Saturday night I attended (with a charming escort) the World Premiere for the new 9-5. The new musical is based on the 1980 movie with all new music written by Dolly Parton. It's doing a premiere run at Los Angeles' Ahmanson Theater through October 19 before going to the Marquis Theatre on Broadway. (Previews on March 24, 2009, with opening night set for April 23).
Being opening night, Dolly Parton was there, along with her friends from the film cast Jane Fonda, Dabney Coleman, Lily Tomlin and the writer of 9 to 5, Patricia Resnick. In the crowd was Jason Alexander, Lance Bass, David Hyde Pierce, Doris Roberts, Gabriel Byrne, Tracey Ullman, Julie Hagerty - and I sat near Jai Rodriguez (from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy). I'm sure there were many other celebrities, but I was really there to concentrate on the show.
During the first act, there was a major technical glitch in the complex (and amazing) moving sets. It was very sad and the curtain fell with an apology from the house announcing they would restart in a few moments. The house lights came up and an unmistakable voice piped up from a seat in the audience."If they can't perform the show, I'll do some of it from right here." It was Dolly herself. She was handed a microphone and she told the audience about the origins of the musical; as well as introducing her '9 to 5' film co-stars. Parton then lead the audience in the title song '9 to 5.' Her voice sounded just as good live from her seat as it does from her albums. She's amazingly talented. The crowd went wild - but wait - there was more. The delay wasn't done and neither was Dolly. She asked if the audience would like for her to sing another song; 'I Will Always Love You.' (Duh - yeah?)
She was about to sing again when they signaled all was well and the show could go on. Before she sat down, she said, "Maybe I'll wait, in case things get screwed up again and I have to fill more time", causing the audience to go wild once more.
The musical features Allison Janney (West Wing), Megan Hilty (Broadway's Glinda from Wicked), Stephanie J. Block (Elphaba in Wicked) and Marc Kudisch. Ok, we knew everyone in the cast was talented, but who knew that Allison Janney could belt out such an amazing solo? The show is light hearted and engaging. I'm sure it will be entertaining new audiences for a long time to come.
From what I read, Dolly is 62 years old. She is still beautiful, charming and effervescent. If that's what 62 years old can look like - bring it on!
After the play, we went to the well attended cast party - good food, rocking 80's music and cocktails. A sponsor for the evening was p.i.n.k. vodka. I'm afraid I didn't try it and stuck to my Cabernet. I wasn't too sure about vodka infused with caffeine and guarana...