After nearly two years, the WASHS All School Production returns to Oyer Auditorium this weekend with Dolly Parton’s musical “9 to 5.”
Shows will be performed on Friday, Feb. 18, and Saturday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 20, at 2 p.m.
Set in the late 1970s, the show centers around three females: Violet (played by Sarah Policicchio), Doralee (played by Cassidy Flynn), & Judy (played by Nora Dickey). The three women work at Consolidated Industries for their difficult boss, Franklin Hart (played by Noah Hege). Featuring strong female roles, Director Tim Vinson said the show was chosen because it has a positive message for the cast of about 25 high school students and their audiences.
“This show really speaks to empowering females and rising above the hurt,” Vinson said. “It’s neat how relatable these characters are to our high school students.”
Although many fans of the “9 to 5” movie from 1980 will easily recognize the theme of “girl power” – Vinson said there is more to the show than three women finding individual strength.
“There is also the message that if you take the time to understand other people, you realize other people deal with the same things you do – and you can help one another rise above those hard times,” Vinson said.
Vinson, a member of the WASHS Class of 2018, is directing this year’s production with a team of other former All School Production participants – Claire Martin (WASHS Class of 2014) is the show’s producer, and Benjamin Smith is the show’s musical director.
The All School Production has been a longstanding tradition at Waynesboro Area Senior High School, with shows dating back to the 1970s. In March 2020, students performed “Hello Dolly” the weekend before the school was closed for the remainder of the year due to the Covid Pandemic. In 2021, students participated in a Broadway variety of sorts featuring songs and vignettes from musicals, giving performers some brief time on stage, while also adhering to the Pandemic guidelines, mandates, and social distancing protocols.
This year, Martin and Vinson were determined to have a full production.
“Waynesboro has a proud tradition of musical excellence. I wanted to make sure that tradition continued,” Martin stated. “Musicals mean so much to this community and we wanted to make sure they returned.”
“The past few years have been hard for these students,” Vinson said. “I wanted to make sure they had an outlet to not feel like everything was falling apart. I wanted this to be somewhere they could come and work through these things together.”
Vinson said this year’s show provides students an opportunity to explore a production that challenges them and helps them grow as performers, noting that parts of the show were amended to fit the high school environment.
Smith said it seems fitting that the return of the annual musical is under new leadership, noting that the three alum were able to learn from legendary directors while they were cast members in previous WASHS productions.
“New faces bring a new energy,” Smith said. “We (the directors and students) have learned a lot through this show. We have all had to work together. It’s been tough, but we have all grown.”
Vinson said he is certain Parton would be proud of how the students have worked to bring her production to life.
“Dolly would have a good time watching this show,” Vinson said with a smile. “She would appreciate how much care and heart have been put into it.”
Tickets for the show can be purchased online at https://washs-all-school-production.ticketleap.com/9to5/ or at the door before the show.
Cost is $10 for adults, $5 for students, and $8 for senior citizens.