Terrible boss makes great play

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First Posted: 9/16/2013

How obnoxious is Mr. Hart?

“Oh, he’s terrible. He likes to hit on his employees, and he’s very misogynistic,” said Cate McDonald of Scranton, who plays office worker Doralee in “Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5,” which opened last weekend at the Music Box Playhouse in Swoyersville.

“He feels there’s no place for women in the workplace.”

Unless they’re his playthings?

“Exactly,” McDonald said. “(My character has to) climb a ladder to get a file from the highest shelf and he looks up my skirt. It’s pretty gross.”

From sexual harassment to spreading untrue rumors to taking credit for other people’s ideas, Hart commits just about every offense on the “bad boss” list.

“He really deserves his comeuppance,” said Dana Feigenblatt, who is directing the show.

“I think anyone who’s had to deal with a terrible boss has dreamed of kidnapping him and taking over the workplace,” said McDonald, explaining that’s just what Doralee and her co-workers Judy and Violet, played respectively by Ericka Law and Amanda Reese, manage to do.

But before they tie him up and suspend him (literally, from the ceiling), the trio engages in some wild fantasies about doing him in.

“In the cowgirl fantasy, Doralee comes out with a lasso and hogties him,” Feigenblatt said. “In the Snow White fantasy, he is poisoned with coffee and dies on a desk. We have the ensemble dressed as woodland creatures for that. And, in Judy’s fantasy, she does a seductive dance and leaves him tied up.”

When the women abandon fantasies in favor of actual revenge, they put Hart into a harness and leave him dangling over the stage.

“This is the second show I’m doing where it happens,” said Bill Lipski of Nanticoke, who plays Hart. “In ‘Les Mis,’ I was Javert, another mean person. When I jumped off the bridge, they suspended me in mid-air until the end of the song.

“I’m used to it by now.”

The show is set in 1979, which meant costumer Jimmy Williams “scoured every Salvation Army for vintage clothes,” McDonald said.

Audiences will enjoy the upbeat music, she predicted, as well as the show’s “very woman power-heavy” aspect, which shows the female characters working together to accomplish their goals – and running the office more efficiently when Hart isn’t around.

As an added benefit, McDonald said, “I get to do the role with two very dear friends of mine, and we get to put our actual caring into our performance.”