Opus Fides really outdid themselves this year, with their performance of Patricia Resnick’s 9 to 5. The musical takes place in the late 1970s, and focuses on three women working as secretaries in a corporate office, and attempting to overcome the struggles of their lives. While this premise might seem like it would lead to a somber, and dramatic performance, the musical is anything but. Filled with humorous moments, comical social commentary, and some serious messages about gender equality and fairness in the workplace, 9 to 5 is an incredibly fun journey, made even more so by Opus’ spectacular cast.
The lead roles of Judy Bernly (Maddie Treadway), Violet Newstead (Amanda Topper), and Doralee Rhodes (Alexandria Hunkler) were all excellently performed. Treadway’s Judy is quiet at first, a woman who feels lost and alone, but as the show progresses she evolves into a more and more powerful person, culminating in the song “Get Out and Stay Out”, where she shows that she no longer needs other people, specifically men, in order to feel powerful. Treadway does a wonderful job of making the character feel alive, and convincing the audience to empathize with her.
Topper’s performance as Violet Newstead is also phenomenal. As a widowed mother of a late-teenage son, she feels stressed and overworked as the audience is introduced to her. Throughout the show, she overpowers her bigoted and sexist boss, and due to Topper’s wonderful charisma on stage, the audience is overjoyed in this victory.
Finally, Hunkler’s performance as Doralee is equally great. Probably the strongest singer in the cast, her vocal performances are absolutely stunning, specifically in her solo number “Backwoods Barbie”, which is quite emotionally moving. Alongside her singing, Hunkler’s acting is consistently enjoyable, and some of the scenes between her and Franklin Hart (Vincent Pensabene) had the audience in an uproar.
Many of the supporting performances are equally enjoyable. Specifically of note are Hart and Joe (Adam Alexander). Pensabene does a phenomenal job as a bigoted, despicable individual, and had the entire audience rooting against him by the end of the show. Alexander is charming and has a humble stage presence that is incredibly endearing as he tries to woo Newstead throughout the show.
Though there was a technical hiccup here or there, for the most part the show ran smoothly, and none of the lighting or sound errors were bad enough to ruin the performance, and the cast handled all of these issues well. Opus Fides gave the university another phenomenal performance this year, and they should all be proud of the hard work they put into it.