And The Dundie Goes To…
How do you pay tribute to one of the best TV shows of all time? With music, of course! The Office! A Musical Parody opened off-Broadway on Sept. 20, bringing singing, dancing and paper to the Jerry Orbach Theater in Manhattan.
Based on the hit NBC sitcom of the same name, the show covers the greatest hits of The Office’s first seven seasons. From the Dundies, to the fun run, to the bat landing on Meredith’s head, the musical puts its spin on some of the show’s best moments.
Split into two halves, with a 15-minute intermission, the play runs through hundreds of gags—there’s an entire musical number called “That’s What She Said,” as well as one where the party planning committee celebrates every holiday known to man. While the show spoofs almost everything, it manages to keep the sweetness between Jim and Pam, a relationship that almost seems too sacred to tease.
Filling the pants of Michael Scott, the world’s best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) boss is Sarah Mackenzie Baron. While she initially auditioned for the role of Pam, when she found out she was one of two girls amongst 50 others called back for the role of Michael, she ran with it.
“I think it’s particularly important to have a woman playing Michael Scott in this day and age,” said Baron, noting that being a female makes some of Michael’s misogynistic, inappropriate comments more palatable. “In a time like now when we have the Me Too movement, it’s easier to laugh at those jokes when it’s a woman poking fun. It makes it a little more comfortable and doesn’t make you want to squirm.”
Steve Carell is an impossible act to follow and Baron said her take on the character isn’t an imitation as much as a tribute. She takes Michael’s ridiculousness and dials it up a few notches, making him even more extreme, as well as tender in his care and love for his employees—except for Toby. Everyone hates Toby.
“We’re not imitating the show, we’re doing a tribute and showing you the love we have for it,” Baron said. “I could never do an impression of Steve Carell, that’s not what this is about. It’s about capturing the essence and dynamics between these people who we all love.”
Joining Baron on stage is Adelphi alum Ani Djirdjirian, who plays Kelly, Oscar and a very, very Italian Karen Filippelli. The show is incredibly fast-paced and with most cast members playing two or more characters, Djirdjirian said one of her favorite parts about being involved with the parody is watching everyone shine.
“This has been the most incredible team I’ve worked with. There’s such a sense of belonging and welcoming and family within this creative team and cast. There’s not one weak link and everyone is supportive,” she said. “The whole cast is committed to their characters and is so freaking talented.”
The show’s creators, Bob and Tobly McSmith, are no strangers to spoof creation. Their previous credits include FRIENDS! The Musical Parody, Bayside! The Saved by the Bell Musical and Full House! The Musical. With The Office, they give fans a place to pay their respects and celebrate Pennsylvania’s most famous fictional paper company.
“It’s a love letter to The Office. It’s truly a bunch of people who love The Office doing the show for an audience of people who love The Office,” Baron said. “It’s a really neat tribute to our favorite show and people who love it as much as we do.”
Tickets for The Office! A Musical Parody are available now at www.theofficemusicalparody.com.