When Erica Buda-Doran showed up at Schenectady Light Opera Company auditions for the troupe's winter production of "9 to 5, The Musical," she wasn't sure which of the three female leads she was best suited to play.
"When I auditioned I was hoping to be cast as one of the three leads," said Buda-Doran, who was selected by director Stephen Foust to play Dora Lee, the role made famous by country music legend Dolly Parton in the 1980 movie version. "When I was asked to play Dora Lee, I was over the moon excited."
Joining Buda-Doran on stage for "9 to 5, The Musical," which was nominated for four Tony Awards in 2009, will be Joan Horgan as Violet and Kelly Sienkiewicz as Judy. The show begins Friday and runs through Jan. 26.
While she has never seen a stage production of the show, she was a fan of the movie,
"The movie came out before I was born, but I do remember watching it later on when I was younger and thinking it was hilarious," said Buda-Doran, a native of Vestal in New York's Southern Tier. "I watched it again recently to prepare for the auditions, and the comedy aspect of it made me even more excited to try out."
Buda-Doran has been performing for quite a while, getting her start in high school and various community theater productions throughout the Southern Tier. She studied theater and music education at SUNY-Fredonia, participated in the drama and dance programs, and when she had some free time she also worked as a Buffalo Jill, cheerleading for the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League.
Buda-Doran got her masters in music education at the College of St. Rose, and has been a music teacher in the South Colonie district for the past 15 years. She and her husband live in Newtonville with their son and daughter. She most recently performed in the SLOC production of "42nd Street" in 2019, and also was on the SLOC stage in 2017 ("Into the Woods") and 2013 ("Guys and Dolls").
She said she hadn't considered herself much of a country music fan, however, she has always admired Dolly Parton as singer, actor and activist.
"Thanks to my husband, I have begun to like a few country artists, however, I have always liked Dolly," said Buda-Doran. "I love her music, I love her movies, I love the philanthropic work she does, and she just seems like she would be one cool lady to hang out with. While I was preparing for the audition, I just fell in love with Dora Lee's music, Her songs are my favorite, and I feel like I can relate to some of the struggles the character has."
While "9 to 5, The Musical" offers plenty of laughs for the audience, the show does have a serious side to it.
"There is a much bigger message," says Buda-Doran. "This show touches on aspects of sexual harassment, which has been made very public recently with the #metoo movement. It talks about inequality in the workplace as far as women getting passed over for promotions and unequal pay, which we are still fighting today. It alsoh touches on working parents and the challenges we face. Don't get me wrong. The show is hilarious, but there are definitely deeper messages that our audience members, both male and female, can relate to."
Sharing the stage with Buda-Doran, Horgan and Sienkiewicz will be Nick Foster as Franklin Hart Jr. and Amanda Rogner as Roz. The show will be Foust's directorial debut at SLOC, while Adrienne Sherman is the music director and Sara Paupini the choreographer.
'9 to 5, The Musical'
WHERE: Schenectady Light Opera Company, 427 Franklin St. Schenectady
WHEN: Opens Friday and runs through Jan, 26; performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday
HOW MUCH: $28-$23
MORE INFO: (518) 730-7370 or visit www.tickets.sloctheater.org