“9 to 5” is Broadway bound


The 1980 feminist musical film Nine to Five, which starred Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton, has been newly adapted for the stage and will be hitting the Great White Way in April 2009 as 9 to 5: The Musical.

The Broadway-bound show stars Allison Janney (Hairspray, Juno, The Hours, The West Wing) as office manager, Violet Newstead, and theater veterans, Stephanie J. Block (Wicked, The Boy From Oz) as new hire, Judy Bernly, and Megan Hilty (Wicked, Ugly Betty, Shrek the Third) as the well-endowed “backwoods Barbie,” Doralee Rhodes.

Currently running as a tryout to sold-out audiences in Los Angeles, the play captures the film’s farcical, grown-up girl power attitude perfectly and no wonder: The two women responsible for the film’s original success, Grammy winner, Dolly Parton and out lesbian writer, Patricia Resnick, created the theatrical version.

In an interview with Center Theater Group, Resnick said, “Women are the only majority/minority,” and added, “In some ways, things are worse [now].”

Citing today’s career pressures for both women and men she joked, “The remake should really be called 24/7.”

We here at AfterEllen.com have no idea what she’s talking about. What a way to make a living.

Resnick’s original story and screenplay told the feminist tale of three under-appreciated office drones who commiserate with each other and fantasize about offing their sexist, sleazy boss. In Violet’s imagination, Snow White doesn’t need seven little people to get the job done — she poisons him herself, while whistling a happy tune.

At a recent meet and greet, the cast joked around and provided a taste of the play’s fare. Here, Parton and Hilty compare assets.

The leading ladies led everyone in a sing-a-long.

I was lucky enough to see the tryout here in LA before it sold out. With over 20 new songs by Parton, the talents of Janney, Block and Hilty, buoyant choreography, and frenetic staging that border on the maniacal, the play is seriously worth taking out a second mortgage to snag a couple of $126.50 orchestra seats.

But wait, there’s more. Watch for a future interview with Pat Resnick, in which she will talk about writing the film and play, and explains how she ended up dancing with Nancy Reagan.

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