Thursday March 30, 2017
After a full day as administrative officer for the Federal Public Defender in Burlington, Kristen Bures reports for duty three nights and one afternoon a week at her second job, one that she does as a pure labor of love. Bures, who resides in South Burlington, is directing Lyric Theatre Company’s production of 9 to 5 The Musical. The journey to her directorial debut with Lyric began almost two years ago. She was helping with Legally Blonde, and during a rehearsal break, she commented, “Okay, I’m ready to do my own show. Who wants to do it with me?” Fellow volunteer Freda Tutt, on break from her duties with the lighting crew, responded, “I’ll do it. Let’s talk.” The rest is history. Tutt, a longtime volunteer, former Lyric Board president, and well-known all-around dynamo, is assistant director for 9 to 5 The Musical. While Bures brings extensive on-stage experience to the team; Tutt, who has stage managed 14 shows, brings the back-stage perspective. It is a strong collaboration and the two women have become good friends. Together they figured out people they wanted to work with who enjoy laughing and who are collaborative.
When asked when she knew she was ready to direct for Lyric, Bures responded that it never occurred to her to not be ready to do something. With her philosophy that acting and directing are all about problem-solving, Bures says she has faith she will succeed and she approaches directing fearlessly with plenty of spirit and spunk.
Some years ago, when Bures was performing as Sister Amnesia in a Stowe Theatre Guild production of Nunsense, director Carole Vasta Folley asked her cast what they were afraid of. Bures remembers quickly answering, “Nothing!” Vasta Folley says that answer is emblematic of Bures’ impressive range of talents and experience. “With Kristen at the helm, of either a character or an entire production, the audience is sure to get the best. She is one of the most can-do, talented people I know,” says Vasta Folley.
The choice to direct 9 to 5 The Musical was an easy one for Bures. “It’s funny and silly and it has a lot of really good roles for women of a certain age. The women in this show are strong and smart and interesting. It’s good for Lyric to tap into the over-30 community.” This particular musical has not been done by Lyric before, a fact that allows the director to be creative without the comparison to a previous production. In addition, this production has the added bonus of Bures’ keen sense of comedy. Whether onstage or off, the actress and director understands funny, a real gift for anyone in the director’s seat.
The stage musical is based on the seminal 1980 hit movie and features music and lyrics by Dolly Parton. The title song “9 to 5” has become the working woman’s anthem. The plot shines a spotlight on the plight of women in the workplace in the late 1970s. Pushed to the boiling point, three female co-workers concoct a plan to get even with the boss. In a hilarious turn of events, Violet, Judy and Doralee, played in the movie by Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, and Dolly Parton, live out their wildest fantasy, giving their boss the boot. While the boss, Hart, remains “otherwise engaged,” the women give their workplace a dream makeover, taking control of the company that had always kept them down. Actors Andrea Cronan, Kim Anderson, and Serena Magnan O’Connell, veteran performers with Lyric, bring these iconic roles to life with just the right amount of glamour and grit. Serena’s real-life husband, Don O’Connell, plays Hart.
Bures identifies with many of the qualities displayed by the show’s leading ladies, the drive that Violet has, Judy’s naïveté, and Doralee’s willingness to put up with anything for the good of everyone else around her. Bures comments that each of the characters has their own “aha” moment where they find strength and discover that their own needs are greater than everyone else’s.
Bures’ dad was an ad man in New York. He switched to TV and moved the family to Houston, Texas, where he worked his way up the ladder to become president and general manager of KTRK-TV/Channel 13. “He was a good boss,” comments Bures. Playing secretary in her dad’s office, she and her sister would have chair races and enjoy sneak previews of the upcoming season. With southern roots, Bures admits that she has been known to put on the accent if pulled over by a police officer.
Bures has earned a degree in music from Oberlin Conservatory and a degree in cooking from the New England Culinary Institute. After cooking for a few years, she decided she didn’t want to be in the kitchen. Some part-time classes in finance came in handy when she later took on a role as controller for NECI. In her current job, Bures oversees all administrative aspects of a very busy government office. She quips, “I also make coffee in the morning because I make it better.” The positive influence of her dad and the various jobs she has held have helped shape her directorial approach to the show.
When the curtain goes up on Thursday, April 6, the opening night of 9 to 5 The Musical, Bures will be sitting in row K at the Flynn surrounded by family and friends and wearing a big smile. She hopes the audience leaves the theatre laughing and feeling good. She particularly hopes that women will be thinking about the friendships that are most important in their lives. “For two-plus hours, life for everyone will be just a little bit easier.”
SOURCe:Pat Boera, Lyric Promotions Volunteer