Dolly Parton reworks "9 to 5" for first musical

Thu Sep 18, 2008 5:20pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Almost 30 years after starring in the movie "9 to 5" and writing its hit theme song, country star Dolly Parton's first stage musical gets its world premiere in Los Angeles on Saturday before heading for Broadway.

Parton, 62, wrote 17 new songs for "9 to 5: The Musical" -- a comedy set in 1979 about three female office workers who turn the tables on their sexist, male boss.

Despite having 26 hit singles and writing the classic "I Will Always Love You," "9 to 5: The Musical" is Parton's first stab at writing lyrics and music for a full stage musical.

"I found it more enjoyable than I thought. You have more freedom than when you write a song ... usually it's a couple of verses and chorus and a bridge and you have to keep it down to about three minutes in order to get radio play," Parton told Reuters on Thursday.

"I just wrote until I said what I felt the character should say. I was very pleased it came out as good as it did because I wasn't sure if I could even do it," she said.

The musical is closely based on the hit movie that grossed $103 million at box offices and starred Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as scheming office workers.

The movie was written several years before the phrase "the glass ceiling" became widely used to reference career barriers facing women in the workplace, but Parton said she believed the story of revenge and female friendship remains appealing.

"I think people will always hate their boss and think of ways to get back at them. And still in the workplace, there are people trying to keep you down," she said.   Continued...

<p>Dolly Parton (R) composer and lyricist for "9 to 5: The Musical" poses with Patricia Resnick who wrote the book for the musical at a news conference promoting the musical in Los Angeles September 18, 2008. The musical based on the hit 1975 film of the same name features songs by Parton and has its premiere September 20, 2008 in Los Angeles. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>