Theater Info for Maryland

Milburn Stone Theatre 9 to 5

By • Feb 5th, 2013 • Category: Reviews
9 to 5
Milburn Stone Theatre: (Info) (Web)
Milburn Stone Theatre, North East, MD
Through February 10th
2:10 with one intermission
$18/$15 Students and Seniors/$10 Children/$5 College Students
Reviewed February 1st, 2013

Milburn Stone Theatre’s 9 to 5 has a lot of good elements that, unfortunately, never quite come together. There is a lot of inconsistency in the cast and in the technical elements of the production. For the noncritical eye, however, the average audience member may not notice the lack of polish that holds this production back from the level of professionalism and attention to detail that Milburn Stone usually delivers.

9 to 5 centers around three women who work in an office in 1979. To transport the audience to the time period, there is an excellent scenic design by Kristin Ellert who creates a set that is not only impressive in the moving panel in the center, but that captures the time period in the color scheme and pattern. Unfortunately, the costumes are a little more uneven. Some are ideal for the period and the characters, and others seem like they were used in place of not finding anything better. The same inconsistency is seen in the savvy lighting design versus the spotty sound design. While everyone can always be seen, they cannot always be heard.

At the center is Violet Newstead, who is played with great aplomb by Marji Eldreth. Violet is a secretary who dreams of becoming an executive. While her character is at first a little abrasive, she creates an undercurrent of humor and heart that make you love her. She is vocally a little inconsistent, but she makes up for it with a strong acting performance.

Also working in the office is Doralee Rhodes (Rebekah Latshaw), who wants to be seen as someone with a heart and brains and not just a pretty face. Latshaw falls into a bit of a trap of playing Doralee as a bit more of a caricature than a character. This works in terms of creating humor in some scenes, but falls short in letting the audience find the character’s inner core. On the plus side, she has lovely, strong, and consistent vocals.

New to the office is recent divorcee Judy Bernley (Jayne Lewis), whose husband left her for his young secretary leaving her to become a secretary herself despite her complete lack of experience. Throughout, Lewis’ vocals are decent but not impressive and her performance is a little stifled and too underplayed. This all changes in her character’s climatic moment during “Get Out and Stay Out.” She becomes stronger vocally, nailing all but the last note. Even that last note, she plays off beautifully in the intensity that she feels in the number. The idea was most likely to show a large contrast between Judy until that point and Judy at that moment, but the earlier Judy was too small for being such an integral part of the show.

The problem that these characters face comes in the form of CEO Franklin Hart Jr. (Ryan Wagner). He promotes men instead of Violet. He spreads rumors about sleeping with Doralee and continues to harass her with unwanted advances. He demeans Judy and just about everyone else for that matter. Wagner has solid vocals. He also has a certain charisma onstage, but Hart should not seem likeable. What Wagner lacks is the strength and inner nastiness to make Hart’s misogynistic slime believable.

The strongest performance in the cast actually comes from Andrew John Mitchell as Joe, a junior accountant with a crush on Violet. Mitchell is heartfelt, likeable, and real. He brings genuine emotion to the number “Let Love Grow.”

9 to 5 has some great moments and is overall an entertaining evening, but it does have a few substantial flaws that keep it from ascending to the level of a usual Milburn Stone production.

Photo Gallery

Rebekah Latshaw (Doralee), Jayne Lewis (Judy) and Marji Eldreth (Violet) The cast
Rebekah Latshaw (Doralee), Jayne Lewis (Judy) and Marji Eldreth (Violet)
The cast
Rebekah Latshaw as Doralee Rhoades
Rebekah Latshaw as Doralee Rhoades

Photos by Scott Serio, Cecil Scene


  • Violet Newstead: Marji Eldreth
  • Doralee Rhodes: Rebekah Latshaw
  • Judy Bernley: Jayne Lewis
  • Franklin Hart, Jr.: Ryan Wagner
  • Roz Keith: Suzette Burgess
  • Joe: Andrew John Mitchell
  • Dwayne Rhodes: Drew Scott
  • Josh Newstead: Gannon Webb
  • Missy Hart: Melanie Bishop
  • Kathy: Amy Luchey
  • Margaret: Cindy Mulvey
  • Maria: Shelby Smith
  • Bob Enright: Tim Koob
  • Dick Bernley: Ryan Milliner
  • Tinsworthy: John ‘Doc’ Mulvey
  • Dog Walker: Alicia Fencer
  • Ensemble: Miranda Daviduk, Jenny Davies, Chris Davis, Danielle Finlay, Charlie Johnson, Kevin Johnson, Johanna Jones, Katrina Obarski, Matt Peterson, Andrew Reed Jr., Jenni Shammel, Paula Smith, Ashley Weeks, Erik Williams, Kelly Ann Wolfe, and Christy Wyatt

Production Staff

  • Direction: S. Lee Lewis
  • Musical Direction: Anthony Vitalo
  • Choreography: Bambi Johnson
  • Scenic Design: Kristin Ellert
  • Costume Design: Emma School
  • Lighting Design: William A. Price III
  • Properties Design: Eyvo Johnson
  • Stage Manager: Lauren Gates
  • Assistant Director: Brandon Gorin
  • Back Stage Manager: Tyler Bristow
  • Master Electrician: Marshall B. Garrett
  • Scenic Artist: Dane Hutchinson, Kelly Rice
  • Sound Engineer: Alex
  • MT Pit Operator: Anthony Vitalo
  • Light Board Operator: Lauren Gates
  • Follow Spot Operator: Nicole Travers, Matt Wolffe, Missy Wyatt
  • Video Operator: Serenity Rowland
  • Fly Chief: Brandon Gorin
  • Back Stage Crew: Diane Berquist, Bob Denton, Serenity Rowland
  • Scenic Crew: Bambi Johnson, Johanna Jones, Ben Morrison

Disclaimer: Milburn Stone Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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has been involved in theatre in the state of Maryland and DC for most of her life. She has acted, directed, choreographed, stage managed, and held a million other odd jobs. She has a B.S. in English from Towson University, and is currently pursuing her Master's Degree to become a Reading Specialist. She is a Maryland State Certified English, Theatre, Elementary, and Mathematics Educator. After teaching English and Drama for many years, she now teaches 6th grade Language Arts at Magnolia Middle School in Harford County, Maryland. She wrote the curriculum currently used in Prince George’s County Public Schools for Drama I and Drama II. She now writes and directs plays and musicals for use in church.

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  1. A correction was made to a mistake in an actor’s name. ShowBizRadio apologizes for that mistake.