Caroline O'Connor, Marina Prior, Samantha Dodemaide and Erin Clare have been entrusted with the much-loved lead roles in Dolly Parton's 9 To 5 The Musical. Direct from London's West End, the hilarious smash-hit musical will have its Australian Premiere at the Sydney Lyric Theatre in April 2020.
Marina Prior will play Violet Newstead, a smart, sassy and efficient woman who has worked all her life at Consolidated Industries. She has all it takes to run the company but there is one small issue … her boss! Marina gained prominence as Cosette in the Australian premiere of Les Misérables and Christine Daae in The Phantom of the Opera, and has grown to become one of Australia's favourite leading ladies, playing lead roles in The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, The Secret Garden and countless other productions.
Samantha Dodemaide will be Judy Bernly, a newly separated, never worked before young woman who finds more than just a job at Consolidated Industries. Samantha came to the fore playing Dorothy in the national tour of the London Palladium production of The Wizard of Oz. Her career also includes roles in Chicago, Evita, Anything Goes, Sweet Charity and Singin' In The Rain amongst others.
Doralee Rhodes is a 'don't mess with me' well-brought-up, bright and beautiful country gal. She may look like a push over but is anything but! The role will be played by Erin Clare whose first starring role was as Scaramouche in The Gordon Frost Organisation's national tour of We Will Rock You. She has also featured in Heathers the Musical, American Psycho, High Fidelity and American Idiot.
Caroline O'Connor will portray the comical Roz Keith, the administration assistant who is fiercely - and unrequitedly - in love with her boss Franklin Hart Jnr. Currently performing in Melbourne Theatre Company's Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Caroline has played lead roles on Broadway, in the West End, France and across Australia, including Chicago, Anything Goes, West Side Story and Anastasia to name just a few.
Producers John Frost, Suzanne Jones and Ambassador Theatre Group Productions are thrilled with their all-star lead cast. "We are so excited to cast four of the best musical theatre performers in Australia to play these iconic roles," said John Frost.
"The international creative team found four luminous stars who are a perfect fit for their roles and will bring the same energy to our show that cemented the current West End production as a genuine hit," said Suzanne Jones. "Australian audiences will love this upbeat, fun and entertaining production that is full of Dolly Parton's fantastic music including the iconic title song, 9 to 5."
9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL tells the story of Doralee, Violet and Judy, three workmates pushed to boiling point by their sexist and egotistical boss Franklin Hart Jnr. Concocting a plan to kidnap and turn the tables on their despicable supervisor, will the ladies manage to reform their office - or will events unravel when the CEO pays an unexpected visit?
This run-away success on the West End features a book by the iconic movie's original screenwriter Patricia Resnick and an Oscar, Grammy and Tony award-nominated score by the Queen of Country herself, Dolly Parton including her much-loved hit song, 9 to 5!
The Australian premiere has been secured exclusively for Sydney by the NSW Government's tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW and will be a major drawcard for visitors to NSW.
Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said, "This is a major win for the NSW visitor economy. We expect this season of 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL from April 2020 will attract more than 27,000 visitors to Sydney who spend close to $23 million. Securing this incredible production further bolsters our State's stellar line-up of world-class events and reinforces our reputation as Australia's cultural capital."
9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL opened at London's Savoy Theatre in January this year, initially for a 16 week season and surpassed all audience expectations. It has been extended multiple times and is now selling until April 2020.
Inspired by the hit film and brought to you by Dolly Parton herself, this hilarious musical is about teaming up, standing up and taking care of business! It's the most fun you'll have this year at the theatre!
9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL is written by Patricia Resnick, with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton. It is directed by Jeff Calhoun, choreography by Lisa Stevens, design by Tom Rogers, lighting design by Howard Hudson, sound design by Poti Martin, video design by Nina Dunn, original arrangements by Stephen Oremus and Alex Lacamoire, original Broadway orchestrations by Bruce Coughlin, musical supervisor, reductions and extra arrangements by Mark Crossland, musical direction by Andrew Hilton and casting by Victoria Roe.
Based on the 20th Century Fox Picture. Originally produced on Broadway by Robert Greenblatt, April 2009. Performed by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe) Limited.
Sydney Lyric Theatre, The Star
From 1 April 2020
Wed-Thu 7pm, Fri-Sat 7.30pm, Wed 1pm, Sat 2pm, Sun 1pm & 6pm
From $59.90 (Transaction fees apply)
9to5themusical.com.au or 136 100
Marina Prior is known as Australia's Leading Lady of Musical Theatre. Marina's first professional audition resulted in her first lead role, that of Mabel in the Victoria State Opera's The Pirates of Penzance. She was subsequently invited to perform the role of Guinevere opposite Richard Harris in Camelot. Since then she has performed over 30 lead roles in stage shows throughout Australia, possibly her most memorable being the role of Christine Daae in the original Australian production of The Phantom of the Opera, which she performed for three years.
Her other roles include Jellylorum in the Australian premiere of Cats, Cosette in the Australian premiere of Les Misérables, Hope Harcourt in Anything Goes, Maria in West Side Story, Lily in The Secret Garden, Magnolia in Showboat, the title role of The Merry Widow, Jane Smart in The Witches Of Eastwick, Belinda Blair in the comedy Noises Off, Mary O'Hara in Harp On The Willow, Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun, Miss Adelaide in Guys And Dolls, Muriel Eubanks in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Mrs Banks in Mary Poppins, Baroness Schraeder in The Sound of Music, Dolly Levi in Hello Dolly and the roles of Polly and Mary in Dream Lover. For Melbourne Theatre Company, Marina has played the roles of Rona Lisa Peretti in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Elmire in The Hypocrite, Frances in Jumpy and Judith Bliss in Hay Fever.
Marina has performed with symphony orchestras throughout Australia including a critically acclaimed Australasian concert tour with international tenor, José Carreras and international vocal group, Il Divo. She is also well known to television audiences through her appearances on such shows as Carols by Candlelight, as a judge on Channel Seven's It Takes Two and as Iris in The ABC series The Divorce.
Marina has recorded eight CDs: Leading Lady, Aspects of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Somewhere – The Songs of Sondheim and Bernstein, Both Sides Now, Encore, Candlelight Christmas, Together - a duet album with Mark Vincent, The Two of Us - a duet album with David Hobson and Marina, her self-titled album.
In 1999, Marina was guest of honour for the television program This Is Your Life which paid tribute to her career so far. Over her career, she has received numerous awards including the Advance Australia Award for her contribution to the performing arts and was inducted into Australia's 100 Entertainers of the Century.
More recently, Marina played the role of Mrs Meers in Thoroughly Modern Millie for The Production Company.
Question: What can you tell us about Dolly Parton's 9 To 5 the Musical?
Marina Prior: Dolly Parton's 9 To 5 the Musical is based on the iconic movie from the 1980's about three women who are underestimated, undervalued, underpaid and under stress by their misogynistic boss and they band together to rise up against him. The musical is strongly about female friendship, girl power and the underdog rising up.
Question: How do you think Australian audiences will respond to the show?
Marina Prior: They will definitely eat it up! All the music is Dolly Parton's music which is universally loved and she is such a brilliant writer! The musical is incredibly funny, very witty and sassy; the script is inherently so funny yet full of heartfelt moments. The three main roles were made famous by Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin – we're all pretty pumped about the show!
Question: You play the role of Violet Newstead; can you tell us about Violet?
Marina Prior: Violet Newstead is a widow, a single mother of a teenage boy and she is constantly feeling the tension between working at the office and home. Violet is a very hard worker who unofficially runs the office but is never given credit for doing so. She is a very loving yet vunerable mother who is lonely because she's been widowed. Violet is very tough, incredibly sassy and dry; she has a lot of funny one-liners. Overall it's a lovely multi-layered role.
Question: Was it fun filming that great cast announcement video?
Marina Prior: It was so much fun, so much! Hearing Dolly Parton say "Hi Marina" made my week! The cast announcement video really captures the vibe of the show with fun and laughter whilst also being about female friendship and celebrating each other. I think there is something really lovely about Dolly Parton's 9 To 5 The Musical, it's very well timed for the era we're currently in.
Question: How have you been preparing ahead of rehearsals for Dolly Parton's 9 To 5 The Musical?
Marina Prior: I haven't (laughs) as it's a little early. However, I am back in dance class as I have a big dance number in 9 To 5 The Musical – I have been getting fit! So far I am learning the music and thinking about the script. Once the new year begins we'll really dive in.
Question: What are you most looking forward to about performing Dolly Parton's 9 To 5 the Musical?
Marina Prior: I am looking forward to the comedy because the show is so funny! I am also looking forward to working with the lovely women: Samantha Dodemaide , Caroline O'Connor and Erin Clare. The female empowered vibe of the show will be very exciting. After spending the day together we've already developed a great comradery and we're enjoying each other's company which is a great thing as we'll be spending a lot of time, together (laughs)!
Question: Can you tell us about what you are currently working on?
Marina Prior: I have finished a 50-show tour, around the country, with David Hobson. And, I'm about to jump on the performing arts cruise, Bravo! Bravo has a full philharmonic orchestra on board the ship alongside some of the world's top Opera singers and theatre performers. I'm very excited as it's a holiday as well as a job, I get to take my husband along and I only perform one night show and the rest of the time I'm sipping cocktails (laughs)!
Interview by Brooke Hunter