Theatre department performs ‘9 to 5: The Musical’

Students perform Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5: The Musical” in the Malcolm Field Performing Arts Theatre under Richard Roberts’ direction. Vanguard Photo | Kyle Will

SVSU’s theatre department performed “9 to 5: The Musical” at the Malcolm Field Performing Arts Theatre from April 10 to April 13 at 7:30 p.m. and on April 14 at 3 p.m.

Theatre professor Richard Roberts, who has directed about 26 productions during his 15 years working at SVSU, spoke optimistically of the musical showings for the week.

“Our hope is that we have a strong run,” he said. “We want to bring out SVSU students, as well as the public, so they can come and enjoy our show.”

Joshua Lloyd, a fifth-year theatre and communication major, shared similar feelings.

“I hope that people have fun and enjoy themselves,” Lloyd said. “I hope that they forget about their day-to-day lives and just take time to sit back and relax.”

Brianne Dolney, a theater and political science senior, shared her expectations for the showing of “9 to 5.”

“I hope we get a lot of people and that they laugh and cry with us,” Dolney said.

The theatre department also hopes to recruit some high school drama enthusiasts by showing off all the benefits the program offers.

“We invite any high school drama program in the state of Michigan to come get free tickets to our shows,” Roberts said. “Our hope is that we can expose them to multiple things. One way to do that is through our recruiting process. It’s one thing to say SVSU is great, but it’s another thing to have them come see us and get them to say, ‘Wow, that’s something we can’t do now,’ and it’s a major component of our recruiting program.”

Roberts later reflected on the progress of this particular group of actors and actresses.

“We auditioned in December and started working in the middle of January,” he said. “The greatest and hardest part is getting all this wrapped up together. The hardest part of a musical is the coordination of multiple components: music, drama and acting, compared to a straight show, which is just the acting.”

Roberts wished to thank the music program for their help in the production of the musical.

“The nice thing is that SVSU has a great relationship with the music department,” he said. “The pit is a class, so these students are actually getting graded and are able to learn a tool that they will use as music education majors. No other university offers opportunities like this.”

Roberts then explained his favorite part of the progression of the production.

“(My favorite part is) watching people finally becoming so relaxed that they start to have fun,” he said. “Instead of acting, it becomes ‘Oh, we can relax. We know what we are doing,’ and they start to have fun. It’s a great thing.”

Lloyd and Dolney shared their favorite experiences while being a part of the production.

“(My favorite part is) getting to be a complete jerk, because I am the complete opposite of this character,” Lloyd said.

He played the role of Mr. Hart and has been practicing theatre for roughly 13 years.

“It’s been a challenge to dive into a character I am not used to,” he said. “But it’s been a rewarding challenge, and it’s kinda fun to be mean.”

Dolney, who played the role of Judy and has practiced theatre for almost 15 years, said her favorite parts were the message of the musical and the fact that the musical was written by Dolly Parton.

She mentioned that she too was unfamiliar with a character like the one she played. Despite the years of experience both Dolney and Lloyd have in theatre, Roberts explained how the theatre program is open to everyone.

“None of our productions are just for the theatre majors,” Roberts said. “Multiple degree programs are on the stage. In fact … almost every program we have at SVSU has been involved with this production.”

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