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9 To 5 cast work a late shift after technical problems
From left, Jackie Clune as Violet Newstead, Amy Lennox as Doralee Rhodes and Natalie Casey as Judy Bernly in 9 To 5: The Musical, which was beset by technical problems on its first night in York
WHEN did a show restart for the second half when the performance should have ended already?
At the Grand Opera House on Monday, when the first night in York of the Ambassador Theatre Group’s tour of Dolly Parton’s Broadway show 9 To 5: The Musical was struck by technical problems.
Already the first half had been delayed by 15 minutes, to give the cast a break after starting the afternoon’s tech rehearsal later than planned following the get-in for the show’s set.
A hoist bearing Mark Moraghan in his first night in the show failed to function in the closing scene of the half, and although auditorium seats were resumed at around 9.05pm, the curtain stayed down for 20 minutes before a Tannoy announcement apologised for the delay and promised the show would restart as soon as possible.
Another half-hour passed with no further pronouncement until good-hearted slow hand-clapping burst out, whereupon actress Bonnie Langford and Ambassador Theatre Group executive producer Adam Speers emerged at the stage apron to offer an apology and explanation.
Smaller stage than elsewhere..., very technical show..., thank you for your patience.., was the drift of it.
The show finally resumed at 10.07pm with a witty line from Amy Lennox’s Doralee acknowledging the delay, and cast, technical crew and audience all pulled together to see the performance over the finishing line.
Grand Opera House general manager Lizzie Richards has received two phonecalls and four emails so far – “all of them very understansding,” she says – and is dealing with any complaints that come her way.
“It’s live entertainment, but an hour’s wait is not something the audience would want, the cast would want or the staff would want, and we thank everyone for their patience.”
Adam Speers, on behalf of Ambassador Theatre Group, said the technical problems had now been eliminated following work on the stage yesterday morning.
The cast rehearsed the show in the afternoon following adjustments that meant there would be “less traffic in the wings”.
Mr Moraghan will be flying high for the rest of the run too.
“The problems were solved, but in order to make sure the show could go on, my attention was on that rather than informing the audience on what was going on,” he said.
“I accept that we were too slow in letting them know, and a lot of credit goes to Bonnie for coming out to explain it.
“Everyone was supportive and gracious about it, and it’s a credit to our entire company, both the cast and backstage, that we did continue.
“It’s gratifying that given the wait they had, the audience still so enjoyed the second half.”
9 To 5: The Musical will run until Saturday.
“The technical problems won’t happen again,” assured Mr Speers.