Interview with Amy Lennox | 9 to 5: The Musical
9 TO 5: THE MUSICAL is a hilarious new musical comedy, based on the hit movie which centres on three office workers who turn the tables on their sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot of a boss. They conspire to take control of the company and learn there’s nothing they can’t do. Outrageous, thought-provoking and even a little romantic, 9 TO 5: THE MUSICAL is about teaming up and taking care of business. Feisty, fun and oh so fabulous! Natalie Casey best known as ‘Donna’ in nine series of “Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps” (and wasn’t she one of the original MTV Select presenters as well) and Bonnie Langford (Dancing on Ice) lead the cast.
Caomhan Keane talks to Amy Lennox, the lady charged with bringing the part made infamous by Dolly Parton to theatrical life.
For those deprived of the kitsch delight that is 9 to 5, what’s the story?
It’s very girl power. Three women work together in an office, they have nothing in common with one another but they are joined together by a series of events. Violet, one of the women, accidentally put rat poison in her bosses coffee. This boss is a chauvinistic, sexist pig who has no respect for the women in the office. It’s a boys club, with no chance for moving up in the company. He finds out about the rat poison and doesn't drink it, but ends up in hospital for an unrelated injury. So the women kidnap him and string him up from the ceiling and run the company secretly. No body knows he’s not there, it does a lot better without him and he gets his comeuppance. It’s a slapstick, silly and heart warming comedy.
The original movie was made in the 70s and released in the 80s. When is the musical set?
Around the same time as the movie. It has a real cool period feel to it. The costumes and the wigs are fabulous, very late 70s, great colours. It’s a really nice, visual show.
You’re playing the role made famous by Dolly herself. Were you plagued with fears about being abducted and strung up by livid, buxom drag queens if you didn’t do the job right?
It was daunting. I was quite worried about how they would want it to be. Yes it’s Doralee Rhodes, but it is very Dolly Parton. Big hair, big make up and the same lovely character. I knew Dolly Parton fans would be coming to see this and I would have to do that part justice for them. But just what they might be expecting off of me made me quite anxious. On the first day of rehearsals I asked the director and the rest of the production team and they were very clear with me that they didn't want me to be doing an impersonation of, or a carbon copy of Dolly Parton. That wouldn't be true to the character. Acting is not copying. So that was reassuring to me. The journey I've taken to find my character is the same as any part really. You take the essence and you make it your own.
Have you had any response from the die-hard fans?
You see them in the audience. It’s really funny looking out and you see the Dolly wigs. They seem to love it. You see them commenting on Twitter and Facebook. It’s lovely to hear when they say ‘I'm a huge Dolly Parton fan and you didn’t let me down.’
This is not the first time you have been in a musical based on an iconic movie. You were also in Legally Blonde?
With Legally Blonde, I was right in the age range to have seen and to have been a fan of that film. I was playing Margot who isn't heavily featured in the film but has a lot more to do in the musical. When you are not the first person to have played the part there is a danger of getting too much of that pressure to make it recognisable. It’s good to be almost ignorant, a blank canvas. Then maybe watch it later on, when you have your foundations down. Then you can maybe have a little look, take what you want from it. But you should avoid that as much as you can. It has to come from you.
The show opens on 9 to 5, the most recognisable Dolly song. Quite the risky move.
I am not a huge fan of these ‘jukebox musicals’ where you have a story line, loosely based around an album from an artist. You have the songs and try to figure out how do we make the story. A lot of these shows do well. For me I like working on things that has a solid story and if the songs fit then great. If they don't, write new stuff. This show has 9 to 5 and Backwoods Barbie. All the Dolly fans will know them. All the other songs are new. It makes far more sense as the story is mined, put together and worked on as a whole. The finished article is always going to be better if its done like that. It’s a new intro to Dolly material Dolly fans might not know.
Ever had a boss that has made you want to put rat poison in the tea?
Yeah. I worked on a pleasure beach, an amusement park, in a children's area called Rambleland. It was basically hanging around, looking after kids, playing. It was a horrendous job because the man who ran it was just vile. A bit of a perve. He was like the guy in the film, one of these sort of chauvinistic, patronising people. And cause I like singing I got this constant nagging, ‘oh sing us a song’. That was pretty horrendous.
9 to 5: The Musical is playing at The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre until Saturday the 26th January. Tickets priced from €20 on sale now from the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre Box Office and www.bordgaisenergytheatre.ie
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Tuesday 22nd January 2013 | Theatre
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