Castle High School fall musical gets feminist with '9 to 5'

Photo by Greg Schultz

The cast of Castle High School's production of '9 to 5.'

Females were the focus of Castle High School's fall musical, "9 to 5," which premiered Nov 21-23.

The show, which was directed by Eric Antey and choreographed by Amanda Antey, is based on the 1980 film starring Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, who work in a sexist office life environment and end up holding their egotistical boss hostage to run the company themselves.

Although the film debuted nearly 40 years ago, several of the CHS student cast members believe it is just as relevant of a show to have today, especially with the current #MeToo and #Time'sUp movements.

"The whole show is about women discrimination in the work place," said CHS senior Sam Schultz, who plays the boss-man, Franklin Hart Jr. "And the core of it just started in the early 70s when women were starting to take on more office jobs."

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CHS senior Jadyn List, who plays the doctor and secretary in the show, said it's nice to have a show with a lot of females leads.

"Musicals are dominated by females," she said. "And '9 to 5' gives a lot of females the opportunity to have roles and be apart of these types of shows."

Senior Zane Phelps, who plays the supporting male role Joe, is a fan of taking a back seat to let his female classmates and thespians shine.

"He is the love interest of Violet, who is one of the main roles. So, he follows the women and supports the women -- It's really cool," he said. "The show is obviously a feminist show and is very empowering for women and I think, to get to play a role as a male character that is supporting of their ambitions is really awesome."

Schultz feels the same way, even though his character is the opposite of Phelps' and is in fact, the antagonist.

"In the movie, he was a bit more predatory towards women especially," Schultz said. "But in our version, we toned it down a bit, especially since it's a high school production. But, he's still not a great guy."

Although, his character still fibs to the office about his "liaisons" with gorgeous office employee Doralee.

"The office refers to her as a (promiscuous woman) basically because the boss guy, me, has been telling everyone I'm having an affair with her, but I haven't, I'm just trying too," he said. "And Violet, the one in charge of teaching the new girl how to work in the office, has worked longer than I have. And she's very very frustrated with me because I am the CEO, even though she is completely capable of being it."

The boiling point brings the girls to locking their boss in his house, which Schultz had a lot of fun with.

"There is a dream sequence where they plot out different ways they'd kill me because they're so frustrated with me and it's really light hearted and funny," he said. "And at the end of act 1, they put me in a harness and they literally hang me above my bed, so I'm just stuck there and can't move. But, it's really rewarding because I'm helping them tell their story and I'm just another piece to what helps get the message out."

The cast also enjoyed getting into the mindset of their 70s based characters, including,

Jentry Gottfried who was part of the ensemble.

"It's really been a lot of fun the last few weeks getting into the hair and the makeup and costumes and really getting into the 70s'-ness of it," she said. "It's really enjoyable."

While Amanda Antey said she tried to stay as true to the time period as possible when it came to the set design of the show.

"We did a lot of research and avocado green and burnt orange were incredibly popular during that time period," she said. "Interestingly enough, those colors ended up going out of style because it was hard to maintain through out the whole house over the years."

Visually, Amanda Antey helped to create a wide set as well for the optimal viewer experience.

"We have a really panoramic set," she said. "We wanted to really fill out the whole stage so the audience feels connected to the characters."

The choreographer, who just recently took over coaching the Castle Chargerettes, also helped to cast a few of her dancers in the musical who normally wouldn't have participated.

"It's been great to have some of the dancers because they are such great performers," she said. "They just needed a little bit of encouragement."

While Phelps said although the show is set around 40 years ago, the message is a classic one.

"At the end of the show, there is a voiceover from Dolly Parton and she says, 'To share the show with people as much as you can,'" he said. "And I think the show can be relevant throughout any time period."

As for Gottfried, she believes it's really encouraging to have a show where the women are at the center of the story.

"They are strong and vulnerable, but they used that to their advantage," she said. "And I think that's a really interesting kind of aspect and not something we see enough of."

Marisa Patwa is a graduate of the University of Evansville with a degree in journalism and minor in political science.

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