Producers announced that 9 To 5: The Musical is coming to Broadway next spring, with previews starting March 24 at the Marriot Marquis Theatre. We so wish that Dolly Parton was actually going to be on stage for this one, but Megan Hilty will play her role from the 1980 film. We’re booking tickets for opening night (April 23) so we can spot the country star in the audience.
Ms. Parton was at a Times Square studio yesterday to announce the big news. “It’s the most fun I’ve ever had as a songwriter,” she announced to reporters at the press conference. Ms. Parton wrote the music, with 20 new songs, for the musical. “I feel like Minnie Pearl! I’m just so glaaaad to be here.”
The musical will star Allison Janney in the Tomlin role, Stephanie J. Block in Fonda’s part and Megan Hilty in Parton’s role as a sexy executive secretary. The plot concerns three office workers who plot against their sexist boss, played by Marc Kudisch. The musical will be directed by Joe Mantello, the director of “Wicked.”
“9 to 5” is based on “a non-musical film that has an amazing piece of music associated with it. It didn’t make a lot of sense to get another composer,” said producer Robert Greenblatt, who with book writer Patricia Resnick – who wrote the movie’s screenplay – persuaded Parton to work on the theatre adaptation.
“When they asked me if I would write the music, I said I would try,” said Parton, who will have about 20 new songs in the show. “I don’t know that much about Broadway. It’s a little bit out of my league. So I went home and I prayed about it. … (Then) I got into it and I really acted out all the parts. I was glad I was by myself a lot.”
The film, now nearly three decades old, was born after Resnick saw an item in the show-biz trade papers that Fonda wanted to do a movie about secretaries and work with Tomlin and Parton.
“Lily Tomlin had given me my first writing job, which was my only other little flirt with Broadway,” explained Resnick, who had written some monologues for Tomlin’s first Broadway show as well as a sketch for Parton for a Cher special.
“I met with Jane and she had a lot that she wanted to say about clerical workers. I came back with basically just a one-liner: ‘What if we do three secretaries who hate their boss and want to kill him?’
“People sometimes ask me how ‘9 to 5’ is still relevant – in spite of the fact that when I first did it, the words ‘sexual harassment’ were not in the lexicon – that phrase didn’t exist,” Resnick continued. “I think a lot of things haven’t changed as much as one would have hoped.