“9 To 5” Clocks Out

Just four months after its Broadway debut, Dolly Parton’s musical adaptation of “9 To 5” is closing up shop after only 24 previews and 148 performances.

The show, which premiered in September 2008 at Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles and opened on Broadway in April, is based on the hit 1980 film starring Parton, Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Dabney Coleman.

Photo: Greg Allen / gregallenphotos.com
Parton and her co-stars from the film "9 to 5," Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, hit the red carpet before the musical version’s Broadway premier.

Although the musical, which features Allison Janney, Stephanie J. Bock, Megan Hilty and Marc Kudisch, picked up a record number of nominations for the Drama Desk Awards (15) and was nominated for four Tonys, it failed to connect with critics and, eventually, audiences too.

Published reports indicate the show’s weekly grosses have spiraled down the drain over the past few months despite that fact that summer is peak tourist season in New York City. In fact, the musical grossed $694,650 last week, less than 50 percent of the gross potential at the Marquis Theatre where it’s playing.

Parton fans shouldn’t feel too badly for her though, she’s taking it all in stride.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better experience on my first Broadway show,” the singer said. “I’ve had the privilege of working with an amazing group of people who have become like family to me.”

Photo: Greg Allen / gregallenphotos.com
Parton addresses the audience during the opening night curtain call for her musical adaptation of the 1980 comedy "9 to 5."

Parton’s mood is also buoyed by the knowledge that the musical is set to start a national tour at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville in September 2010.

“I can’t wait for this show to hit the road so people across the country can see why I’m so proud of everyone involved,” she explained. “And I’m so pleased that we’ll be opening the tour in Nashville. Great things happen in Nashville.”

Hey Dolly, here’s an idea. How about permanent productions at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and in Branson, Mo.?