Dunder Mifflin Scranton is back in business, baby.
Thanks to the ambitious and exceedingly nostalgic minds who brought the world parody musicals based on Friends, Full House, and Saved By The Bell, everyone’s favorite paper company employees get to live — and sing — on in .
The delightful homage to some of the best moments in The Office kicks off by taking you back to the beginning — the day when, for some mysterious reason, a documentary crew starts filming the fairly average lives of Dunder Mifflin employees.
From there, the World’s Best Boss, Michael Scott (Sarah Mackenzie Baron), and his work family go on to experience the Dundies, the party planning committee’s most enthusiastic soiree yet, the murder of a beloved cat, a branch closing, a chili debacle, a brief and trippy encounter with rabies, an unfortunate series of new management, three marriage proposals, and so much more. (Seriously, they cover a lot of ground in a very short amount of time.)
Before the performance itself even begins, the intimate atmosphere of New York’s Jerry Orbach Theater makes you feel like you’re part of The Office. It doesn’t take long for fans to notice that the pre-show music playing over the speakers — songs like “Drift Away,” “Forever,” and “Goodbye Stranger” — are straight from the television show, and when the cast launches into an opening musical number describing how “fun” the work environment is, you can’t help but feel right at home.
Audience members are whisked away on an accelerated trip down memory lane packed with as many references as time could possibly allow for. In the end, the intricately weaved two-hour-long retelling of the series feels like the world’s most elaborate inside joke, created with a whole lot of love, just for fans.
The world’s most elaborate inside joke, created with a whole lot of love, just for fans.
Jim (Tom McGovern) in all his floppy-haired glory is still pulling pranks, crushing on Pam (Taylor Coriell), and making closed-mouthed smirks in the direction of the camera. Pam’s finger painting, answering the phone, and waiting for Roy to set a freakin’ wedding date already.
Dwight (Michael Santora) is as cynical and irritable as ever and Angela (Katie Johantgen) is still busy bragging about shopping at the American Girl store (while slut shaming Dress Barn). Phyllis is saying something about Bob Vance, while Meredith (both played by Rebecca Mason-Wygal) is in her casual Friday attire. Kelly (Ani Djirdjirian) is texting, and Creed’s covered in blood from the, uh… “dentist.”
The medium couldn’t be more different, but the characters we know and love remain exactly the same. Ultimately, the musical stays true to the television show with a ton of plot consistencies, special guests, and several lines delivered verbatim. (Can confirm hearing Michael Scott scream “NOOOOOOO, GOD NO” IRL is ridiculously satisfying.) But a few modern references were also added to spice things up.
A boisterous, rejuvenating escape from reality that’ll fill the void in your heart.
At one point, acting manager Dwight declares his belief that women should have no rights in the workplace, and title drops The Handmaid’s Tale before Mose appears out of thin air to place red hoods on the employees.
*LOL but also extreme cringe*
The moment definitely elicited some nervous laughter, as do some of Michael’s inappropriate jokes, outward sexism, and generally problematic office demeanor that are now seen in a new light as a result of America’s current cultural and political climate. But overall, the parody made an honest effort to poke fun at the show and mockingly emphasize the source material that hasn’t aged particularly well.
And like any self-aware parody, the musical wasn’t afraid to break down barriers and get a little meta at times. Fans who are up-to-date on The Office cast members’ other roles will appreciate Jan Levinson telling Jim he looks like “a sexy little Jack Ryan,” Scranton’s resident Italian, Karen Filippelli, leaving the office to “go be in Parks & Rec,” Erin Hannon dressed as Kimmy Schmidt, and everyone straight up calling Kelly “Mindy Kaling” the entire show.
Had you told me that in the year 2018 myself and a room full of people would be clapping along while a white man wearing an argyle sweater (vest?) played the banjo and sang about his whiteness, I would have laughed in your face. But McGovern’s Nard Dog was so incredibly charming that you couldn’t resist.
There was obviously no time for four seasons worth of Jim and Pam flirting, so another adjustment was the fact that the favorite couple’s storyline was super condensed. But the writers made sure to highlight some of their ~sweet little moments~ like the teapot and the memorable “jinx.”
Aside from some amateur karaoke sessions and music videos scattered throughout The Office’s 201 episode run, the closest viewers ever got to a musical episode was the glorious lip dub cold open of the seventh season premiere when the cast performed “Nobody but Me” by The Human Beinz. So picture the electric vibe of that scene, times ten-ish, and you’ve basically got the musical parody.
I assured my editor I would keep my love for the comedy in check and not do something emotionally unhinged like call an off-Broadway parody musical based on The Office the next Hamilton or something. But honestly, when the cast performs a literal parody of the Broadway sensation’s hit song “My Shot” with the lyric, “D-U-N-D-E-R-M-I-F-F-LIN MANUEL Paper Company,” what’s a girl to do?
Here are a few of the other witty jams you can expect to hear:
“SCRANTON: THE ELECTRIC CITY”
“That’s What She Said!”
“CRAZY FROM THE RABIES”
“That One Night” (Yes, by Hunter)
“Marry Me, Beasley”
“Threat Level Mid Afternoon!”
Overall, the performance was a boisterous, rejuvenating escape from reality that’ll replenish The Office void in your heart you’ve been trying to fill with re-runs since 2013. (Temporarily, at least.)
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