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THEATER Dolly Parton: The show must go on
by Jerry Nunn

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The legendary Dolly Parton is one of the most successful country artists of all time. She has won seven Grammys, and has had an astounding 42 nominations. The "Backwoods Barbie" recently brought her musical version of her hit movie 9 to 5 to town for a national tour. Windy City Times was able to talk to the Tennessee singer briefly before the show started.

Windy City Times: Hello, Dolly. Thanks for coming out on your birthday.

Dolly Parton: You bet. I am so happy to be here with you tonight.

WCT: You have been to Chicago many times before this on concert tours and even filmed a movie here.

Dolly Parton: Yes, I did Straight Talk here before and had a chance to be here for about sixth months for the preparation and the filming of it. I had one of the best times of my life. It is a great city. Even when it's cold, the people are still warm. It is cold, isn't it?

WCT: Yes it is. Did you come up from the South?

Dolly Parton: To be here tonight, I left Atlanta, Ga., yesterday late. I am working there on a film with Queen Latifah, a gospel musical, so you can look forward to that. I love to do anything with music in it.

WCT: How did you become in involved with the original movie 9 to 5 in the first place?

Dolly Parton: Jane Fonda contacted me about 9 to 5. She told me the story and said that she and Lily Tomlin were going to be in it. It felt like the perfect time to make my first movie.

WCT: Did you know it would be that big?

Dolly Parton: You hope for the best outcome when you start any new project, but who would have known the success that 9 to 5 would bring? We were all so happy and surprised by the overwhelming success of it.

WCT: How did the film wind up being a musical with you writing the lyrics and music?

Dolly Parton: Twenty-five years later people came to me and asked if I would write the music for a Broadway musical. I said, "Well, I have never done it but you know me, I will try anything!" I did try it and it worked out really well. It was one of the great projects of my whole life. We did get to go to Broadway and now we are here out on the road.

WCT: What do you think of the musical's cast?

Dolly Parton: I wish the very best for all of the new folks involved in 9 to 5: The Musical. It's fun to see the new cast playing the parts that Jane, Lily, Dabney and I played. We have gotten such a kick out of sitting together in the audience watching them. Oh, what fun this has been.

WCT: I heard "Coat of Many Colors" is your favorite song.

Dolly Parton: It is a true story from my childhood. It always makes me thing of my mom and the world that I grew up in so it is more touching than most.

WCT: Dollywood is still alive and kicking.

Dolly Parton: Yes, it is. In fact, this past year was its 25th year and we end our 26th this spring. We have done really well with that.

WCT: Your gay fans will always love you. I even brought one with me to meet you.

Dolly Parton: I love them all, too.

WCT: Windy City Times would like to personally wish you a happy birthday.

Dolly Parton: Well, thank you and enjoy the show. As I like to say, if you do enjoy it tell everybody. If you don't … keep your mouth shut!

Afterwards the audience sang "Happy Birthday" to her and Governor Pat Quinn declared it officially Dolly Parton Day in the city of Chicago to celebrate her 65th birthday.

The musical runs through Sunday, Jan. 30, at Bank of America Theatre, 18 W. Monroe. For tickets and tour information visit .

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