Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Refreshed 9 to 5 in Toon; 9 to 5 the Musical Arrives at the Theatre Royal Next Week. Entertainment Editor GORDON BARR Goes Behind the Scenes to Meet Two of the Leading Players

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Refreshed 9 to 5 in Toon; 9 to 5 the Musical Arrives at the Theatre Royal Next Week. Entertainment Editor GORDON BARR Goes Behind the Scenes to Meet Two of the Leading Players

Article excerpt

Byline: GORDON BARR

IT was a smash hit film in 1980 and now Dolly Parton herself has been the brains behind new musical 9 to 5, which makes its Toon debut next week.

The production is at the Theatre Royal from July 15 to 20 and I caught it a few weeks ago when it played Edinburgh.

It's certainly got all the elements to be as successful as the film, which starred Dolly - and even the stage production has her appear in it too, though not in the flesh.

I caught up with two of the principal characters backstage before seeing the show. Amy Lennox steps into Dolly's shoes as Doralee Rhodes, while Ben Richards plays her chauvinistic boss Franklin Hart. s

Set in the 1980s, it centres on three office workers who turn the tables on their sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot of a boss, Hart. Determined to iron out the inequalities between male and female employees, the ladies hatch a plan - it's about teaming up and taking care of business!

The show also stars Jackie Clune (Mamma Mia!) as Violet Newsted and Natalie Casey (Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps) as Judy Bernly.

"It's an iconic role," admits Amy. "It's quite daunting, my major worry was that Dolly Parton fans were going to expect this imitation. Will they be offended if I'm not exactly like Dolly? "Obviously it's not Dolly Parton but it has a huge essence of her. In the film she's kind of playing her fabulous self. But I've got the essence of Dolly, the costume, the wig, the boobs, the make-up, ther warm personality and I make the rest my own. It's been really fun playing that part."

The production obviosuly features Dolly's hit 9 to 5, but it also boasts an array of new songs too.

"I'm not a huge fan of jukebox musicals. I can't bear these shows where they take a string of songs someone has written and they say let's weave together a really rubbish story," says Amy.

"This is great as it's sort of jukebox but it's not as it's already a story. We have 9 to 5 and Backwoods Barbie as the two original songs and the rest are new, and there's quite a variety in there.

"There's a song called Change It in Act 2 that I lead and it's quite gospel. …

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