They were standing and cheering for Dolly Parton from the topmost balcony down to the first row orchestra at the Ahmanson theater’s bow Saturday night of ” 9 to 5: The Musical.” But the show was on stage only 15 minutes–and was stopped because of the same technical difficulties which plagued previews. With the curtain lowered, Dolly rose from her seat mid-theater–and the audience immediately explosively responded with cheers in appreciation. She is truly loved!
“I was going to make a speech at the end of the show,” she said. Dolly immediately relieved the tension as she continued to thank her film costars Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda who were there to also cheer her–and be cheered. Dolly was handed a microphone at her seat as the stage wait continued — a cue was sounded for her title tune to flood the theater and she proceeded to hypnotize the audience as only she can — with that song. She belted it completely and worked through several rows with the cheering audience almost falling out from the balconies.
The applause and cheers for her were equaled when she joined the cast for its final standing ovation. The ever-glamorous, glistening Dolly brought on stage an equally somber-attired Patricia Resnick, author of the ”9 to 5″ book with whom Dolly had been working three years. The story again set in the office days of typewriters, carbon paper and mimeograph machines also has some 2008 dialog creating gales of laughter, like “There’s no way the head of a company would steal from his stockholders!” One of the technical office machines created for the stage musical- -plus one of the several trap floors–may be the cause for the show’s repeated stoppages. But can Dolly be in the audience every night? There’s never been any doubt about Dolly Parton’s showbiz savoir and it was again demonstrated Saturday night.
Among those in the audience who are/were familiar with Dolly Parton’s talents and know-how were Rhea and Buz Kohan who had written and/ or produced Dolly Parton shows including those on TV. Buz had also written for the bow of Dolly’s “Dollywood” in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. And introductions at her concerts. For one of them. Buz wrote, “And here she is ‘Backwood’s Barbie’!” When Buz saw her at the post-party Saturday night, he told her, “I guess I should be getting royalties for that one.” Megan Hilty belts it, a la Parton in the show. And she also has the line that’s the show’s raison d’etre: “You may see tits, but there’s a heart under there.” The Ahmanson audience had a big heart for “9 to 5.”