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A musical '9 to 5' to premiere in L.A.

Based on the 1980 film, a production featuring songs by Dolly Parton will open the 2008-09 Ahmanson season.

November 16, 2007|Diane Haithman | Times Staff Writer

A world-premiere musical version of the 1980 movie "9 to 5," with music and lyrics by country star Dolly Parton, will have its pre-Broadway run at the Ahmanson Theatre in 2008.

Parton collaborates with Patricia Resnick, who wrote the original screenplay for the film and has written the book for the stage show. Joe Mantello, the Tony Award-winning director of "Wicked," will direct. The musical will be presented Sept. 21 to Oct. 19 as the opener for the Ahmanson's 2008-2009 season.

Parton, who played the role of sexy secretary Doralee Rhodes in the office comedy about a group of secretaries who scheme to give their sexist boss his comeuppance, was nominated for an Academy Award for best original song, also titled "9 to 5." Parton will not play a role in the stage version.

"Oh, hell, I'm too old for that!" cracked Parton, 61, in a telephone interview from her home in Nashville, when asked whether she had considered reprising the Doralee role. "I don't think they'd want somebody my age trying to play the red-hot secretary -- although I think I could, I sure feel the same as when I played it. I think that's why God lets our vision go first, so we can't see how old and ugly we're getting."

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday, November 17, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 37 words Type of Material: Correction
"9 to 5": A story in Friday's Calendar about the new stage musical "9 to 5" said that the original screenplay for the 1980 movie was written by Patricia Resnick. Resnick and Colin Higgins co-wrote the screenplay.

In the musical, Doralee will be played by Megan Hilty; Allison Janney will star as Violet (originated by Lily Tomlin); Stephanie J. Block will take on the role of Judy (played by Jane Fonda in the film), and Marc Kudisch will star as their boss.

Parton said the 2008 stage version, like the movie, will be set in 1980. "Someone will say something like: 'I hear they're coming out with a thing called Wite Out' -- some of the sweetest and funniest comedy comes out of some of the lines about the future," she said.

Michael Ritchie, artistic director of Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre, said the 1980-style feminism and office politics of "9 to 5" would not play as effectively if the story were updated to 2008.

Parton -- who composes all of her songs by ear, records them and has others transform the taped music into a written score -- said she wrote 30 or 40 songs that were narrowed to about 20 for the show. One of the chosen songs, "Backwoods Barbie," is the title track for Parton's new album, to be released in February.

The singer said the song "9 to 5" will be in the play, along with other melodies sung to the same tune but with different lyrics. She also includes a song called "5 to 9," in which a character obsessed with the boss sings about the lonely evening hours after the boss goes home. "It turned out real cute," Parton said.

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