THE LAST BROADWAY REVIEW
by Harvey Perr
published May 15, 2009
9 to 5
now playing on Broadway at the Marquis Theater
(Two women, THELMA and BEV, are seated at a
table in a restaurant in the theater district. THELMA is busy exploring the menu, which seems to contain far too many choices and THELMA
seems bored with them all. BEV is getting a little impatient with the process. And, after a very long pause, BEV breaks the
THELMA: I don’t know. There’s nothing here I like.
BEV: You said you were hungry.
THELMA: I was. I am. It’s just nothing appeals to me.
(THELMA continues looking.)
BEV: So? What did you think?
THELMA: What did I think? About what?
BEV: About what we just saw.
THELMA: Oh. I forgot already!
BEV: How could you forget? We just sat through a show.
THELMA: It feels like a hundred years ago.
BEV: (looking at THELMA’s menu) I know what you mean.
THELMA: What’d we see? Remind me.
BEV: That musical.
THELMA: Oh. Yeah. What was it? They’re all alike to me. You know.
BEV: You think I remember? I count on you, you know. You’re the theater maven.
THELMA: Why? Because I see everything? What else do I have to do? You know what? I was thinking the chopped liver.
BEV: (Looking at the program) 9 to
THELMA: What are you talking about?
BEV: What we just saw. The musical. 9 to 5.
THELMA: That’s the name of an old movie.
BEV: Well, it was based on the old movie.
THELMA: Really? I never saw it. Did you see it?
BEV: You know. I can’t remember if I saw it or not.
THELMA: How come I didn’t see it? I see everything.
BEV: You can’t see everything.
THELMA: I see everything. What else do I have to do? Come to think of it, I had the
chopped liver here and it wasn’t so good as I recall.
BEV: Anyway, what’d you think?
THELMA: Nothing with nothing.
BEV: Not even the choreography?
THELMA: What choreography?
BEV: The dancing. In the transitions.
THELMA: The transitions. Listen to you. The transitions. So fancy. So that’s what that was? Dancing? All that running around.
Remember High Button Shoes? That was dancing. This. Just running around.
BEV: You didn’t like that bald guy? He was such a good dancer.
THELMA: He was busy, that’s what he was. That’s what you call dancing?
BEV: I liked him. I like that not all the dancers are young and pretty. Once in a while, it’s nice, a little bald man like that.
THELMA: You know what they make good here? The egg salad. But I don’t know. I gotta watch the cholesterol. On the other hand, how
many times do I have egg salad? It wouldn’t kill me. Once. Right?
BEV: Sure. Go ahead.
THELMA: I don’t know. I was thinking maybe the Instant Heart Attack. End it all. Right here.
BEV: You liked the music, didn’t you?
THELMA: What music? You call that music? Did you ever see Oklahoma? That was music. This? It all sounded the same.
BEV: But Dolly Parton wrote the songs!
THELMA: So? One song I remember. And I heard that one a hundred years ago.
BEV: That was from the movie.
THELMA: Everyone thinks they’re Mel Brooks. They can write one song and turn it into a musical. And I’m not so sure about Mel
BEV: What about the song sung by the one who looks like Dolly Parton.
THELMA: Okay. Two songs. Was a time you’d go to the theater, every song was gorgeous. You know, I had to laugh. At the
intermission, the guy in front of me starts to leave. His wife says, “Hey, where ya goin’?” He says, “It’s not over?” She says “Of course
not. That was just the first act.” He looks at her. “You’re staying,” he says. She gave him such a look. It reminds me. I went to a show
with Harry a few weeks ago. He says to me at intermission, “So, what’d you think?” So I says, “I thought it was very thought-provoking.”
And he says, “What thoughts did it provoke?”
BEV: And what did you say?
THELMA: He’s always starting something. You know Harry. That’s why I don’t like going to the theater with him.
BEV: How about Allison Janney? You liked her, didn’t you? She’s always good.
THELMA: Which one was she?
BEV: The main one.
THELMA: The one with the kid? Her I liked. When she got high. But, to tell the truth,
I’d rather see her in something else. You know what? I’m going to go to hell with myself. I’m going to have the pickled herring.
BEV: Then I’ll have the Instant Heart Attack. But first I’m going to have a Tanqueray martini. Very dry.
THELMA: Get you. A martini. Very dry. So fancy. Okay. I’ll have one, too. What the hell!
BEV: So. On a scale of 1 to 10, what do you give it?
BEV: 9 to 5. What are we talking about?
THELMA: I thought we changed the subject. I thought we were talking martinis. Don’t go Harry on me! But, if you really want to
know, I give it a 3. Nothing with nothing. Oh, waiter!
harveyperr @ stageandcinema.com
top photo is by Justin Stevens
all other photos are by Joan Marcus