By Kenneth Jones
21 Sep 2010
Directed and choreographed by Jeff Calhoun (Broadway's Brooklyn, Bells Are Ringing, Annie Get Your Gun), the tour of the Broadway musical plays Sept. 21-26 at the Andrew Jackson Hall of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville. Joe Mantello directed (and Andy Blankenbuehler choreographed) the short-lived 2009 Broadway production of the workplace musical comedy by Parton and librettist Patricia Resnick.
The tour cast is headed by three-time Tony nominee Dee Hoty (Footloose, The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public, The Will Rogers Follies) as Violet, Mamie Parris (Ragtime, See Rock City, 110 in the Shade) as Judy and "American Idol" finalist Diana DeGarmo (Hair, Hairspray) as Doralee Rhodes with Joseph Mahowald as Franklin Hart, Jr. and Kristine Zbornik as Roz.
Calhoun and his collaborators have made some revisions to the earlier show, he told Playbill.com.
"Believing that a short show is a happy show, we jettisoned a second act song for the character of Mr. Hart, repositioned Roz's song in Act One and tried to make invisible cuts to the book. We also found a fun way to include Dolly's presence in a way that serves the story. She not only book-ends the evening with an on screen appearance, she also serves as a narrator and introduces Violet, Judy and Doralee."
Calhoun added, "Variety shows of the 1970s like 'The Carol Burnett Show' made a huge impact on my life. There was something unpretentious, innocent and infectious about their pure style of entertainment. 9 to 5 shares those sensibilities. I hope that we capture the joy of that period; that was certainly my intention."
Rounding out the cast are Jane Blass, Patrick Boyd, Paul Castree, Holly Davis, Janet Dickinson Madeleine Doherty, Marjorie Failoni, Gregg Goodbrod, K.J. Hippensteel, Jesse J.P. Johnson, Michelle Marmolejo, April Nixon, Ryah Nixon, Rick Pessagno, Wayne Schroder, Micah Shepard and Travis Waldschmidt.
In an earlier statement director-choreographer Calhoun said, "I met Dolly Parton as a chorus kid dancing in the film 'The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas' only a few years after '9 to 5' was already a hit movie. It was a thrill to work with her then and an honor and privilege to be entrusted to direct and choreograph this exciting new tour of 9 to 5: The Musical."
The co–choreographer for the tour is Lisa Stevens. The production also features scenic design by Ken Foy, costume design by five-time Tony Award winner William Ivey Long, lighting design by Tony Award and Drama Desk Award winner Ken Billington, sound design by Steve Kennedy, orchestrations by Bruce Coughlin and music supervision by Stephen Oremus.
The Broadway musical — based on the hit 1980 movie comedy about women in an oppressive office workplace — closed on Broadway Sept. 6, 2009. Resnick co-wrote the original screenplay.
Music and lyrics are by country superstar performer-songwriter Parton, who didn't just insert her hit songs into the show — she wrote an entirely new score for it (excluding the catchy title tune, of course). A cast album was released on Parton's own record label in summer 2009.
The Broadway staging of 9 to 5 played 148 performances and 24 previews. The tour producers are Blumenthal Performing Arts Center; Fox Theatricals; Theatre Under The Stars; Robert G Bartner and Howard Panter for ATG; Independent Presenters Network; Nederlander Organization. (Robert Greenblatt was incorrectly credited as the tour producer in an earlier version of this story; he produced the Broadway production.)
Parton said in a fall 2009 statement, "I couldn't have asked for a better experience on my first Broadway show. I've had the privilege of working with an amazing group of people who have become like family to me. I can't wait for this show to hit the road so people across the country can see why I'm so proud of everyone involved. And I'm so pleased that we'll be opening the tour in Nashville. Great things happen in Nashville."
9 to 5 was nominated for 2009 Tony Awards in the following categories: Best Original Score Written for the Theatre (Dolly Parton), Best Actress in a Musical (Allison Janney), Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Marc Kudisch), Best Choreography (Andy Blankenbuehler).
Allison Janney won the 2009 Drama Desk Award as Outstanding Actress in a Musical for her work in the show.
For more information visit www.9to5themusical.com.