Caroline O’Connor chats 9 to 5 THE MUSICAL

Australia’s theatre industry has yawned and stretched, and has finally come back to life!

Dolly Parton’s 9 To 5 The Musical is set to open in Sydney’s Capitol Theatre in February 2022, and heads to QPAC in Brisbane in May. The story of three kickass women taking on their sexist boss has been well loved since the 1980s film, and it receives a new life in a show-stopping and toe-tapping stage adaptation. The Australian cast boasts an impressive slew of talent, including Marina Prior as Violet, Casey Donovan as Judy, Erin Clare as Doralee, Eddie Perfect as Franklin Hart Jr, and Caroline O’Connor as Roz.

Caroline O’Connor

Caroline is one of the world’s most celebrated music theatre talents, having made her mark globally. She has played lead roles on both Broadway and the West End, and has an impressive list of credits spanning from stage to screen. Past roles have included The Countess in Anastasia, Velma Kelly in Chicago, Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, Edith Piaf in Piaf, and Anna in The Rink.

Has it been exciting to get back into the swing of things?

Caroline: Oh, it’s so good. Starting the publicity campaign again… I have this sort of girlish excitement, like my first day of school or first day of rehearsals, kind of bubbly. I don’t feel my age at all!

Why do you think the story of 9 to 5 is still so relevant?

Caroline: When you look back at the writing of the film, it was so ahead of the times. They were bloody strong women, not frightened to talk about anything. And there are very moving moments in it, too. With those three characters, what they’re dealing with in their in their lives – not just their working lives, but their personal lives. And of course, Dolly’s music. She just wrote such beautiful songs, and it’s incredible how talented and how generous that woman is.

And the stage adaptation expands on the original film, with Dolly even writing new songs for the show!

Caroline: Yes! There’s this amazing original score. I think they’ll be really blown away by the music. I’ve been walking my dog and putting it on in my headphones and just giggling and walking along.

Can you tell me about your journey to playing Roz?

Caroline: Well, it’s really interesting because I met with [director] Jeff Calhoun and [choreographer] Lisa Stevens when we were first talking about possibly doing the show a long time ago. And obviously, they had very different type of person in that role in the Broadway production, and then they had the London production where they had somebody else that was like totally different from the Broadway one! [laughs] So when we sat down, they were saying, “You know, we really do want you to bring something, we don’t want to do to just do a cookie cutter version of the role.” So as soon as we did a photo shoot and they did my hair, I was like, “Oh my God, I’m feeling a little bit like Lucille Ball.” Roz is somebody that’s kind of terribly annoying, but also has another side to her – this romantic sort of person the audience at first could never imagine they’re going to see. I’m not like that but I love doing comedy, just to have a bit of fun.

Had you seen the show before being cast?

Caroline: I saw it in London, at the Savoy, and I could not get over the audience. That’s what really struck me – the audience, right from the first moment. It’s kind of an electric fun. Though some of the subject matter is is a bit touchy, and I’m glad that we’re dealing with sort of this stuff as well, rather than being pure fluff. I couldn’t get over that, right to the very end. I think people are going to be really surprised how they can’t help themselves, this will be so hilarious and so much fun that it would be a shame to miss out.

For tickets and more information, visit the 9 to 5 The Musical website.

Gabi Bergman

Gabi Bergman is a Melbourne-based performer and educator, and is the current Deputy Editor-in-Chief of She holds a Double Arts degree in Theatre Studies and Film/Screen Studies and a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education). Gabi has always been an avid lover of theatre, specifically musicals, and spends way too much money than she’d like to admit on tickets. Her most prized possession is her crate of theatre programs.

Gabi Bergman

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