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Comedia Musica Players show is about working ‘9 to 5’

Musical will mark debut of restored auditorium

-Messenger file photo
The Fort Dodge Fine Arts Association has renovated the old Phillips Middle School Auditorium. The musical “9 to 5” will be the first show held in the space since the renovation.

The trials and tribulations faced by three women working in an office with an obnoxious boss are set to music in the upcoming Comedia Musica Players show, “9 to 5 The Musical.”

The show will be the first one held in the rejuvenated auditorium in the former Phillips Middle School. The school was converted into an apartment building, but the auditorium was left intact. It is leased by the Fort Dodge Fine Arts Association.

“This is our grand opening,” said Shelly Bottorf, the director of the Fine Arts Association.

“The acoustics in there are the best in the area,” she added.

Here’s a look at the show and the historic venue where it will be performed.

9 to 5 The Musical

A 1980 movie called “9 to 5” brought the story of the women and their nasty boss to the silver screen. It starred Jane Fonda. Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton and Dabney Coleman.

Parton wrote the music and lyrics for the musical, which is to be performed in Fort Dodge through a special arrangement with Musical Theatre International.

The local show will feature Lindey Krug, Esther Laupp, and Morgan Merrill as the trio of leading ladies with David Everson as the boss.

Other actors with prominent roles include Rex Daisy, MaryJo Laupp, Jennifer McAtee, Nathan Schelle, Briley Singer and Alison Swanson.

Alyssa Sparks is the stage director, Dan Casady is the music director, Emily Eastwood is the choreographer and Shelley Bottorff is the pianist.

Showtimes and Tickets

“9 to 5 The Musical” will be performed at 7 p.m. Nov. 10-12. There will also be a 2 p.m. performance on Nov. 12.

All performances will be in the auditorium at Phillips Luxury Apartments, 1015 Fifth Ave. N.

Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children and students.

Tickets are on sale now at www.comediamusica.com and at Hy-Vee, 115 S. 29th St.

The auditorium

The auditorium is in the middle of a structure built in 1922 as Fort Dodge Senior High School. The building became North Junior High and Phillips Middle School before closing in 2014 when the new middle school on North 32nd Street opened. Foutch Brothers LLC, of Kansas City, Missouri, bought it and renovated it into an apartment building.

In 2019, the Fine Arts Association and Foutch Brothers entered an agreement in which the association would lease the auditorium for 10 years with the opportunity to continually renew the lease.

Bottorff said the association has been working on the auditorium for the past five years. In that time it has completed electrical repairs, restored the bathrooms, cleaned the seats and replaced the carpet, among other things.

The second phase of the restoration project will include installing a modern light and sound system.

Replacing the grand curtain on the stage is also one of the big things that remain to be done. Those kinds of curtains have a roughly $70,000 price tag.

Bottorf said the association is working to obtain a liquor license for the site.

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