X-entricity bring 9 to 5 The Musical to The Courtyard!

What a way to make a livin’!

Dolly Parton’s smash-hit musical is the most fun you’ll have at the theatre all year and X-entricity are bringing it right to your doorstep! We had a glimpse into the rehearsal room and caught up with Director, Steve Liddle.

What made you choose to stage 9 to 5 The Musical?

Someone mentioned doing this show to me a long time ago and I initially dismissed it as I didn’t really know about it and wrongly assumed it was just another ‘jukebox’ musical. When it got revived on the West End, I knew a member of the cast, so I went along to the opening night and was blown away by it. Albeit a very fun and upbeat musical, it is full of absolute ‘belters’ and the story line is actually really poignant. I loved it so much I have now seen it 5 times in the West End and on tour. I knew it would be perfect for us!

A rehearsal shot from 9 to 5 The Musical

How are rehearsals going?

To be honest, this one has been a bit of a challenge initially! We were juggling this show with Phantom of the Opera (which we staged in August) and July/August is holiday season and with the latest bout of covid and colds ripping around, we have had a lot of disruption with cast absences. However, they have absolutely blown me away with their ability and have really done their best to catch up. We had our final rehearsal on Sunday and I came home buzzing, I am so proud of everyone and it’s going to be a cracking show.

A group of people rehearsing

What makes X-Entricity’s adaptation so exciting?

We have tried to stay very true to the original narrative of the production, however increased the cast size slightly so we can make some of the big numbers even bigger. We have gone the whole hog with the production values, with a full live professional band, an incredible set and a few surprises along the way 😉

The cast of 9 to 5 The Musical in rehearsal

For those who don’t know, can you tell us a little about the story line from your perspective?

The story line is hilarious, but also very poignant. Keeping it simple, it’s about female empowerment and equality. Set in the 70’s when, in Dolly’s own words, “women were just secretaries in a man’s world,” the ‘lying, sexist, egotistical, bigot’ of a boss Mr Hart gets his ‘just desserts’ when he treats all the women in his organisation with a total lack of respect. They kidnap him whilst his wife is away on holiday and run the office themselves making changes for the better, and the outcome…. well, you’ll have to come and see it!

The cast of 9 to 5 The Musical in rehearsal

How many cast members do you have in the production and will there be many familiar faces?

There are 40 cast members in this production and lots of familiar faces! We also welcome back some X-entricity Veterans. In our principal cast, we welcome back Lewis Booton as Franklyn Hart. You may remember Lewis as our Emmett in ‘Legally Blonde’ and our Nathan in ‘Guys and Dolls.’ We also welcome back Charlotte Green as Judy Burnley, who played one of our Diva’s in ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’ and whilst we are welcoming people back, we also have Breanne-Shaye Burton who was our Madame Thenardier in our first ever production at The Courtyard of ‘Les Miserables!’ We mustn’t forget our leading man from our past two musicals ‘Kinky Boots’ and ‘Shrek’, Sam Morrish, who returns playing Joe, and many more X-entricity stalwarts. I could list them all, but we will be here forever! It’s also lovely to welcome many new faces to X-entricity, including Emma-Jane Hughes as our Dorolee Rhodes and Lizzie Nicholson-Wigg as our Violet Newstead. It has been a dream working with everyone.

The cast in rehearsal for 9 to 5 The Musical

What is the funniest/most surprising thing that’s happened in rehearsals so far?

That’s a difficult one…. there are so many hilarious moments in this show, that often we have to pause proceedings for everyone to fall about laughing and there are a few moments where the cast are really struggling to remain professional and keep straight faces whilst looking at each other!!

Finally, why should everyone come and watch?

Every time I sit in a rehearsal and watch these performers, I am blown away by their ability. I am still laughing at scenes I have seen countless times on repeat and continuously getting goosebumps at some of the epic vocal moments. Hours and hours of hard work and dedication has gone into making this show happen and not only do the cast deserve a cracking audience, I can absolutely guarantee audiences will love every moment. Now that’s a bold statement to live up to, isn’t it?!

Inspired by the iconic 80’s film, this hilarious production is about teaming up, standing up and taking care of business! If that Q&A doesn’t sell you, we don’t know what will! 9 to 5 The Musical will be on at The Courtyard from Tuesday 17 – Saturday 21 October.

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