Speaking at the gala night of 9 To 5 The Musical, Dolly Parton explained why her show is more relevant than ever before.
If you’ve ever tumbled out of bed and stumbled to the kitchen, poured yourself a cup of ambition and headed into the office, only to find you’re just another step on the boss man’s ladder, then don’t despair: Dolly Parton has brought her musical about women in the workplace to the UK.
That’s right: 9 To 5 The Musical, which features music and lyrics by Parton, follows office worker Violet Newstead as she takes revenge on her sexist boss. And, in the era of #MeToo and #TimesUp, it couldn’t feel timelier.
Speaking on the red carpet at the Savoy Theatre during the gala night, Parton said: “I think it is as relevant now as it was before. In a way, with the new #MeToo movement, I think this is a really good time for it, and that’s what really inspired them to actually come here to the West End to do it.
“We tried to get here a few years ago but now the timing’s good and we girls are out there saying: ‘Yes we can do it.’ We’ve still got a long way to go, but it is very entertaining in addition to making a good point.”
Parton, when asked what she hoped the audience would get from the show, added: “I hope they go away feeling fun, like they have had a good time, feeling inspired by the music, and I hope the girls go away feeling empowered.”
Based on the 1980 cult movie of the same name, 9 To 5 The Musical carries a theme of female empowerment with a predominantly female cast including Bonnie Langford, Amber Davies, Louise Redknapp and Caroline Sheen.
Despite this, though, Parton has admitted that she takes issue with the label ‘feminist’.
“I think that I just live my femininity,” she told Sky News. “I mean, people say ‘are you a feminist?’ And I say, I don’t know what that means.
“I’m proud to be a woman, proud to be a woman in business, proud enough to do what I do.”
In the same interview, Parton said that she would love to see a woman take over as President of the United States.
“She needs to have the goods, she needs to have the knowledge, needs to have the backbone to be able to run a country,” she said, when asked who she thought would be suitable for the role.
But, while Parton was happy to talk US politics, she refused to be drawn into a Brexit debate on the red carpet.
According to The Belfast Telegraph, the country musician was asked whether she had any advice to offer the UK on their place in the European Union.
Parton replied simply: “We can’t hardly even take care of our own problems, let alone try and solve yours.”
Of course, 9 To 5 The Musical is only the beginning: it was recently confirmed that the original film (starring Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin) would be getting a modern-day reboot in the very near future.
Parton told Nightline: “All these years, we’ve talked about doing a sequel to 9 to 5 and it never made any real sense until just recently.
“We’re trying to get the script and all that. Everybody is very interested and we’ve all agreed that we’d love to do it if it’s right.”
Teasing her dream plot for the movie, Parton said that she hoped it would focus on a set of younger career women who seek out the original cast for advice. And why wouldn’t they, eh? These woman have proven to be seriously successful in their field since the events of the first film.
“We’ve all come up with a business of our own,” Parton said of the original trio, “so [the new characters] come to find us to get some input on how they should help run” their own business.
At the moment, we have no idea when filming will begin on the 9 To 5 sequel, so can’t predict when it will hit UK cinemas. Fingers crossed it’s sometime soon, though, eh?
9 To 5 The Musical runs at the Savoy Theatre until 31 August.