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October 26, 2023

“9 to 5”: What a way to make a show

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Sameeha Syed
Coppell High School senior Olivia Willey prepares to play Doralee Rhodes on Thursday in the final dress rehearsal of Coppell Cowboy Theatre Company’s spring musical “9 to 5.” “9 to 5” is playing in the Coppell High School Auditorium Friday to Sunday.

While walking into the backstage section of the theater, affectionately called the Bat Cave by members of the Coppell High School “9 to 5: The Musical” cast and crew, you’ll find along the side of the entrance a number of bright orange pieces of paper, covered in dozens of diverse scribbles. 

Called the Positivity Wall, each paper has the names of members of the company, and is a space for thespians to write words of support and encouragement to others. It is a way for the group to get excited and inspired, and to share kindness. On these orange sheets, are recollections of past show memories, inside jokes and references to the “9 to 5” script. It is one of many ways the group finds time to bond and express their gratitude for one another in the hectic time frame of rehearsals.

On Saturday, the Cowboy Theatre Company opened its spring musical, “9 to 5: The Musical,” based off of the popular film starring Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. The story follows three women working in a toxic work environment, who decide to get revenge on their sexist, egotistical boss. 

Makeup, wigs and bottles of hairspray are scattered around the Coppell High School theater dressing room on Thursday as cast members get ready for the final dress rehearsal of Coppell Cowboy Theatre Company’s spring musical, “9 to 5.” “9 to 5” is playing in the Coppell High School Auditorium Friday to Sunday. (Sameeha Syed)

Walking down F hall of CHS, music seeps into the hallway coming from the green room. It is a room of chaos where members of the cast huddle in front of large bulb-lit mirrors to get ready before shows and rehearsals. With counters and tables covered in costumes, wigs, hair rollers, curling irons and makeup, it’s a room full of light, music and laughter. 

Senior Olivia Willey plays Doralee Rhodes, one of the lead roles. 

“I think this is the most work I’ve put in for a character ever,” Willey said. “She’s based on Dolly Parton, and I would stay up watching interviews, observing how she speaks and how she acts. I feel like this show has a really good message on female empowerment, and I love how each of the leads have very different, distinct personalities and all kind of represent different forms of femininity.” 

She, like many cast members, found a home on the stage, and among her peers. 

“Everyone here gets so close with one another. I believe that a big part of acting is who you are acting with,” Willey said. “I’m very lucky to be in a cast with a lot of really amazing, talented people.”

Similar can be said about junior J McGill, who plays Franklin Hart Jr., the “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical, bigot boss” of the three leads. But his character’s personality do not deter him from wanting to perfect the role. 

“My character is so different from who I am as a person, so I decided to watch the movie and try to take on some of the mannerisms,” McGill said. “I also play for the school’s soccer team, and I tried to observe some of their movements and masculinity. Everyone in the company has been very uplifting and reassuring which makes me feel more confident.” 

Coppell Cowboy Theatre Company cast and crew prepare in the Coppell High School theater dressing room on Thursday for the final dress rehearsal of the spring musical, “9 to 5.” “9 to 5” is playing in the Coppell High School Auditorium Friday to Sunday. (Sameeha Syed)

With a cast and crew spanning across school campuses and grades, it is no surprise that their passions within the program lie in different areas, too. For junior costume designer Jonas Rogers, his choice of focus is not being in the limelight, but making those who are, shine brighter. 

“What drives me is my interest in fashion, and being able to include my own twist into what I’m making,” Rogers said. 

For “9 to 5,” he dedicated the past few months to making all things involving wardrobe for the musical run smoothly. 

“I’ve said this to all of my friends, I feel like lately I’m doing theater with a side of school,” Rogers said. “All my free time and energy is directed towards theater, the designs and executions, and just bringing the costumes to life.” 

For the theater department, this production, like the many before it, is not just an opportunity to show off its skills as performers, storytellers, and production creativity, but a chance to bond. 

“9 to 5” is sure to be an incredible experience, not just for those watching, but for those who brought it to life too. 

“9 to 5,” is playing in the Coppell High School Auditorium Friday to Sunday. You can find the tickets at this link.

Follow @CHSCampusNews on X.

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About the Contributors
Marli Field, Staff Writer
Sameeha Syed, Social Media Manager
Sameeha Syed is a senior and the Social Media Manager for The Sidekick. Syed joined The Sidekick thinking she was going to write, but realized she enjoyed taking photos and videos more. On rainy days, you can find her listening to her favorite artist, Steve Lacey, or watching her favorite movie, Little Women (2019). Syed loves spicy, flavorful food and her drink of choice is hot chai. Syed dislikes sweets; in fact, she would take savory food over dessert any day. Syed has a super cool fashion style, and if you look at her hands, 9 times out of 10, she has on her fun accessories: her rings and her favorite watch. Syed has a list of odd things she really likes, and on that list is her emotional support water bottle and warm socks. Syed also is very much a night owl, preferring to stay awake later rather than wake up earlier. Her favorite subjects in school are history and literature courses. You can contact her on Instagram (@ssameeha) or through email ([email protected]). 

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