One of the biggest names in country music may be making a surprise stop in central Iowa this week. The musical “9 to 5” is opening in Des Moines and the actress and singer playing the role of Doralee is Dianna DeGarmo. That role was made famous by Dolly Parton in the 1980 movie version.
DeGarmo says so far, Parton has come to every city where they’ve performed. “She does,” DeGarmo says, “She likes to show up but we don’t even know about it until that day so you never know, Dolly may show up the night that you come to see the show.” DeGarmo says it’s been a thrill getting to know Parton, one of the most-successful female artists in the history of country music, with 25 number-one singles and a record of 41 top-10 country albums.
“She has been so great,” DeGarmo says. “She came to rehearsals and brought us all fudge and she’s been popping up in a lot of the cities, so far, she’s come to every city we’ve played in. She’s like, ‘Well, honey, if I can drive, I’ll be there.’ She’s so cute. She’s like our fairy godmother of the show.” DeGarmo is a 23-year-old Atlanta native who was runner-up on “American Idol” in 2004. She notes, Parton has some, uh, assets like few other women.
“Yeah, it’s a big bra to fill, trust me,” DeGarmo says, laughing. “Let’s just say it’s the magic of theatre.” Three decades ago, the movie about friendship and revenge in the workplace became the top-grossing comedy of 1980. DeGarmo says it was a lot of fun reinventing the role of Doralee for herself.
“I’ve been really lucky that Dolly has been so supportive and our director and choreographer really just let me do my own thing with it,” DeGarmo says. “Of course, you can’t make everybody happy because some fans are going to love the girl that did it on Broadway versus Dolly Parton versus me. You’ve just got to go out there and do your best and I’m having a great time and that’s all that really matters.”
The show opens Tuesday night at the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines and runs eight shows through Sunday. For details, visit: www.civiccenter.org.
Listen to Matt Kelley’s full interview here: DeGarmo interview 4:04 MP3