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“Climb your own ladder.”: The four golden lessons to live by from Dolly Parton.

9 to 5 the musical
Thanks to our brand partner, 9 to 5 the musical

Set the alarm for a great night out because Dolly Parton's iconic musical 9 TO 5 is here to charm the socks off Sydney.

Inspired by the hit movie of the same name, the critically acclaimed and fan-favourite musical tells the story of three women named Doralee, Violet, and Judy. They are all enterprising workmates who are pushed completely to the edge by their brutally difficult boss, Franklin Hart Jnr.  

So they come together to concoct a plan to kidnap and turn the tables on their controlling supervisor in a truly hilarious way. Together, the feisty trio manage to reach their full potential with mischief and laughter, sparking positive change in the office.

9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL features an all-star Australian cast including Marina Prior as whip-smart career woman, Violet Newstead, Casey Donovan as a newly separated recruit called Judy Bernly, and Erin Clare as bright country gal, Doralee Rhodes. 

The new stage production is based on the 1980 film of the same name, with music and lyrics by the one and only Dolly Parton.

Dolly Parton has always been known as a force to be reckoned with, carving out a successful career and inspiring the world as a singer, songwriter, actress, author, businesswoman, and a humanitarian.

Not only is 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL a compelling stage show with a string of hit songs, but it also highlights the most important parts of Dolly's legacy — how to live life with humour, grace, ambition, and of course, excellent hair.

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In celebration of 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL, the show's three leading ladies, along with Mamamia staff members, share the most important lessons they have learned from Dolly Parton. 

Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda in the 1980 classic, 9 to 5. Image: 20th Century Fox.

What is your earliest memory of Dolly Parton and her work? 

Erin Clare, 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL"My earliest conscious memory of Dolly, outside of hearing her incredible music in passing on the radio, was her 2007 interview with Parkinson for the BBC. 

"She was wearing this incredibly camp red dress and had her hair fashioned in a kind of bouffant-mullet hybrid and I remember hearing her speak with such elegance and grace about her humble beginnings and chasing her dreams as a songwriter. I remember admiring her quick wit and self-deprecating humour and how she held her own the entire interview."

Katie, Mamamia: "The song 9 To 5 was my first Dolly exposure. I thought it was such a grown-up song with so much sass. I used to sing it when I was doing the dishes for my mum and dad!"

Marina Prior, 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL: "My earliest memory of Dolly Parton is the song Here You Come Again. I loved it, bought the single, and played it constantly as a young girl."

Shannen, Mamamia: "I remember I was 5 years old, and my cousin showed me the song Daddy Come And Get Me. I don’t know why, but I remember memorising the lyrics and singing it day and night, to the point where my mum banned me from singing it again! I was obsessed with her smile and her voice, and I loved how kind she was to everyone — always."

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Casey Donovan, 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL: "From memory, I think it was Islands In The Stream. Whenever I hear someone say Dolly Parton, my brain starts playing that song haha."

Isabella, Mamamia: "Islands In The Stream: my mum used to sing it to me when things were tough or I was scared, and I’ve loved the song and Dolly ever since."

Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus. Image: Getty.

What was the first lesson you learned from Dolly Parton?

Erin Clare, 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL"I think we can all take away something from Dolly's iconic 'the higher the hair, the closer to god.' Whether that’s a metaphor for placing an importance on your core values or a literal statement about the importance of back combing — there’s a few valuable lessons that can be taken away."

Katie, Mamamia"That you can look as eccentric and unconventional as possible, and it won't stop you from being smart."

Casey Donovan, 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL"The first lesson I learned from Dolly was to stand in my power."

Shannen, Mamamia: "She taught me to appreciate everything in my life when she said: 'I make a point to appreciate all the little things in my life. I go out and smell the air after a good, hard rain.'"

Marina Prior, 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL: "The first lesson I learned from Dolly Parton is that hair can never be too big! 'The higher the hair, the closer to God!' Also, always sing from a place connected to your heart and soul."

Isabella, Mamamia: "Regardless of the outside, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. As she once famously said: 'I'm very real where it counts, and what's inside.'"

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Image: Getty.

What part of Dolly do you try to incorporate into your everyday life and how?

Erin Clare, 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL"The thing I think the world has learned from Dolly Parton is that you can never judge a book by its cover. Dolly has proved herself to be one of the most prolific songwriters and musicians, a philanthropist and cultural icon — all the while maintaining a larger-than-life country exterior that is instantly recognisable and forever present in pop culture.

"Dolly has taught me to not limit myself and my abilities in order to adhere to the status quo, and to really embrace the complexities of myself as a person and artist."

Katie, Mamamia: "Her sureness of self."

Casey Donovan, 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL"The business savvy, boss lady approach to life!"

Shannen, Mamamia: "I try to be as kind and giving as Dolly is. I really like how she is so understanding of everyone and so patient. I wish to be more like that."

Marina Prior, 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL: "I try to incorporate a sense of not taking myself too seriously, like Dolly, and also opting for generosity as a default position."

Isabella, Mamamia: "Her philanthropy. I can’t get over the fact of just how instrumental she was in helping fund a COVID-19 vaccine. Even though I obviously cannot give a $1m donation to vaccine research, I can still make a difference on a micro-level: even a regular $20 donation can change someone’s life or health — Dolly taught me that."

Dolly Parton reads her book, The Coat of Many Colours, to Washington, DC schoolchildren to commemorate Imagination Library donating its 100 millionth book in 2018. Image: Getty. 

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If you had to pick just one golden lesson to live by from Dolly Parton, one that you could share with all the people in your life, what would it be and why? 

Erin Clare, 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL"Dolly has taught me that every woman can decide and express her own interpretation of what it is to be a woman. That we can be unapologetic in our success whilst embracing our own style and femininity, and to not limit ourselves to the labels in which society wants to categorise us. Dolly taught me that it's okay to be soft and tough and that they can exist together like rhinestones on denim."

Katie, Mamamia"Oh that's easy: 'Vaccine, Vaccine, Vaccine, Vaaaaaaccciiinneeeeee!'"

Casey Donovan, 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL"To stand in your power!"

Shannen, Mamamia: "'The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.' Because we all need to understand that everything in life has its good and its bad."

Marina Prior, 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL: "One lesson I take from Dolly and embrace, is to be authentically yourself; and stick to it, no matter the 'zeitgeist' or fashion of the moment. Find out who you are, and be that, unapologetically."

Isabella, Mamamia"Self-determination and hard work go a hell of a long way! So of course I have to live by a 9 To 5 quote: 'Well you got dreams and you know they matter. Be your own boss, climb your own ladder.'"

9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL is coming to Sydney's Capitol Theatre from February 16, 2022, and Brisbane's Lyric Theatre, QPAC from May 22, 2022. Tickets are on sale now. For full details, visit 9to5themusical.com.au.

Feature Image: Getty/Mamamia.

9 to 5 the musical
"Set the alarm for a great night out at DOLLY PARTON’s joyous smash-hit musical 9 TO 5, featuring a stellar cast, knock-out songs and high-flying ambitions. With a sparkling score by Dolly Parton and a book by the iconic movie’s original screenwriter Patricia Resnick, 9 TO 5 is the quintessential feel-good show for the times. Full of mischief, laughter and affection, it’s gold carat fun! Playing in Sydney at the Capitol Theatre from 16 February, and Lyric Theatre, QPAC in Brisbane from 22 May. Book at 9TO5THEMUSICAL.COM.AU