Northeast Times

Making a scene at the Walnut Street Theatre

On stage: Paul Schoeffler will play the part of Frank­lin Hart Jr. in 9 To 5: The Mu­sic­al, on stage at the Wal­nut Street Theatre Sept. 2 through Oct. 19. A vet­er­an of WST pro­duc­tions, Schoeffler has per­formed in Dirty Rot­ten Scoun­drels, Les Miz and many oth­ers.

The Wal­nut Street Theatre opens its 206th sea­son with 9 To 5: The Mu­sic­al, start­ing with pre­views Sept. 2 and run­ning through Oct. 19.

Fea­tur­ing mu­sic and lyr­ics by Dolly Par­ton, the Oscar, Tony Award and Grammy-nom­in­ated songs in­clude her ori­gin­al hit title song, along with many oth­ers.

The plot is based on three fe­male co-work­ers who, pushed to the boil­ing point in the work­place, plan to get even with Frank­lin Hart Jr., their sex­ist, egot­ist­ic­al, ly­ing, hy­po­crit­ic­al boss. They con­spire to take con­trol of the com­pany and learn there’s noth­ing they can’t do even in a man’s world.

Tak­ing the role of Hart is Ca­na­dian-born Paul Schoeffler. A vet­er­an of Broad­way and WST pro­duc­tions, Schoeffler didn’t dis­cov­er his tal­ent for act­ing un­til he moved to the States when he was 19 and en­rolled at Berke­ley.

“Not know­ing ex­actly what I wanted to do with my life, I de­cided to be­come a writer,” he said. “But be­fore that, I at­ten­ded a two-year col­lege that had an amaz­ing theat­er de­part­ment. I got in­volved and fell in love with it.”

Still, Schoeffler felt com­mit­ted to com­plete his time at Berke­ley and get his de­gree as a writer.

“But then I was off to Carne­gie-Mel­lon in Pitt­s­burgh to train as an act­or, something I felt I just had to do be­cause I couldn’t get the theat­er out of my mind.”

Then it was off to New York and a series of un­ful­filling jobs just to make ends meet un­til the act­ing jobs star­ted com­ing his way. And come his way they did, on Broad­way and at the Wal­nut. On Broad­way, Schoeffler has been seen in pro­duc­tions Sweet Char­ity, Beauty and the Beast, Peter Pan, and Rock of Ages, in which he still ap­pears.

At the Wal­nut, Schoeffler has been asked back to per­form in such plays as Man of La Man­cha, Dirty Rot­ten Scoun­drels, Les Miz and many oth­ers.

“And now I’m back again, which to me is the highest com­pli­ment an act­or can re­ceive. It proves how much the people you have worked with be­fore ap­prove of your per­form­ances.”

And al­though 9 To 5 is a lot of fun, Schoeffler, 63, said it has its chal­lenges.

“It’s what we call high com­edy, mean­ing to pull it off, everything has to be done pre­cisely and clearly, with as little am­bi­gu­ity as pos­sible. You cre­ate something col­lect­ively and know when it works and when it doesn’t work. There’s an en­ergy in the room, and the audi­ence lets you know when it does work.” ••

For times and tick­et in­form­a­tion, call 215-574-3550. 

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