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9 to 5: The Musical set for Birmingham Christmas season

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Birmingham will be treated to a dose of Dolly Parton this Christmas as Broadway musical 9 to 5 will play for three weeks at the city’s New Alexandra Theatre, beginning December 17.

9 to 5 is a hilarious new musical comedy, based on the hit movie and centres on three office workers who turn the tables on their sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot of a boss. They conspire to take control of the company and learn there’s nothing they can’t do. This show features Dolly’s original hit title song, "9 to 5" which won her an Oscar nomination and 4 Grammy Award nominations along with her new Tony and Grammy nominated score. Featuring other Dolly hits including "Backwoods Barbie", "Shine Like the Sun", "Get Out and Stay Out" and "Let Love Grow".

The show is written by Patricia Resnick, with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton with direction from Jeff Calhoun.

The show will star Natalie Casey as Judy Bernly, Jackie Clune as Violet Newstead, Bonnie Langford as Roz Keith, Amy Lennox as Doralee Rhodes and Ben Richards as Franklin Hart.

Sitting down with the cast for a behind the scenes look into the show, Natalie Casey tells me that she was already a fan of the film "I love 70’s and 80’s comedies, especially ones that are female driven." Casey plays the character that was portrayed in the film by Jane Fonda, a feat she is accustom too, "In Abigail’s Party recent West End role, I tried to not copy performances from the film, just like I’ll do for 9 to 5. I want to make the part my own, remember that the stage show is different to the film, it’s not identical. I do have some comfort in my ability as my audition was filmed, which is unusual for a stage audition, I only later found out it was sent to Dolly for approval!"

Amy Lennox, playing Doralee Rhodes, originated by Dolly Parton seems eager for the role "the show has a huge range of song styles in it, from gospel and funk to of course country, there are lots of good tunes that shout out ‘girl power’". On playing such an iconic role she explains how she hadn’t saw the movie before her audition, going in with an open mind and remembering that she was to be playing Doralee and not Dolly, "I’m making it my own role, I’m not trying to be a Dolly impersonator. Luckily, our physicality is somewhat the same so that made things a little easier."

Finally Ben Richards, playing the bigot boss Franklin Hart explains his role "this role is totally different than anything I’ve played before, it’s helping me grow as an actor. He’s nothing like me in real life so that was something I had to overcome, much like I did for Tick in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, a past role, I’m probably somewhere mid-way between the two characters."

He also had some kind words about the city: "I’m looking forward to Christmas in Birmingham, its trendy and fun. Come here to shop and then come to watch 9 to 5". An invitation that seems hard to refuse!

9 to 5 The Musical runs from December 17 through January 5 2013 at the New Alexandra Theatre Birmingham.


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