Waiting for a “9 to 5” rehearsal to start Wednesday night at the Lyric Theatre, cast members Jim Bush and Jennifer Reeves amped up the volume with laughter and chatter.
Bush plays a man named Dwayne Rhodes, and his stage wife, played by Reeves, is Doralee Rhodes. Bush’s character — much like his own — is a good-natured sort with an easy drawl.
Reeves — unrecognizable in her ’70s-style blonde wig, makeup and colorful attire — throws some sass into her high-energy character.
In real life, Reeves, a Lyric Theatre veteran who is from the Houston area, is the choir director at Brownwood High School. She also sings with a country and western band called Southern Rustics.
Bush, who is originally from San Angelo, is a machinist at MnF Gauge. Bush is a veteran singer who is preparing to release a single to radio. “9 to 5” is the first show he’s performed in as an adult.
The two had never sung together before appearing in “9 to 5,” and the rollicking musical comedy includes a couple of duets featuring Bush and Reeves.
They immediately knew that they sounded good together. “You can feel it,” Bush said.
Bush joked that he’s just playing himself in “9 to 5.”
“The good thing about me is that I was typecast,” Bush said with a good-natured drawl. “I’m just a redneck Texas boy. Somebody said we need a complete moron for this part and somebody said Jim Bush!
“And they called me, and here I am. All I’m doing is going up there and being me.”
Bush said he’s been performing music “my whole life. I’m working on a recording project — it’s just going to be me, Jim Bush,” he said.
“I’ve got a band in Nashville that’s doing all my studio stuff but I’m not playing live with a band right now. I am fixing to release a single to radio, hopefully by August. And it will be just Jim Bush.”
Bush said his experience with “9 to 5” is “going awesome. The thing that’s blown me away is, I love these people, for one thing. I was completely amazed at the level of talent.
“This is a new thing for me. If you go out there solo like I do 99 percent if the time, it’s you against the world. There’s a lot more vulnerability. When you go with a band or a cast of 40, you’re not by yourself and I feel safe with these guys because they are so talented. If I mess up, they’re going to catch me. I’m not worried about it. I’m not saying that I’m going to be flawless, but (Reeves) will, so I’m not nervous about it.”
Reeves agreed, saying, “What he said is so true. I love country music, but I love musical theatre because of the family, the bond, and you have each other.
“You feed off of each other’s energy, and the audience. I like to be somebody else. When I’m on stage singing with the band, I feel the vulnerability, exactly what he said. But here I love it that you get to feel protected and be somebody else.”
Reeves, who is from the Houston area, said her singing covers many styles. “I sing classical all the way to country,” Reeves said. “While we’re here in a small town, this is like the greatest place to get to perform.”