“9 to 5! What a way to make a living!”
If you were around during the 1980s, more than likely these lyrics and the catchy bass line that accompany it are instantly recognizable as the chorus to Dolly Parton’s hit song “9 to 5,” written for the movie of the same name in which she had her very first starring role. What most people do not realize is that in 2010, Parton and writing partner Patricia Resnick penned and produced an entire Broadway musical based on this hit film, and for the next several weekends, The Legacy Theatre in Tyrone will give audiences the Atlanta-area premiere of the show.
The film is centered on the friendship between three women (played by Parton, Jane Fonda, and the hilarious Lily Tomlin in the film) who work in the business offices of a large corporation. The ladies eventually turn the table on their sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical, bigot of a boss, Franklin Hart Jr., and create a workplace free of the infamous Boys’ Club prevalent in most corporations at that time. Director Mark Smith makes it clear that the film only hit the surface when it comes to the heart and soul of these three women striving for equality in the workplace.
“This isn’t just a mindless comedy about a jerk getting what he deserves,” Smith states. “It’s the story of three women from three different walks of life who decide to take action against inequality and injustice. It’s really the story—told in a very funny and lighthearted way—of what a person can do when they make a stand for change.”
Choreographer and Executive Producer, Bethany Hayes Smith, who is a huge Dolly Parton fan, concurs. “One of my favorite songs is called ‘Change It.’ It takes place in the middle of Act 2 and it sums up one of my own personal philosophies: if you don’t like your life-change it. Now that’s a great message for the new year if I’ve ever heard one.”
The musical features original music by Parton herself and fans of her music will not be disappointed.
“There’s music for everyone in here,” says Smith. “You have Dolly’s own trademark country and blue-grass sound, catchy musical theater ballads, as well as up-tempo dance numbers and silly character songs. One of my favorite songs is called “Backwoods Barbie” and you can just imagine Dolly sitting at the piano and laughing as she writes about herself.” In fact the curvy character of Doralee Rhodes in the musical is based on Parton herself. Played by Legacy favorite, Mandy Mitchell, the role was one she has been dying to play.
“She’s such an icon, and the role was a real challenge. You want to make sure audiences recognize her as Dolly, but she’s also not Dolly. It’s really just an honor to be entrusted with such a great character. Audiences are going to love seeing such a loved film come to life on the stage,” said Mitchell.
Playing Violet Newstead, the sharp-witted and matriarch of the group is Amy Bridges another Legacy regular. Audiences will remember Amy as June Sanders in the hilarious Sanders family musicals. She once again brings her charm and comedic-talents to the Lily Tomlin role. Ally Duncan, who was last seen in “Winter Wonderettes” and “Nunsense” at the Legacy will round out the triumvirate by playing Judy Bernly, the naïve, coy, and completely over her head, newcomer to the company played by Jane Fonda in the film. The “villain” of the show, Franklin Hart, Jr. is played by Charlie Bradshaw, who was last seen in the Audience Choice Cabaret and Spelling Bee at the Legacy. And, yes, audiences will not be disappointed to see him—spoiler alert!—getting strung up to the makeshift garage door opener.
Although “9 to 5: The Musical” is guaranteed to be a good time, the producers want to make sure audiences know that the movie is rated PG-13 for adult situations and language so leave the kids at home. The show runs January 25-February 17 with performances Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Legacy box office at 404-895- 1473 or by going on line at www.thelegacytheatre.org.