www.dollymania.net                News                          March 2010

March 31:
Hallmark Special To Happen
Dolly's Hallmark Channel special celebrating the 25th season of Dollywood is a go, The Knoxville News Sentinel confirmed here Tuesday, and TV station WATE repeated here. The newspaper confirmed the special was approved and that three other channels, including two broadcast networks, had been approached with the proposal before Hallmark agreed to air it. (The report did make one error, however, saying that she had not hosted a television variety special since her 1980s series on ABC, although that may have been an editing mistake meaning to say that she had not done a variety special from East Tennessee since then, as she had variety specials filmed elsewhere through the 1990s.) The special's exact taping date and air date have yet to be announced. As was previously reported here, Dolly first mentioned the special at the opening of her Nashville store, offering no details at that time. At the park's opening weekend, your webmaster asked her about it, and she replied that she was in negotiations with Hallmark for the show, which would feature guests including Kenny Rogers, Miley Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrus, and she hoped to film it at the park in May. You may listen to her answer the Dollymania question in the audio files posted on the site in Monday night's update. You may also check out new photo galleries from the weekend, including the shot at left of Dolly at the new Adventure Mountain attraction, added tonight in that section here. Image is copyright © 2010 T. Duane Gordon/Dollymania.net. May not be reproduced without prior written consent.

Bush To Help Library
Former First Lady Laura Bush will speak in Blytheville, Ark., in May at an event to raise funds for the local chapter of Dolly's Imagination Library, according to KATV here. Tickets begin at $10 each for the May 15 address as part of the "Stardust on Blytheville" lecture series at the Ritz Civic Center.

March 30:
Dollywood Coverage Continues With Pics, Sound
The next set of photo galleries and the audio files from the past weekend's Dolly appearances at Dollywood for the park's 25th season opening have been posted in that section of the website here. Still to come are more photo galleries and a video report!

March 29:
Dollywood Opens For Business
The fans came out for the first official day of Dollywood's 25th season Saturday to catch several glimpses of Dolly on the park grounds. The morning started with a stop at the end of the show Drum from Nova Scotia, Canada, which presents the history of the province from its native First Nations people through independence from Britain. Next, she dropped in on the finale at Imagine'. Then she enjoyed a tour of the park, followed by an appearance with the Silvertones (a special incarnation of the park's Gemtones singing group) to sing along on a chorus of her new song for the park's anniversary, "Celebrate The Dreamer In You." Check out the first Dollymania galleries from the weekend's festivities in that new section of the website here. Much more is to come over the next several days! The park's new attraction, Adventure Mountain, is now open, and its Festival of Nations continues through April 26. Dolly is next expected to return for her "homecoming" and Pigeon Forge parade the weekend of May 7. Also, check out a story on the park opening from blog The Examiner.com here. Image is copyright © 2010 T. Duane Gordon/Dollymania.net. May not be reproduced without prior written consent.

More '9 To 5' Dates Added
Dolly's 9 To 5: The Musical is coming to several more cities. The Ft. Myers News-Press on Saturday reported that the show will be part of the 2010-2011 Best of Broadway series at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts in Naples, Fla., although the exact date was not revealed in the report. Read more here. Likewise, The Star Telegram in Ft. Worth, Texas, reported Sunday that the show is coming to Performing Arts Fort Worth and its Bass Performance Hall, also declining to report the performance date in its story here, although it's likely to be late November or early December in that city due to shows in Houston and San Antonio at that time period this year. And both The Grand Rapids Press here and Lansing City Pulse here on Sunday reported on its Dec. 15-19 engagement at the Wharton Center for Performing Arts at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.

Dolly's Library Expands Again
Two communites on opposite ends of the globe made the news over the weekend for signing up in Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program. The Bryn and Ince areas of Wigan in Manchester, England, will participate in the program, the BBC reported here. And in the States, Williston, N.D., has also signed up, The Williston Herald reported here.

March 27:
Dolly Visits Dollywood
Donning a silver outfit and riding atop a metallic silver cake in honor of her theme park's silver anniversary season, Dolly celebrated the 25th season of Dollywood by joining Festival of Nations headliners Imagine' on stage Friday during the annual season passholders' preview day at the park prior to its official public opening on Saturday. She welcomed guests to DP's Celebrity Theatre and spoke of how proud she was of the park and its quarter-century of continual expansion, a very successful venture even though her business advisors at the time told her investing in it was a bad idea. In a media Q&A, she revealed she will next month tape an episode of Hannah Montana during the Disney Channel hit's final season, reprising her role as Aunt Dolly. Asked by this reporter to expound on a comment she made at her Nashville store opening that she was working on a special for the anniversary, she revealed that she was in negotiations with The Hallmark Channel for a star-studded television program to recognize the 25th season and that Kenny Rogers had agreed to participate and she was working on getting Hannah stars Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus to come as well. Next, she made an appearance at the park's new addition, Adventure Mountain, to, as she put it "hang 'em over the balcony."

Unfortunately, unexpected cold and wet weather forced cancellation of her afternoon parade and other outdoor appearances in the afternoon, but she will return to the park on Saturday for additional appearances. Look for much more coverage here, including photos, audio and video, over the next several days!

Other coverage is available from a park press release posted to Yahoo here, FOX News' Fox & Friends (with video) here, The Knoxville News Sentinel here (see video embedded below), WBIR here (see video embedded below) and Volunteer TV here (see video embedded below).

Images are copyright © 2010 T. Duane Gordon/Dollymania.net. Click on for larger views. May not be reproduced without prior written consent.

New Gospel Cover Art
Sony Music this week released the new, final cover art for its May 4 Dolly compilation disc, Letter to Heaven: Songs of Faith and Inspiration. Check it out at left. As was previously reported here more than two weeks ago, the set will feature her entire 1971 gospel album Golden Streets Of Glory, that album's previously-released single that was cut from the final project ("Comin' For To Carry Me Home"), one previously-unreleased outtake from that album ("Would You Know Him") plus the songs "Letter To Heaven," "Sacred Memories," "God's Coloring Book" and "Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man" with Porter Wagoner. Reserve your copy here.

Miley Chats Up Dolly Again

Miley Cyrus was on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno Thursday night, and she got in a Dolly plug. As she talked about her recent stint as a mentor on American Idol, Leno asked whom she'd like to be her mentor if she were a contestant on the show. She replied Godmother Dolly and gushed about how wonderful she is. Check it out from Hulu.com in the media player above.

March 26:
See 'Access Hollywood' Interview

Dolly's Access Hollywood interview that aired on Wednesday is available online for viewing. Watch it in the media player above or by clicking here. The show also has a text version of the story available here.

Stripes Show Up On More Charts
As was reported here Wednesday night, The White Stripes' Under Great White Northern Lights, featuring the new live recording of their cover of Dolly's "Jolene," debuts at No. 11 pop on the April 3 Billboard charts. The magazine's other tallies released Thursday showed the disc also shows up at No. 1 soundtracks, No. 3 Internet sales and No. 7 digital downloads. Elsewhere on the charts, Steve Martin's The Crow - New Songs for the 5-String Banjo, with its Dolly and Vince Gill collaboration, remains steady at No. 3 bluegrass albums in its 57th chart week. Lady Antebellum's Need You Now holds steady at No. 1 country and climbs back up two to recapture the No. 1 pop slot in its eighth week, while Zac Brown Band's The Foundation rises three to No. 2 country and two to No. 15 pop in its 70th week.

March 25:
Be In Canadian Film
The producers of the Canadian film The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom have announced on their Facebook page a contest for Dolly fans to appear as extras in the movie. You send a head-to-toe photo dressed in your best Dolly outfit to enter (ages 18 and up). Winners will be selected to appear as extras on a filming day in late April in Montreal. Photos may be posted (with your e-mail address) on the Facebook page or sent via e-mail to info@palomarfilms.com. Click here for more information.

Stripes To Be High On Chart
The White Stripes' new live CD featuring their cover of Dolly's "Jolene," Under Great White Northern Lights, will debut at No. 11 on the April 3 top 200 pop albums chart to be released Thursday, Billboard revealed Wednesday. The set sold 29,000 copies in its first week of release.

'Jolene' Featured On TV
And thanks to several folks who wrote to alert me that the song was featured prominently on this week's episode of 90210 on the CW network. At the show's opening, two characters were driving in a van when Dolly's 1974 original version came on the radio. One of them said how much she loves the song and turned it up, singing along to the first chorus. The song continued to play underneath the entire scene. Later, the same character auditioned for a band and sang a portion of the song a capella.

Dollywood, Here I Come!
Your webmaster will be in transit on Thursday down to Pigeon Forge to cover Dolly's appearances at the Dollywood 25th season kick-off at its season passholder preview day on Friday and public opening day on Saturday. Check back for photos and recaps here soon! In related news, The Knoxville News Sentinel's coverage of the anniversary continued Wednesday with a piece here, and thanks to Joshua for alerting me that Dolly will reportedly appear via satellite from the park on My 40's morning program in Asheville, N.C., at 7 a.m. Thursday morning.

No Dollywood On 'Undercover'
But the park won't appear on the CBS series Undercover Boss this weekend, according to The Springfield Business Journal here. As was previously reported, Joel Manby, president and CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment, Dolly's partners in the park, will be the subject of the program Sunday. The paper revealed that the show filmed at Herschend properties in Philadelphia, Atlanta and Branson, but not at Dollywood.

March 24:
Dolly Part Of Apparent Political Hoax
Dolly's name appears to have been taken in vain this week as part of a hoax to promote regulation of short-term loan operations. A press release posted on PR USA here on Tuesday claimed that she had appeared on Lewisburg, Tenn., radio station WAXO 1220 AM for an interview in which she lashed out at Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) for not supporting the adoption of federal regulations on the "payday loan" industry. In direct quotes attributed to her, she was alleged to have slammed the senator for his position on the issue and called into question the patriotism of payday lenders, claiming many of their customers are military families paying up to 400 percent interest rates. The story was soon picked up by America Online's country music website, The Boot, with a summary posted here. The story was also picked up by several bloggers. The radio station did not respond to Dollymania by press time Tuesday evening to confirm whether the interview took place, but given Dolly's longstanding policy of not commenting publicly on political issues and the fact that the broadcaster is a small-town AM station where it is unlikely she would have scheduled an interview, all indications suggested that it was a hoax. The Nashville Post here was able to reach the Senator's staff, who reported that the radio station and Dolly's staff both told them the press release and incident were "total fabrications." The press release was removed from the PR USA website by Tuesday evening. Although not mentioning Dolly specifically, Corker late Tuesday released a statement here in response to the reports denying he had showen any preferential treatment to payday lenders. In a related development, a press release that had been posted over the weekend on Article Ant (and mentioned here in Sunday night's news update) claiming she was recording a song from the musical In Your Dreams as a fund-raiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation was removed Tuesday as well, which combined with the fact that the supposed recording plans have not been announced with any releases from her publicist or the Foundation, and the similarity in writing style on the two releases, suggest that release may have also been a hoax. Both releases were still available, however, on PR Log here and here. Courtesy photo of Dolly with Sen. Bob Corker at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park 75th anniversary celebration in September.

Hallmark, Dolly Might Work Together
Dolly may be in negotiations with The Hallmark Channel for a series or special, Variety reported Tuesday night. The publication noted that representatives from the network are working on rebranding it with emphasis on its recently-acquired programming from Martha Stewart and added that while Dolly's name wasn't specifically mentioned, the representative disclosed the channel is also working with "a very legendary country-western star. Female. Well-endowed." Read more here.

Catch Dolly On TV
A couple of Dolly interviews from her Trinkets & Treasures ribbon cutting in Nashville that had been planned to air last week have been rescheduled for this week. Her Access Hollywood interview, which was to air last Wednesday, will instead air this Wednesday. The program is syndicated, so check local listings for stations and airtimes. Also, her CMT Insider interview – an online version of which was posted here on Tuesday – which was originally to have aired last Saturday will instead premiere at 1:30 p.m. this Saturday on CMT with an 11 a.m. Sunday repeat.

Latest '9 To 5' News
A couple of new 9 To 5: The Musical pieces of information came out on Tuesday. First, Culture Map in Houston noted that the local Broadway series there used a Dolly look-a-like to announce its 2010-2011 season, since as was previously noted the musical will stop there in November. Check out a shot of her here. Secondly, The Charlotte Observer here revealed the date for its visit to that city: Oct. 5-10. Although the fact that the show was coming there had been announced a few days ago, its actual performance dates had yet to be revealed.

Dolly Talks Up Park
We're just days from the 25th season opening of Dollywood, and she told The Knoxville News Sentinel about her work at the park in an interview here.

Hall Of Fame Changes
Thanks to Ron from the Country Music Hall of Fame for alerting me to changes in the museum's Dolly offerings. Its "Sing Me Back Home: A Journey Through Country Music" exhibit has changed out its white Dolly dress with a pink one, shown here, which a press release notes was designed by Lucy Adams and worn by Dolly in 1970 to "Dolly Parton Day" festivities in Sevierville, Tenn. They also added her original handwritten lyrics to "Jolene" and a large wall photo of her 1976 Country Music magazine cover as the Statue of Liberty, shown here (the black boxes in front of part of the picture are speakers).

March 23:
Dolly Repeats 'Time Off' Coming

Dolly Records on Monday posted to YouTube a Dolly video blog repeating her explanation she had given to the press at the label's Nashville store ribbon cutting earlier this month of what she'll be up to over the remainder of 2010. She again said that there will be no tour anytime soon, as she is taking several months off to do some writing. She also repeated her upcoming appearance at Kenny Rogers' April special for his 50th anniversary in the entertainment industry, her work to promote the 25th season at Dollywood and promoting the national tour of 9 To 5: The Musical. Check out the video in the player above or by visiting YouTube here. (Although not mentioned in this video, some other plans she noted at the store ribbon cutting included taping an anniversary special at the park and working on her life story as a stage musical and movie, although recording a new album isn't in her immediate plans.)

Park Plugged In 'AM NY'
AM New York on Monday posted a little interview with Dolly about Dollywood and what the park has to offer. Check it out here.

March 22:
Park Anniversary Gets Noticed
In advance of Saturday's 25th season opening at Dollywood, The Knoxville News Sentinel profiled several aspects of the park's operations and history. Check out the series with a piece here (that notes they hope to open "a couple of world-class resorts" once the economy improves), an article on Dolly's dream here, one on the new attractions for this season here and a look at some of Dolly's influences on the park here. Don't forget, as was previously reported here, Dolly is expected to be on the park grounds making appearances (including parades, weather permitting) on both the season passholders' preview day Friday and the actual season opening day Saturday!

Candidate Remarks On Dolly
Dolly for Tourism Commissioner? Well, that's a dream of one gubernatorial candidate in Tennessee. The six individuals running for the office held a debate last week at Dollywood, and Mike McWherter's comment stirred up a great deal of press. He said: " My vision would be to get Dolly Parton to be the commissioner of tourism. She's a smart business person and she's a great seller for Tennessee." Coverage included Volunteer TV here, The Knoxville News Sentinel here, WATE here and WBIR here.

'9 To 5' Heading To Texas
It' just might be the "best little musical in Texas" this fall, as two more stops on the national tour of Dolly's 9 To 5: The Musical were announced Sunday. The show will stop in Houston Nov. 9-21, according to The Houston Chronicle here, and San Antonio Dec. 7-12, The San Antonio Express-News reports here.

Report: Dolly Recording For Make-A-Wish
This has yet to be confirmed elsewhere, but a press release came out Saturday claiming that Dolly has agreed to record the song "Don't" from the musical In Your Dreams to be released as a fund-raiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The release may be found on Article Ant here and PR Log here.

Dolly In 'EW'
Thanks to Solomon for alerting me that a shot of Dolly in her "Dumb Blonde" shirt from the ribbon cutting at her Nashville store appears in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly in "The Bullseye" section. The caption: Dolly Parton celebrates Opposite Day.

Commission Helps Library
The Appalachian Regional Commission will be helping a lot of Tennessee children get books from Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program with a $100,000 donation to partner program The Governor's Books from Birth Foundation, it was announced. Read more from The Tennessean here.

March 20:
New Cities, Crew For '9 To 5'
Three new cities for Dolly's 9 To 5: The Musical were announced Friday, along with the identity of new crew members who will steer the national tour. Stops in St. Louis in February, Costa Mesa, Calif., in May 2011 and Charlotte (date yet to be announced) were revealed, as was the identity of the new director and choreographer for the show: Jeff Calhoun, who commented in a statement: "I met Dolly Parton as a chorus kid dancing in the film The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas only a few years after 9 to 5 was already a hit movie. It was a thrill to work with her then and an honor and privilege to be entrusted to direct and choreograph this exciting new tour." Co-choreographer will be Lisa Stevens, scenic design by Ken Foy and lighting design by Ken Billington. Returning from the Broadway production are costumes by William Ivey Long and music supervision by Stephen Oremus. Read more from Playbill here and Broadway World here. Announcement of the St. Louis stop is available from The Post Dispatch here and Costa Mesa from The Orange County Register here. Tour dates announced thus far are:

  • Nashville, Sept. 21-26
  • Atlanta, Sept. 28-Oct. 3
  • Tampa, Oct. 26-31
  • Memphis, Nov. 2-7
  • Indianapolis, Jan. 11-16
  • Chicago, Jan. 18-31
  • Dayton, Feb. 1-6
  • St. Louis, Feb. 8-20
  • Seattle, April 5-24
  • Costa Mesa, May 10-15
  • Tulsa, June 14-19
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul, July 12-24

    March 19:
    Final Store Coverage Available

    To wrap up your Dollymania coverage of Dolly's Trinkets & Treasures ribbon cutting, Jason has provided a series of shots from inside the store itself. Check them out here. Also, Dolly Records added a YouTube video message from Dolly, viewable in the media player above or by visiting YouTube here, and Country Weekly spoke with Dolly at the event for a piece in its April 5 issue, with a few notes from it posted to their website on Thursday here.

    Grascals Still On The Road
    Wonder what Dolly's former backing band The Grascals are up to nowadays? Well, they chatted with The Toledo Blade here this week and included a few Dolly mentions.

    Big Apple Boob Show
    New York got a burlesque tribute to Dolly Thursday night at Joe's Pub. Learn more here.

    Listen To BBC Interview
    You still have a few days to listen in on part 2 of Dolly's BBC Radio 2 interview with Michael Ball, available for online streaming through next Tuesday here.

    Chart Updates
    Steve Martin's The Crow - New Songs for the 5-String Banjo, featuring a Dolly and Vince Gill collaboration, remains steady at No. 3 bluegrass albums in its 56th chart week, according to the March 27 Billboard charts released Thursday. Lady Antebellum's Need You Now holds steady at No. 1 country and falls two to to No. 3 pop in its seventh week, while Gary Allan's Get Off On The Pain debuts at No. 5 pop, No. 2 country.

    March 18:
    New Shots Available
    The next group of galleries from Dolly's Trinkets & Treasures ribbon cutting are now available for your enjoyment in that section of the site here. Thanks, Jason!

    Miley Chats About Dolly
    Miley Cyrus dishes on how wonderful her godmother Dolly is, why she loves Lady Gaga, what's wrong with today's country music and why Rupaul's Drag Race is her favorite TV show in an online preview of an interview in this weekend's Parade magazine available here.

    'Faith' Cover Art Revealed
    Music blog Country On-Demand has obtained a first draft of the likely cover art for the May 4 compilation Letter to Heaven: Songs of Faith and Inspiration and the order that the 16 previously-announced tracks are to appear on the project. Check them out here. Thanks, Dustin!

    March 17:
    New Ribbon Cutting Footage, Photos Available

    Coverage continues tonight of Dolly's Nashville store ribbon cutting from Friday. Check out a 14-minute video from Dolly Records in the media player above or by visiting YouTube here, where you see Dolly exclaim at the event that she's "Dolly Scissorhands!" And your next set of galleries from Dollymania correspondent Jason Worley have been added to that section of the site here. And, yes, there are still more to come!

    Place Meet-And-Greet Bids Via Phone
    In an exception to their usual practice, the 17th annual Las Vegas Night to benefit the Dr. Robert F. Thomas Foundation at LeConte Medical Center in Sevierville, Tenn., has decided to take closed advance bids from individuals unable to attend the event's live auction. As was previously reported, Dolly has donated a meet-and-greet, complete with photo, during her May 7 Homecoming in Pigeon Forge. Interested bidders may contact Dale Carr of Thompson-Carr & Associates at 865-712-7653 by noon Eastern on Friday to place their closed bids. An opening bid of $1,000 has been established for the item. The live auction will take place at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Music Road Convention Center in Pigeon Forge. Tickets, $50, are available from 865-446-9628.

    March 16:
    Continuing Ribbon Cutting Coverage

    Your Dollymania coverage of Dolly's Friday appearance to cut the ribbon at her Nashville store continues tonight with several new galleries of shots from correspondent Jason Worley posted to that section of the site here. Also, Dolly Records posted a video to YouTube of the crowd outside the event, available in the media player above or by clicking here. More are still to come! A gallery of several Associated Press shots is available here. Nashville Country Club has posted footage from the event here. And CMT announced she will be seen on this weekend's CMT Insider, presumably from the store event as well. At the appearance, Dolly revealed she's not currently recording and has no plans to do so for a while now. Neither does she plan to tour in coming months. Instead, she's working on a stage version and movie version of her life story, wants to take some time to write some new music, is preparing for her April appearance at Kenny Rogers' anniversary concert, hopes to pull together a television special for taping later in the year for the 25th anniversary of Dollywood and expects to do significant promotion for the national tour of 9 To 5: The Musical.

    Dolly On 'Glee'?
    Although there's no indication that producers have approached her, Dolly is one actor's choice for a guest spot on the FOX hit Glee. According to Entertainment Tonight here, Jayma Mays, who plays guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury, said: "I think we need a Cher episode…or maybe someone that sings country like Dolly Parton."

    Dolly Wanted Connie's Story
    Did you know Dolly pursued singer Connie Francis to produce a movie on her life, but she always turned her down because of a decade of working with Gloria Estefan on a failed attempt to capture the story on film. Francis revealed the information in an interview with Daeida magazine here.

    BBC Reminder
    Don't forget to listen to the second hour of Dolly's interview on BBC Radio 2 with Michael Ball, which airs Tuesday in the U.K. and should available afterward for online streaming here (you still have a few hours to listen to last week's first hour online here).

    March 15:
    Trinkets & Treasures Pics Available
    Thanks to Dollymania correspondent Jason Worley, check out the first galleries of shots from Dolly's ribbon cutting for her Nashville Trinkets & Treasures store on Friday here. More will be posted in coming days. Also, make plans to watch Access Hollywood on Wednesday (in most cities there's also a Thursday repeat) for an interview with her at the event. Finally, want to see who were the contest winners for Dolly's meet-and-greets at the ceremony? Their photos have been posted by Dolly Records to Flickr and are available here.

    'Real Live' Heading To MP3 Download
    Dolly's 1970 concert album A Real Live Dolly will be available as an MP3 download for the first time this week. The out-of-print album had been issued on CD for the first time ever, complete with four bonus outtake tracks (two of which were previously unreleased at the time), as a companion to the four-disc Dolly boxed set in October for those who ordered the collection directly from Sony Music, but it was not available in stores or for downloading. The set will be available, complete with the bonus tracks, here from Amazon.com starting on Monday and will also be available from Amazon U.K. for British fans.

    'Letter To Heaven' Order Information Up
    In related news, Amazon has added an order page for Letter to Heaven: Songs of Faith and Inspiration, the Sony collection featuring Dolly's 1971 gospel album Golden Streets Of Glory with six additional tracks, including one previously unreleased song recorded for that album, "Would You Know Him," hitting stores May 4. Reserve your copy here.

    March 13:
    Dolly Cuts Ribbon At Store
    Although Dolly's Trinkets & Treasures retail store in Nashville has been open for nearly four months now, she was on hand Friday to cut the ribbon and promote its Second Avenue location. Check out a video from Nashville's WKRN here, a story from WSMV here, a story from CMT.com here and a photo gallery on CMT.com here. Look for more pictures here soon! Thanks in advance, Jason!

    '9 To 5' Heading To Oklahoma
    Dolly's 9 To 5: The Musical will play Tulsa, Okla., June 14-19, 2011, The Tulsa Performing Arts Center has announced. Thanks, Jim!

    Dollywood Partner On TV
    That the show's premiere scored second only to Dolly's 1987 variety show as the biggest series premiere audience is not the legend's only connection to CBS' Undercover Boss, it turns out. The network this week announced that Joel Manby, president and CEO of Dollywood partners Herschend Family Entertainment, will be the corporate head going "undercover" as a low-level worker in his own company on the March 28 episode. No word at which of the many theme parks the company owns or manages he worked for the series.

    Dolly Song Contest Coming Up
    The deadline is approaching for contestants wishing to sing in the Mountain Soul Vocal Competition, a Sevierville, Tenn., talent show featuring songs written by hometown girl Dolly. Entries must be postmarked by April 9 to compete for the prizes in the May 15 contest, and you must sing a Dolly-written tune listed on Dollymania here. Learn more at www.bloominbbq.com.

    March 12:
    Store Opening Reminder
    Don't forget if you're in the Nashville area on Friday to stop by Second Avenue next to the Wildhorse Saloon for the ribbon cutting at the Music City retail store for Dolly Records, Dolly Parton's Trinkets and Treasures. Although her record label website has not revealed the exact time of the festivities (other than to say to expect them to begin around 11 a.m.), The Nashville Scene reports here that Dolly's appearance should take place at 12 noon. Also, remember that those dressed as Dolly or wearing as much of their Dolly fan gear as possible will receive tickets for a random drawing for 10 meet-and-greet passes at the event (in addition to the 15 lucky fans who won contests previously held).

    '9 To 5' Heading To Memphis
    The national tour of Dolly's 9 To 5: The Musical has added yet another city to its itinerary: Memphis, Tenn., where the cast will stop Nov. 2-7 at the Orpheum Theatre, according to The Commercial Appeal here and Broadway World here.

    Chart Updates
    Steve Martin's The Crow - New Songs for the 5-String Banjo, with its Dolly and Vince Gill collaboration, holds steady at No. 3 bluegrass albums in its 55th chart week, the March 20 Billboard charts revealed Thursday. Lady Antebellum's Need You Now holds steady at No. 1 country and regains one to No. 1 pop in its sixth week with 126,000 copies sold, while Blake Shelton's EP Hillbilly Bone debuts at No. 3 pop, No. 2 country with 71,000 units moved.

    March 11:
    Another Rare Dolly Cut Coming Out
    Another track from RCA's treasure trove of unreleased Dolly material will see the light of day in May, it was revealed Wednesday. A May 4 release from Sony Music's RCA Nashville/Legacy imprint titled Letter to Heaven: Songs of Faith and Inspiration will feature the previously unreleased track "Would You Know Him" from the recording sessions for her 1971 gospel album The Golden Streets of Glory. The 16-track CD will also feature all 10 songs from that full record plus "Comin' for to Carry Me Home," which was issued as the first single from the original album but was dropped from the final track listing before the full album was released. The CD will also include "Letter to Heaven," "Sacred Memories," "God's Coloring Book" and "Daddy Was an Old Time Preacher Man" with Porter Wagoner. Read more from CMT.com here.

    British Interview Available Online
    The first hour of Dolly's interview on BBC Radio 2 with host Michael Ball aired Tuesday in the U.K. and is available for online streaming here for about six more days. The second hour is slated to air next week to cover "Stairway to Heaven," her friendship with Tammy Wynette, her image, her musical collaborations and even her attempt at a British accent. London newspaper The Guardian noted the broadcast here.

    Dolly Raises $400K For Park
    Friends of the Smokies has announced that Dolly's efforts as international ambassador for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park 75th Anniversary have netted nearly $400,000 for the park's Trails Forever endowment to maintain hiking trails. She wrote the Dollywood musical Sha-Kon-O-Hey! to celebrate the anniversary, with a benefit premiere of the show raising $110,000 and her limited edition fund-raising soundtrack CD to the show contributing another $250,000 thus far, The Knoxville News Sentinel reports here.

    Dolly's Oscar Shout-Out
    In case you missed it, Neil Patrick Harris' comment about two-time Academy Award nominee Dolly in his opening song-and-dance number from Sunday's awards telecast is available online here. Near the song's end, he proclaimed that the night's co-hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were "the biggest pair since Dolly Parton."

    March 10:
    Two Dollywood Parades Planned
    For those who have been asking, Dollywood officials tell Dollymania that Dolly is scheduled be on the park grounds both during season passholders' preview day on Friday, March 26, and the official 25th anniversary season opening to the public on Saturday, March 27. Weather permitting, she is planning to ride in park parades on both days, it was confirmed. Saturday's parade is planned for 3 p.m. and will run from the Heartsongs Theatre to Dolly's Closet, which is serving as the 25th anniversary headquarters, according to the park schedule available online. A time or route for Friday's parade was not available, nor was information on any other appearances over the weekend. In a press release on the anniversary, Dolly noted: "Everyone knows that I'm a dreamer, and the 25th anniversary of my Dollywood theme park is the continuation of a country girl's dream of a special place where families can experience and enjoy all that my Smoky Mountain home has to offer. I'm inviting everyone to join us all season long as we celebrate the dreamer in YOU, too!" Opening day will feature the unveiling of its new attraction, Adventure Mountain. A daily entertainment showcase will also take place in the Adventures in Imagination area along with photographic exhibits in Valley Exhibition Hall on the park's 25 years of growth. And season passholders will be eligible for prizes – 25 given away per day throughout the season – with chances racked up based on number of visits to the park. Multi-media presentations will also share Dolly's most heartfelt memories. The Festival of Nations also comes back with the return of "Imagine'" and the premiere of three new shows: DRUM! From Nova Scotia, Jallamay from Peru and Invaders from Trinidad and Tobago. Image from last year's season opening is copyright © 2009 T. Duane Gordon/Dollymania.net. May not be reproduced without prior written consent. See more shots from that weekend here!

    Queen Dolly
    Thanks to Ron from the Country Music Hall of Fame for alerting me to a new exhibit that has opened on the museum's second floor dedicated to country's greatest duet pairs, with emphasis on Porter Wagoner and Dolly, Tammy Wynette and George Jones and Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn. Large photos of the three duos welcome visitors to the exhibit, which is named after a Porter & Dolly song, "The Right Combination: Kings & Queens of Country Duets." (Click on the photo for a larger version.)

    Another Ohio Library Opens
    Mt. Vernon, Ohio, is about to become the 15th community in the state to start sending books to children via Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program, The Mt. Vernon News reported here Tuesday. The program there is sponsored by the local United Way, Kiwanis Club and others in the community.

    March 9:
    Commercial For 'Trinkets' Released

    Dolly on Monday released a new commercial to promote her Trinkets & Treasures retail store in Nashville. As a reminder, she will be present Friday morning at the Second Avenue outlet for a ribbon cutting. Check out the spot in the media player above or by visiting YouTube here.

    White Stripes Releasing 'Jolene' Again
    Jack White's male-vocal cover of "Jolene" is coming out once again. His band, The White Stripes, first recorded the staple from their live concerts as a B-side to a limited-release vinyl single several years ago, following it up a few years later with a live version that was released as a single in Britain from a U.K. concert DVD. Later this month, a concert CD taken from a 2007 Canadian tour will hit stores featuring a new live version. Listen to the album, Under Great White Northern Lights, in a streaming audio preview from NPR here, and reserve your copy (being released March 16) here!

    March 8:
    Win May Meeting With Dolly
    Dolly has donated herself once more for the Dr. Robert F. Thomas Foundation, which supports the LeConte Medical Center in Sevierville, Tenn. Last time, it was a night at her East Tennessee home for two fans and a dinner/mini-concert for 10 of their friends – a megaprize that went for $75,000. This time it's a meet-and-greet with photo during her May 7-8 "Homecoming" for the annual Pigeon Forge Dolly Parade. The item has been contributed for the charity's 17th annual Las Vegas Night, which will take place at 6 p.m. March 20 at the Music Road Convention Center in Pigeon Forge. All proceeds from this year's event will help purchase equipment for the Dolly Parton Birthing Unit in the hospital's Dolly Parton Center for Women's Services. It is a live auction, so you must be present to participate. Tickets, $50 each, include dinner and drinks and are available from (865) 446-9628. Read more from The Seymour Herald here.

    Seattle Added To Musical's Tour
    Dolly's 9 To 5: The Musical will roll into Seattle, Wash., April 5-24 next year at the Fifth Avenue Theatre, the next city revealed on its 2010-2011 tour, Broadway World reported here Saturday.

    Dolly On U.K. Radio This Week
    BBC Radio 2's Michael Ball will start a two-program interview with Dolly on his show Tuesday, according to the network's website here. It promises to "break loose from the familiar 'life story' approach to this Nashville superstar. Instead, in a long and revealing conversation, Ball finds out what makes Parton tick, how she keeps her family life private, how she became a canny businesswoman and how even she takes the wig off sometimes." Thanks, Brian!

    'CW' Features Dolly Spread
    Thanks to Jason for alerting me that the new issue of Country Weekly features a two-page spread on Dolly's preview tour of the hospital she helped build in her hometown of Sevierville, Tenn. The images, taken by amazing photographer Curtis Hilbun, first appeared here on Dollymania following the event.

    March 6:
    'Best Little Guitar Giveaway in Texas'
    Girls Rock Austin, a Texas charity that sends young girls to music summer camp, is raffling off a guitar autographed by Dolly, The Austinist reported here. Make a $10 donation to the organization through March 16 to support its programs, and you'll automatically receive two entries in the drawing for the guitar, which they're calling "The Best Little Guitar Giveaway in Texas". Learn more or make a donation here.

    Paula Loves Dolly
    Read about Paula Abdul's love for country music, and Dolly in particular, in an interview with AOL's The Boot here.

    March 5:
    Little Chart Movement
    Steve Martin's The Crow - New Songs for the 5-String Banjo, featuring a Dolly and Vince Gill collaboration, regains one on the March 13 Billboard charts released Thursday, rising back to No. 3 bluegrass albums in its 54th chart week. The soundtrack to the Drew Barrymore-directed film Whip It, with Dolly's "Jolene," falls off the 25-position soundtrack chart, down from No. 25 the previous week. Lady Antebellum's Need You Now holds steady at No. 1 country and No. 2 pop in its fifth week, while Johnny Cash's final recording, American VI: Ain't No Grave, debuts at No. 3 pop, No. 2 country.

    March 4:
    New Tammy Tome Features Dolly
    Tammy Wynette: Tragic Country Queen, a new biography of the legend by Jimy McDonough, hits store shelves nationwide on Thursday from Viking with a Dolly connection: she was interviewed for the book about her close friend. Check out an excerpt with a few Dolly comments from The New York Times here, and order your copy of the full book here.

    March 3:
    'Eagle When She Flies'
    Those flying on Air Canada through the month of March have the opportunity to view the Dolly documentary The Book Lady, about expansion of her Imagination Library literacy program into Canada, on the airline's inflight entertainment system. They also are promoting Dolly's favorite spots at Dollywood with an article in its inflight magazine which is also available online here.

    '9 To 5' Coverage
    Playbill on Tuesday played up Dolly's 9 To 5: The Musical tour here and its upcoming dates in Nashville, Chicago, Atlanta and Indianapolis, noting a complete tour schedule is "in the works." However, it is missing two additional engagements that have previously been reported here: July 12-24, 2011, in Minneapolis' Ordway Center and Feb. 1-6 in Dayton's Schuster Center.

    March 2:
    10 More Meet-And-Greets Coming
    Ten additional lucky fans will get to meet Dolly at the ribbon cutting for her Nashville store, Dolly Parton's Trinkets & Treasures, next week, her official record label website, DollyPartonMusic.net, announced Monday. The site had previously run three earlier contests, each of which selected five fans to meet her at the event. This fourth contest will hand out tickets to fans who arrive at around 11 a.m. for the store's March 12 ceremony either dressed as Dolly or donning "as much Dolly gear that you have!" Those given tickets will be notified of the time when a random drawing will choose 10 of them to join the other 15 winners to meet Dolly that day.

    '9 To 5' In Windy City
    Dolly's 9 To 5: The Musical is heading to Chicago, scheduled to play a Jan. 18-31 engagement, according to The Sun Times here.

    U.K. Library Lauded
    A great Belfast Telegraph story on Dolly and the second U.K. year of her Imagination Library is available from The California Chronicle here.

    March 1:
    Dolly Tapes RFD-TV Program
    You may recall it being reported a few months back that Marty Stuart announced Dolly as one of this season's guests for his Marty Stuart Show on cable and satellite network RFD-TV (the same folks that show The Porter Wagoner Show with Dolly, Hee Haw and other country-themed and farm-themed programs). I'm told by an audience member that she just taped the show. According to the reader, she sang "Jolene," "Coat of Many Colors" and "Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man." The show reportedly will air on the network April 17. Thanks, David!

    Library Press
    The Coshocton Tribune in Ohio promotes reading to children as part of Dolly's Imagination Library for Tuesday's "Read Across America Day" in a piece here, and The Mississippi Press praises the Pascagoula City Council's decision to make a $30,000 grant to support a new chapter of the program in their city in an editorial here.