart, played by Alexander Eiger (’23), who ignores their complaints and refuses to promote them. The show follows the women’s quest to be recognized and respected in their jobs. After making Hart a cup of coffee, Violet mistakenly believes that she used rat poison instead of sugar. Hart, overhearing this worry, fakes being poisoned as leverage, and the trio impulsively kidnaps him. With no one in charge, the women decide to step up as the new bosses.

The play was produced and coordinated by students, with Vorrath’s team including Justine Emerson (’22) as vocal director, Aidan Sanchez (’22) as tech director, Hannah Valencia (’22) as choreographer, and Miriam Gemelli (’22) as stage manager. “First of all, the artistic staff [was] brainstorming shows,” Vorrath explained. “I gave options and everyone gave their input, and we all chose 9 to 5. After that, we just went for it.”

While students mostly directed the musical, they had some help from teachers, particularly, the event moderator Mrs. Nancy Yang. Mrs. Yang “was really the best support system for the creative team and all of the actors,” Federighi stated. “While all of the musical was put on and orchestrated by students, we couldn’t have done it without her support.” Mr. Dale Thompson, another moderator, helped guide the tech crew.

Shepherd Cremer (’25), who plays Doralee’s supportive husband Dwayne, emphasized the intense time constraints that the cast and crew faced, stating that the musical was “very complex and we had a shorter timeframe than we originally expected.” In fact, the students managed to pull off the show in about two months, with student auditions taking place in November. “We had a lot of rehearsals,” recalled Cremer, each lasting “anywhere from two hours to six.” Despite the time challenge, Cremer stated that “the entire production was a huge success.”

A large part of 9 to 5’s incredible energy came from its phenomenal cast and crew. Ana stated, “My favorite part was that after every show when the music was just vamping in the background, we would always be singing and dancing to [the title track] ‘9 to 5’ together. It was just so special because even people you thought didn’t enjoy the process were all having fun.” From an off-stage perspective, Emerson added that the play saw a huge audition turnout. Because “it’s run by students instead of staff…they’re more confident,” she stated.

Overall, 9 to 5 was an incredible production that provided the audience, cast, and crew a rewarding experience that will not be forgotten. As Vorrath explained, “We chose 9 to 5 because it had a really beautiful message of female empowerment and friendship, and also standing up for yourself.”

Categories: News

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