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Talking Shop: Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton says her next project is to have a film made of her life

A musical based on the iconic film 9 to 5 - scored by Dolly Parton - is opening on Broadway next month.

The country star played the role of Doralee Rhodes in the big screen comedy in 1980.

9 To 5: The Musical received rave reviews when it was staged in Los Angeles, and includes the Oscar-nominated title track as well as 18 original numbers written by Parton.

The Grammy-winning songwriter's career dates back to 1959, with a back catalogue of hits including Jolene, I Will Always Love You and Islands In The Stream.

In an interview with BBC 6 Music, the 63 year-old star discusses the stage production, reveals her plans for a film and Broadway show of her life - and says she would consider performing at Glastonbury.

This is the first time you've done a musical on Broadway. Are you nervous about the whole thing?

I've never done this before so I've just got those butterflies in my stomach, mostly hoping that it does good. I just got in there and gritted my teeth, rolled up my sleeves and did the best I could.

Everybody seems to think it's good. I was very honoured when I won the Drama Critics award in Los Angeles for the music because I thought that was a good indication for Broadway.

Was it quite a challenge for you writing music for a musical rather than the album format?

There was a little bit more freedom in it. You can just write until you've said what you think the character needed to say. I got a chance to write for different personalities, for the men. The Mr Hart character, I got a big kick out of doing that and performing his part in my manly voice and writing what I think a man would think.

I had my father, all my uncles and I have six brothers and all these nephews, and a husband as well, so I really know how men think. Of course I know what women think, so that was the easy part.

Will we get to see the musical in the UK? Are there plans to tour it?

Dolly Parton
Parton is one of 12 children

Yes I think there will. If we stay on Broadway, if it is a hit then I'm sure at some point it will be travelling and certainly I would think it would go to London. I haven't heard that for sure but I just always thought it would.

Were you involved in picking the person that played your role?

I've been involved in every bit of it from the beginning, in the producer's role as well. I've been there through all the casting. The girl that we wound up with to play Doralee Rhodes, her name is Megan Hilty and she is just the cutest thing.

She's a lot prettier than I have ever been, or ever will be, but she's got the essence of me. She's a little short person like me with all the big hair and she's studied my accents and she's a great singer.

In fact I'm thinking about doing a story of my life in movies real soon and I'm going to make sure that they audition her for the part for the movie as well, because she wound up being so cute. When she comes on everybody thinks they're watching me.

Is the movie something you would like to do soon?

It's one of my next projects so hopefully within a year and a half or so we may have a movie out of my life. I'd also love to take my life story to Broadway as a musical and I have been writing lots of songs on that.

Looking back at the film, it must be nice to see how attitudes have changed to women in the workplace?

We really have come a long way. It brought a lot of attention to that and a lot of changes have been made because of that little movie, but Jane Fonda is the one that should get the real credit for that because she is the one that came up with the original idea and got people to write it.

She knew about the association called 9 to 5 just about that very thing and she's the one that chose Lily [Tomlin] and me so she's really the momma of that whole thing.

You have become a producer, a writer and own your own companies across the world. How do you feel about being an icon of successful womanhood?

I've always been so busy doing my work that I don't think about what I've accomplished I just think about what I'm gonna accomplish next. I'm very proud and very humbled by everything good that's happened to me. I've worked my butt off there's no doubt, and I'll continue to do that, but it's a nice compliment when people talk nice about you.

Next year is the 40th anniversary of Glastonbury. Would you consider doing it?

Well I would certainly consider it. We've got a lot of things going on. I couldn't promise that I'd do it but we'll certainly maybe one of these times get a chance to do it.

Previews of 9 To 5: The Musical begin on 7 April, with the opening night in New York on 30 April. Dolly Parton was speaking to 6 Music News reporter Matt Everitt.

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