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Tantrum Theater brings Dolly Parton’s hit musical '9 to 5' to the stage

Ohio University's professional theater company Tantrum Theater will present “9 to 5 the Musical,” with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton, book by Patricia Resnick, and directed and choreographed by Shanna VanDerwerker, with musical direction by Brent Frederick. 

Performances will be held in the Forum Theater in the Radio Television Building (RTV) on OHIO’s Athens campus on Feb. 29 (preview), March 1-2, and 7-8 at 8 p.m., with a matinee on March 9 at 2 p.m. Talkbacks will follow the performances on March 2 and 7.  

Based on the 1980’s film and originally produced on Broadway by Robert Greenbatt in 2009, the musical tells the hilarious story of three women reaching the end of their rope with an overbearing boss, taking matters into their own hands and delegating office leadership to themselves. The themes of sexism and workplace disparities that made this story relevant in the ‘80s will still ring true for audience members today and Dolly Parton’s inspiring music is equally motivating.

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The cast of "9 to 5" rehearses a scene in the office.

 “This company has been such a delight to work with,” VanDerwerker, the show’s guest director, said. “As full-time students, with full days of class and work and all things life, they continue to show up in the space with open hearts and minds... [and] have risen to the challenge of telling this story through song and dance with such grace and hard work. Watching them grow as actors and artists, learning about these characters and this time in history, has been such a joy and privilege for me. “ 

Guest sound designer, and Athens local, Drew Krag, found himself surprised with the quality of a small company focused on training emerging artists. 

“I've been fantastically impressed by the leadership and talent in Tantrum Theater,” Krag added. “The commute from Broadway to my Athens home is only ten minutes! Like many of the top theater companies, Tantrum feels like a big family. As a mentor, it's incredible to see these students running such a high-quality show. The students' experience at Tantrum is certainly going to translate well when they move onto Broadway, or onto a national tour.” 

Devin Franklin, 2025 MFA student and assistant director, also found joy in the process of the production. 

“As an early-career director, being able to work alongside these guest professionals has been such a gift. Yes, their skill level is exceptional, but what I appreciate most is the camaraderie and commitment to creating an environment where folks feel they can do their best work... an effective balance of creating a professional environment while also implementing a compassionate educational space,” Franklin said. “This show is such a gift because it highlights the absurdity of sexism and misogyny through a hilarious text, while the fabulous score helps reach deep into the palpable effects of these women trying to navigate a world that wasn’t built for them to thrive despite their brilliance.” 

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Students tumble out of bed and stumble into dance rehearsal for Tantrum's production of "9 to 5."

Tickets are available at Free student rush tickets are available prior to curtain time for any show that is not sold out, and discounted tickets are also available for student presale online. 

The performance includes the work of many students and faculty members from the Schools of Theater and Music, as well as various Tantrum guest artists and alumni. In addition to VanDerwerker, Frederick** and Krag, the production will feature the work of Devin Sudman* (assistant music director/musician), Joshua Pablo Szabo (professional actor), Miranda Korieth* (stage manager), Fior Tat* (associate stage manager), Molly Walz (costume designer and draper), Luke May* (scenic over hire), Carley Huff* (paint charge over hire), Clinton Reno (graphic designer), Emily Talley** (musician) and Brian Evans** (fight choreographer).  

(* denotes OHIO alum, ** denotes faculty) 

Tantrum Theater was founded in the fall of 2015 by Ohio University’s College of Fine Arts. The theater is a professional company and serves as a training ground providing apprenticeships for students in the School of Theater. Tantrum’s mission is to create and propel forward a resident professional theater company and training conservatory in a partnership with the Ohio University College of Fine Arts. Discover more at

February 20, 2024
Staff reports