‘9 to 5’ musical to tryout in L.A.

Broadway-bound play to premiere at Ahmanson

Broadway-bound tuner version of “9 to 5,” with original songs by Dolly Parton, is set to preem in fall 2008 at Center Theater Group’s Ahmanson Theater in L.A.

CTG presents the show, which will open Sept. 21, by special arrangement with Robert Greenblatt, the Showtime entertainment prexy who has shepherded the development of the musical.

Allison Janney, in the role played by Lily Tomlin in the 1980 pic, stars with Rialto regulars Stephanie J. Block (“The Pirate Queen”), Megan Hilty (“Wicked”) and Marc Kudisch (“Thoroughly Modern Millie”) in the story of three secretaries who take revenge on their chauvinist boss. Thesps reprise parts they played in Gotham readings of the musical in June.

Joe Mantello (“Wicked”) directs, with Andy Blankenbuehler (“In the Heights”) on board to choreograph. Creative team includes Scott Pask (sets) and lighting design duo Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer.

L.A. berth of “9 to 5” is part of a push by CTG a.d. Michael Ritchie to attract fare that has a strong shot at Broadway. Current Rialto offerings “The Drowsy Chaperone” and “Curtains” both originated at the Ahmanson. (CTG’s production of “Come Back Little Sheba” starring S. Epatha Merkerson begins perfs Jan. 3 at the MTC’s Biltmore. A recent CTG production that was not part of the pre-Broadway program, “13,” also is aiming for New York.)

Ritchie said CTG can be attractive for the development of large-scale new musicals not only because of the org’s infrastructure and subscriber base, but also thanks to the physical components and capabilities of the Ahmanson itself.

“If you really have an intention of going to Broadway, we have the facilities to handle a major Broadway show,” he said.

With a cast of 20-25, “9 to 5” looks like to be capitalized at north of $10 million.

Patricia Resnick, who wrote the story for the pic and co-wrote the script, provides the musical’s book. Parton is the show’s composer-lyricist, writing new songs to go along with tune “9 to 5,” which was written for the movie. (“Backwoods Barbie,” the title track of Parton’s upcoming album, will appear in the show.)

Previews at the Ahmanson start Sept. 3; it closes Oct. 19. Show is said to be eyeing a spring 2009 start date in Gotham.

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