Parton, of course, penned the music and lyrics for the original 1980 hit film as well as the new musical, now in its pre-Broadway run at the Ahmanson Theatre. The country singer made a surprise appearance, talking up the show beforehand and warning that the performance might stop a few times, as is typical during previews for complicated productions.
"9 to 5" went on as planned until nearly the end of Act 1, when, sure enough, things suddenly ground to a halt. Parton, who was seated in the orchestra section, immediately leaped into action, according to those in attendance. Standing in front of the stage, she chatted up the audience and took questions. She then led them in a rousing sing-along to the show's theme song, "9 to 5."
With technical issues still being worked out, Parton went on to sing another of her famous compositions, "I Will Always Love You," quipping that "Whitney Houston may have sung the song better, but I made more money on it." The crowd went wild.
The world premiere musical, which features Allison Janney (in the role originated by Lily Tomlin), Megan Hilty (Dolly Parton), Stephanie J. Block (Jane Fonda) and Marc Kudisch (Dabney Coleman), officially opens Sept. 20.