Country Music Magic: Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” Opens in Chicago

The audience at the Bank of America Theatre got a welcome dose of warm country sunshine on Jan. 19, as well as an in-person visit from the country legend herself.

If you liked the movie “9 to 5,” you’ll enjoy this musically enhanced production, and if you like Dolly Parton’s songs, you’ll have plenty to applaud.

The 2009 Tony-nominated musical was developed from the sassy 1980 comedy in which Parton made her film debut, co-starring with Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda. The story is set in a corporate office and has a decidedly urban setting, but its heart is as soft as a spring breeze in the hills of Tennessee.

Deftly directed and choreographed by Jeff Calhoun, “9 to 5: The Musical” includes hilarious scenes of revenge imagined by 3 female secretaries in the 1970s, who are callously disrespected by the CEO from hell, Mr. Hart, played by Joseph Mahowald.

The women are vividly defined and totally unalike. The widow, Violet, a long-time employee passed over for promotion, is played by Dee Hoty. Cute, sexy and happily married Doralee, who must beat off the boss every time she takes dictation, is played by American Idol finalist Diana DeGarmo. Judy, who has been dumped by her cheating husband, is played by Mamie Parris.

Each has character-defining songs, but none tops Parris’s  “Get Out and Stay Out,” her vigorous declaration of independence when her philandering husband returns after his much-younger playmate dumps him.

The opening number, “9 to 5,” sets an energetic tone, and another memorable number is “Let Love Grow,” a sweet duet between Violet and Joe, played by Gregg Goodbrod.

The show runs through Jan. 30. Broadway in Chicago’s ticket line is 800-775-2000, or visit