www.dollymania.net                News                          May 2009

May 30:
'Barbie' Hangs On Another Week On GAC
This could be the final week for Dolly's "Backwoods Barbie" to be in the countdown over on Great American Country (GAC), Friday's list revealed. The video falls three places to No. 20 in its sixth week on the 20-position Internet-voted tally. Vote for it on CMT here, CMT Pure Country here and GAC here.

Up In Ireland
The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, Vol. 1 sees a nice rise this week on the Irish pop albums chart, jumping 23 places to No. 66 in its impressive 81st week on the tally there.

Another Positive Mark For '9 To 5'
Dolly's 9 to 5: The Musical got a great review Friday from The Epoch Times in New York, with the critic noting here it's "light, frothy, and fast-moving, with fine singing and dancing. It's a true Broadway musical."

Upcoming Dollywood Stop Gets Noticed
Knoxville News Sentinel columnist Terry Morrow notes Dolly's previously announced upcoming appearance at Dollywood for KidsFest on June 12 here.

May 29:
CD, Book Signing Scheduled
Dolly has scheduled a rare Nashville public appearance, it was announced Thursday. She will visit the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum Store on Monday, June 15, for a 10 a.m. signing of her new children's book, I Am A Rainbow, which was released two weeks ago, and her current CD, Backwoods Barbie. The appearance will be part of the "Live from the Museum Store" series sponsored by CMT and timed to coincide with the CMA Music Festival/"Fan Fair," although it actually takes place the day after the festival ends. Check out more information from CMT here and The Nashville Business Journal here.

'9 To 5' Getting Dolly Noticed
The publicity push has begun for this year's Tony Awards featuring Dolly thanks to her nomination for Best Score for 9 to 5: The Musical . I'm told a new commercial aired during George Strait's tribute special Wednesday night noting performances by Dolly, Elton John and others and closing with Dolly saying "CBS!" at the end. The official announcements from the awards show, however, don't state that Dolly will be performing. A list of shows performing on the program was released Thursday, and it states just that there will be "special appearances" by John and Dolly (although in the version from the awards' website here, Dolly's name is the only one in bold). The announcement brought mentions from TheatreMania here and Variety here, which noted that unconfirmed reports were that Dolly and the show's three lead actresses would kick off the June 7 program performing its title tune as part of the night's opening number. (Dolly had previously told The Knoxville News Sentinel that she would be singing "9 To 5" on the program.)
In related news:

  • A special program profiling the best of Broadway in celebration of the awards will have several Dolly connections, the Tonys announced Thursday. The Visa Signature Tony Awards Season Celebration, which will air on many CBS stations between now and the awards broadcast, will feature several concert performances from current musicals, including Stephanie J. Block singing Dolly's "Get Out And Stay Out," and will also profile five of this year's nominees who are established stars (Dolly, 9 to 5's Allison Janney and Dolly's film co-star Jane Fonda in addition Jeff Daniels and Angela Lansbury) and four nominees who are newcomers. Check here to see if it is airing in your market (additional stations are to be announced).
  • Tickets are on sale now for members of the public to attend the awards. Seats are $154.50, $204.50 and $404.50 from Ticketmaster.
  • The show made its way into an opinion piece Thursday from Newsweek about gay marriage. The author and his husband were wed in California while visiting to see Dolly's show, saying the coupling of the ruling making same-sex marriage legal and the premiere of 9 To 5 were "a sign from God" and allowed them "the gayest weekend ever!" He concluded here that this week's court ruling allowing those marriages to stand but also allowing the constitutional amendment that banned gay marriage in the state to remain on the books made him feel more like a novelty than truly married. "I'll only feel truly married when every committed same-sex couple in the U.S. can wed, and not just those lucky enough to go see a Dolly Parton musical at the right time," he wrote.
    Photo of Dolly with cast members Stephanie J. Block, Allison Janney and Megan Hilty is by Justin Stephens and is used with permission courtesy Center Theatre Group.

    'Barbie' Gone From Pop Charts
    Dolly's Backwoods Barbie this week ends its resurgence on the Billboard pop charts following seven weeks of being back on the tallies due to its Cracker Barrel re-issue. The album falls out of the top 200 pop chart, down from No. 159 in its 17th week, and out of the top 200 comprehensive albums chart, down from No. 188 in its 16th week, the June 6 numbers released Thursday showed. On the country side, the album slides four to No. 29 in its 43rd week while on the independent label albums chart it loses 11 to No. 34 in its 21st week there. The big splash this week is made by Steve Martin, following his performance of "Pretty Flowers" with two former American Idol contestants on the show's finale. The Crow - New Songs for the 5-String Banjo, the album which contains that song (it's a Dolly and Vince Gill duet on the CD), re-enters the 15-position bluegrass albums chart at No. 1 to earn a 14th week on that list and debuts on the pop side at No. 106 and at No. 113 comprehensive. Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, featuring his Dolly collaboration "When I Get Where I'm Going," loses one to No. 10 country catalog and inches up one to No. 29 Canadian country. Kenny Chesney sees his Greatest Hits II debut at No. 1 country and No. 3 pop with 89,000 copies sold in its first week, knocking Dolly goddaughter Miley Cyrus to No. 2 country after four weeks at No. 1 and No. 6 pop in its ninth chart week with 58,000 units moved of her Hannah Montana: The Movie soundtrack.

    Last Of The Photos
    Unless some other folks send in their shots, the final galleries from readers of photos taken at Dolly's recent Dollywood stops have been added to that section of the website here. Thanks again to everyone who's sent theirs in!

    Tales From Two Libraries
    Sullivan County, Tenn., on Friday celebrates the delivery of its 200,000th book in Dolly's Imagination Library with a special visit from the state's lieutenant governor, Tricities.com reported here Thursday. And halfway across the country, the folks in Grand Junction, Colo., are getting ready to kick off the project in their community, TV station WJCT noted here.

    May 28:
    More Photos Posted
    Some more galleries of readers-submitted shots of Dolly at Dollywood this month have been added to that section of the website here.

    Cracking 'Em Up On YouTube
    Came across this great little two-minute Dolly appearance on YouTube. It's a brief address to the Spring Road Conference for theatres in New York on the day the Tony Award nominations came out. She got in a couple of jokes at fellow nominee Elton John's expense and joshed that the folks at her 9 To 5: The Musical expected many more nominations than they received, which is why they were all in therapy that night. Watch it here.

    Cracker Talks Dolly
    Dolly was a topic of conversation in the third quarter 2009 corporate earnings conference call for Cracker Barrel on Wednesday, with company officials celebrating her recent CD at the store as well as her record-selling book for the chain and her 1,350 limited edition rocking chairs, of which just 13 remain for sale. Read more here.

    May 27:
    '9 To 5' Slides A Little
    Although its ticket grosses increased about 1 percent last week, Dolly's 9 To 5: The Musical actually fell one spot to No. 11 for top grosses on Broadway and slid two spots to No. 6 for largest audience with a 2 percent loss in attendance. The show grossed $805,908 for the week with a crowd of 11,718. Since opening for previews, the musical has taken in $4.7 million from an audience of 77,752. For the week, the per-ticket average increased 3 percent but the percentage of capacity filled slipped from 93 percent to 92 percent. In related news:

  • The theatre critic for The New York Observer speculated Tuesday that Dolly won't win the Tony in a week and a half for Best Score but noted he wanted to begin his awards prediction column with "heartfelt congratulations to Dolly Parton" because "I just think Dolly's amazing." He also predicted Alice Ripley will win over Allison Janney for Actress in a Musical. Read his full set of predictions here.
  • The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette gave a mostly positive review here, with the critic saying he enjoyed the performance more than Broadway productions of West Side Story and Guys And Dolls that he watched on the same trip.

    New Photos Available
    The next set of galleries readers have sent in from Dolly's Dollywood appearances earlier this month have been added to that section of the website here. And, yes, there are still more to come!

    Dolly To Be Promoted At Fan Fair
    Thanks to Chuck for alerting me that Dolly has signed up for a booth at this year's CMA Music Festival, formerly known as Fan Fair. However, the website for the June 11-14 Nashville event notes here that she's not scheduled to do any autograph signings at the table, and she is not on the current list of performers, so unless she plans a "surprise" stop before or after her Dollywood KidsFest appearances on June 12, she likely will just have a booth that promotes her material without her actually being present at the festival.

    Report: 'Barbie' Right Under 200,000
    And thanks to Sheldon for a link to a story here recently published updating country album sales which notes that as of the most recent sales report Backwoods Barbie had sold 199,000. You may recall a little over a week ago it was reported here that based on chart performance since its release it should be right around the 200,000 mark.

    Get O'Connell CD
    Maura O'Connell's a capella album, Naked With Friends, which will come out June 16 with a guest spot by Dolly, has been made available for advance ordering from Amazon.com here.

    Martin Talks Of Dolly
    Dolly and Vince Gill get a mention from Steve Martin in an interview with The New York Post here about his bluegrass album The Crow - New Songs for the 5-String Banjo. They sing his song "Pretty Flowers."

    CMT Notes Dolly Graduation
    CMT's blog noted Dolly's recent University of Tennessee Knoxville commencement speech here Tuesday.

    May 25:
    New Photos Available
    A gallery from Dollymania assistant photographer Harrell Gabehart and the first selection of reader-submitted images from Dolly's recent Dollywood appearances have been added to that section of the website here. Still more to come!

    Nice '9' Review
    "I admit I didn't have high hopes for this show when it was first announced. Sometimes it's nice to be wrong," wrote the critic for Gay City News on Sunday praising Dolly's 9 To 5: The Musical. He loved every aspect of the show, especially Dolly's "outstanding" score, some songs from which "are likely to become Broadway classics." Read the full review here.

    Library Coming To Albany
    Albany, N.Y., is working to get children signed up for Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program, which the Junior League intends to officially launch in the city in September. Learn more from TV channel Capital News 9 here.

    May 23:
    'Stay Out' Gets Honor
    Dolly was recognized this week by Broadway audience members who voted for Broadway.com's Audience Awards. Although Dolly's 9 To 5: The Musical had snagged seven nominations in the competition, it just took one honor: Favorite New Broadway Song for Dolly's "Get Out And Stay Out." See the full list of winners here. In related news, the song's singer, Stephanie J. Block, gives a "Diva Talk" interview this week with Playbill, in which she talks about the show and Dolly's involvement, noting "Everybody should have a Dolly Parton in their life!" Read it here. Also, the show has launched a contest for a chance to win 10 free tickets to the musical if your company has implemented "green" changes. Learn more in the show's special green website here.

    'Barbie' Falls On GAC
    It appears Dolly's music video for "
    Backwoods Barbie" could soon be gone from the Great American Country (GAC) top 20 countdown. The clip plummets 13 spots to No. 17 in its fifth week on the Internet-voted tally. Vote for it on CMT here, CMT Pure Country here and GAC here.

    Get Your Splash On
    Dollywood's Splash Country water park adjacent to Dolly's Pigeon Forge theme park opens for the 2009 season Saturday. So go out and get wet!

    May 22:
    'Barbie' Slips From Top 20
    After its Cracker Barrel re-issue propelled it back into the top 20 for seven weeks, Dolly's Backwoods Barbie drops past that benchmark digit in the May 30 Billboard charts released Thursday. The disc falls eight to No. 25 in its 42nd week on the country albums tally, indicating the strong sales at the restaurant chain are starting to decline. It dips 11 to No. 23 in its 20th week on the independent label albums chart, 55 to No. 159 in its 17th week on the pop list and 76 to No. 188 in its 16th week on the comprehensive albums chart. Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, with the Dolly duet "When I Get Where I'm Going," holds steady at No. 9 country catalog and loses three to No. 30 Canadian country. Dolly goddaughter Miley Cyrus gets a fourth week at No. 1 country and holds on at No. 2 pop with the eighth chart week for her Hannah Montana: The Movie soundtrack with 68,000 copies moved, while Rascal Flatts' Unstoppable remains steady at No. 2 country and slides down one to No. 5 pop with 33,000 units sold in its sixth week.

    Dolly Appearance Video Posted
    The second Dollymania video report from Dolly's recent stop at Dollywood has been added to that section of the site here. Still to come are reader-submitted images, which have been sent in by eight or nine of you out there. If you want to e-mail your shots, send them here! Thanks!

    Singles Chart News
    In country singles, it looks like Randy Travis won't be tying a Dolly record anytime soon. If his duet of "I Told You So" with Carrie Underwood went to No. 1, he'd join Dolly as the only artists to score a No. 1 with different versions of the same song (as Dolly took "I Will Always Love You" to the top spot in 1974 and 1982). The Travis-Underwood cut, though, falls to No. 9 this week after getting all the way to No. 2. In other news, Reba McEntire is looking like she may extend her lead over Dolly for the woman with the most top 10 country singles. Her "Strange" advances two to No. 16 in its sixth week on its way to a possible top 10. Back in January, the redhead reached a total of 56, breaking the record Dolly had held for 21 straight years (she had tied Dolly in 2005 and again in 2007 before surpassing her for the first time this year).

    Lending A Helping Hand
    Dolly has designed a guitar for the first Guitars of the Stars benefit auction for the Opry Trust Fund, the Grand Ole Opry announced in a press release here. The auction takes place at the Ryman Auditorium at 2 p.m. June 12. Other artists who've donated their designs include Dierks Bentley, Charlie Daniels, Vince Gill, Jamey Johnson, Miranda Lambert, Craig Morgan, Kellie Pickler, Sugarland, Pam Tillis, Steve Wariner, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban.

    Another Duet Found
    Thanks to Niko from Germany for alerting me to a duet of "To Daddy" with Dolly on German singer Tom Astor's two-CD collection Alles Klar! Kein Problem!. Get your copy here!

    Plan Your '9 To 5' Trip
    The Marriott Marquis, the hotel in which is housed the theatre where Dolly's 9 To 5: The Musical is performed, is offering a show special package. For between $459 and $559 per night through July 9, you and a companion can get two orchestra-level seats to the show (Wednesday through Friday 8 p.m. performances only), a room overlooking Times Square and a pre-show dinner for two at the revolving rooftop restaurant The View. Click here for more information.

    May 20:
    '9 To 5' Nets Dolly Women's Award
    Dolly's 9 To 5: The Musical has earned her at least one award since opening. The Women's Media Center, a four-year-old organization co-founded by Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem with Robin Morgan to promote women in the media, has announced its first WMC Media Awards honorees, and Dolly is one of two women being recognized for contributions to theatre, the other being Lynn Nottage for Ruined. Also recognized will be journalists Christiane Amanpour, Helene Cooper, Candy Crowley, Pam Spaulding and Rebecca Traister; television hosts Bonnie Erbe and Rachel Maddow; documentary filmmakers Abigail Disney and Gini Reticker; and comedienne Tina Fey. Awards will be presented at the Sackler Foundation in New York City June 17. No word on whether Dolly will be in attendance to accept. Tickets to the event are $150 each and available here.

    More Dolly Images Available
    What should be your final sets of Dollymania images from Dolly's appearances this month at Dollywood have been added to that section of the site here. There is still one additional video report to come, and then we'll get into posting reader-submitted shots from the festivities!

    Library Success Observed
    Folks in the Fargo, N.D., area are celebrating having delivered half a million books to local children through Dolly's Imagination Library program over the past six years, according to In-Forum here.

    May 19:
    '9 To 5' Stays At No. 10
    Dolly's 9 To 5: The Musical was just moving along on Broadway last week, the new grosses confirmed. The show held onto its No. 10 spot for the highest gross of the week out of the district's 34 shows, bringing in $797,680, a nearly 5 percent increase over the previous week. The number of attendees, 11,934, allowed it to remain as the fourth most popular show of the week and increased from 90 percent of available seats the previous week to 93 percent, and the average per-ticket price went up slightly. Since opening for previews, the show has grossed $3.9 million and played for 66,034 fans. In related news, American Theatre Wing Executive Director Howard Sherman, whose organization co-presents the Tony Awards with the Broadway League, waxed on the variety of shows in the current season and was quoted here exclaiming: "And Dolly Parton is her own category in and of herself." Meanwhile, TheatreMania profiles show star Mark Kudisch in its series on this year's Tony nominees here. And Playbill noted here that the cast was to perform at the Manhattan Theatre Club's Annual Spring Gala Monday night alongside several other musicals at the annual fund-raising event.

    More Shots Of Dolly
    The next sets of images from Dolly's recent stop at Dollywood have been added to that area of the site here.

    Hazel Loves Dolly
    CMT.com's Hazel Smith bragged on her favorite gal, Dolly, Monday in her weekly column here, gushing about her recent University of Tennessee Knoxville honorary doctorate. "I'm always proud to tell the world: In my opinion, Dolly Parton is the smartest person ever born in the state of Tennessee," she wrote.

    Report: Dolly Helps Jessica Again
    Showbizspy reported here Monday that Dolly has put out the offer to Jessica Simpson to release the pop star's second country album on her Dolly Records label. However, the tone of the story reads like a tabloid report, so its accuracy may not be assured.

    May 18:
    Video Report Posted
    Your first Dollymania video report from Dolly's recent appearances in East Tennessee has been added to that section of the website here. This one, "Dr. Dolly," focuses on her receipt of an honorary doctorate from the University of Tennessee Knoxville and features footage from her commencement address as well as the press conference after the ceremony. (And please excuse the camerawork – I film brief clips on my handheld still camera between taking pictures, so unless I have my tripod set up or something to brace my arm against, the picture tends to get a bit wobbly.) At least one other video report and several more galleries of photos are still to come!

    '9 To 5' At The Drama Desk
    Dolly's 9 To 5: The Musical had few things to celebrate Sunday at the Drama Desk Awards, where it picked up just one trophy. Host Harvey Fierstein opened the evening joking about the true honor being just being nominated instead of winning, adding that he sat in the audience the previous year with 11 nominations for his play A Catered Affair while losing again and again and again and again (it didn't receive any awards), adding "How many nominations does 9 To 5 have again?" True to the joshing, the reps from Dolly's show sat again and again and again and again as others won the evening's honors although her production set the all-time record this year for the most nominations in a single season for one show with a total of 15. Broadway megahit Billy Elliot bested 9 To 5 in most categories where it was nominated -- taking outstanding musical, book, orchestration, choreography, direction, lighting, sound design and music (with Elton John winning over Dolly). Stephen Sondheim took the lyrics prize over Dolly while Shrek: The Musical beat her show in costume design and set design. Gregory Jbara of Billy Elliot won featured actor over 9 To 5's Mark Kudisch, and in the evening's one bright note, Allison Janney won outstanding actress over the show's Stephanie J. Block and Megan Hilty, each of whom had also been nominated, and two other actresses. "Through Dolly Parton all good things flow," Janney said in her acceptance speech. Dolly's song "9 To 5" did get played, though, as film co-star Jane Fonda came to the stage to present an award. In related news, Broadway World over the weekend posted a great (and long) video on the show, covering interviews during rehearsals as well as on the red carpet opening night. Watch it here.

    Dolly's Book Starts Arriving
    I'm told that folks who advanced ordered from Amazon.com Dolly's new children's book, I Am A Rainbow, which came out last week, started receiving them at the end of the week. If you haven't reserved your copy, get it here!

    Dolly Raises 100 Grand For Park
    The Knoxville News Sentinel reported here Sunday that Dolly's mini-concert and the "premiere" performance of her Sha-Kon-O-Hey! musical at Dollywood raised just over $100,000 for the Friends of the Smokies. Read more here.

    Critic Loves Dolly's '9 To 5' CD
    The Buffalo News gives the recent re-issue of Dolly's 9 To 5 & Odd Jobs high marks in a review here, noting that her performance of "Dark As A Dungeon" alone provides "why she is now considered one of the giants of American music." The critic offers three-out-of-four stars.

    May 16:
    '9 To 5' Empty Handed At Drama League
    The love for Dolly's 9 To 5: The Musical was not apparent this week in awards land. The show failed to take home any trophies Friday from the Drama League Awards, where Dolly and Patricia Resnick lost to Billy Elliot for Distinguished Production of a Musical, which had 10 nominated shows, and stars Allison Janney and Megan Hilty (as well as 68 other nominees) lost to Geoffrey Rush of Exit The King for the Distinguished Performance Award. Earlier in the week, it didn't win any Outer Critics Circle Awards either, as Andy Blankenbuehler had been nominated for Outstanding Choreographer, Megan Hilty for Outstanding Actress In A Musical and Kathy Fitzgerald for Outstanding Featured Actress In A Musical. Perhaps things will turn around on Sunday, when the Drama Desk Awards are handed out, as Dolly's crew set that program's record for the most nominations ever received in a single year by one show. After that, it's on to the Tony Awards June 7, where the show has four nominations. In related news:

  • Blankenbuehler spoke to Playbill about his work on the show here.
  • And you may cast votes for the show in the fields of choreography, orchestrations, book, score, scenic design, lighting design, costume design, direction, featured actress, featured actor, leading actress, musical and sound design from Broadway World's Fans' Choice Awards here.

    More Photos Posted
    The next set of Dollymania galleries from Dolly's University of Tennessee honorary degree appearance have been added to that section of the site here. These are from the post-ceremony press conference. And, yes, much more is still to come!

    GAC Update
    Dolly's music video for "Backwoods Barbie" may have peaked on the Great American Country (GAC) top 20 countdown. The video, which reached a new high at No. 3 last week, slides one to No. 4 in its fourth week on the Internet-voted tally. Vote for it on CMT here, CMT Pure Country here and GAC here. And thanks to Maggie for alerting me to a series of nine "Dolly's Guides To" videos posted on GAC here where she discusses how to walk in high heels, how to save money, how to handle awards shows and more.

    Library, United Way Partnership Grows
    Dolly's Imagination Library literacy project is getting a big push, it was announced Friday, as Dolly was in Detroit at the United Way of America's Staff Leadership Conference to reveal an expanded partnership with the organization, which will work with Dolly on the goal of doubling the initiative's enrollment to 1 million children in the U.S. within the next five years. Read more and see some photos here.

    May 15:
    Next Round Of Pics Posted

    Many apologies for the lack of a site update Wednesday night – your webmaster does have a real job, and a work-related event kept me away and unable to post the night's news. Anyway, I'm back on schedule tonight with the next group of Dollymania shots from Dolly's weekend appearances in Tennessee. Several galleries from her honorary doctorate ceremony have been added to that section of the site here. In related news, The University of Tennessee Knoxville on Thursday posted to YouTube the complete video of Dolly's commencement address, available in the media player above or by clicking here. They also added Gov. Phil Bredesen's introduction of her and her performance of "Rocky Top" here. Smokies TV this week made available on YouTube highlights of Dolly from her Pigeon Forge parade here (you can even see your webmaster standing with some other photographers in the background at the video's start). The Tennessean on Wednesday had a letter to the editor here praising UT for recognizing Dolly, and the religion section of The Houston Chronicle here on Thursday also expressed glee at her degree. Finally, The Knoxville News Sentinel editorialized it was a graduation to remember here.

    Tonys Get 'Doogie'
    Although she reportedly will perform on the program, Dolly will not host this year's Tony Awards. Producers announced Thursday that Neil Patrick Harris, Dr. Doogie Howser himself, will helm the June 7 affair, at which Dolly is nominated for Best Score for 9 To 5: The Musical. In related news:

  • The musical received seven nominations in Broadway.com's fan-voted Audience Awards, it was announced. It tied for second place with Shrek: The Musical, as only Next To Normal and [title of show] snagged more at 10 each. Dolly received a nod for Favorite New Broadway Song with "Get Out And Stay Out," while the show is up for Favorite New Broadway Musical, all three main actresses are nominated for Favorite Leading Actress in a Broadway Musical, the show's Mr. Hart is up for Featured Actor in a Broadway Musical and Stephanie J. Block got a nom for Favorite Diva Performance. See all nominees here and vote for the winners here. Thanks, Tony!
  • Interviewer Dr. Sue posted a show to YouTube here Thursday featuring red carpet talks with Dolly and others associated with the show from the recent Drama Desk Awards nominee reception.
  • The New York Post profiled three of the show's actors' New York homes in a piece here Thursday.
  • The Financial Times gave the show a pretty good review here Wednesday, calling it fun and offering four-out-of-five stars although it criticized Dolly's lyrics as cliché. It also predicted that despite others' bad reviews, the show should be a hit and play for a long time.

    'Barbie' Still Doing Well
    Thanks to probably about 65,000 copies sold at Cracker Barrel in its seven weeks since its re-issue as a store-exclusive Collector's Edition, Dolly's Backwoods Barbie should be within days of passing the 200,000-unit mark in copies sold since its release 15 months ago. The title snags yet another week in the country top 20, the May 23 Billboard numbers revealed Thursday. In its 41st chart week, the CD rises one to No. 17 on the country albums chart. Over on the pop side, it slides a dozen to No. 104 in its 16th week, while it loses 13 to No. 112 comprehensive in its 15th week and four to No. 12 independent label albums in its 19th week. Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, featuring the Dolly collaboration "When I Get Where I'm Going," holds steady at No. 9 country catalog and dips four to No. 27 Canadian country. Steve Martin's The Crow - New Songs for the 5-String Banjo, featuring a Dolly and Vince Gill duet, falls off the 15-position bluegrass albums chart, down from No. 15 last week, its 12th. Dolly goddaughter Miley Cyrus gets a third week at No. 1 country and holds on at No. 2 pop with the seventh chart week for her Hannah Montana: The Movie soundtrack with 82,000 copies sold, while Rascal Flatts' Unstoppable remains steady at No. 2 country and loses one to No. 4 pop with 58,000 copies sold in its fifth week.

    Site: DVD Delay
    Dolly's upcoming live DVDs and CDs from her London and Glasgow concerts from last year's tour have been delayed, her official record label website, DollyPartonMusic.net, revealed on Wednesday. Both collections had originally been announced for an anticipated June release, but now the London one won't come out until sometime in the fall, according to the site, and no release date has been revealed yet for the Glasgow set.

    'Yusuf' Tube
    The new music video for the Yusuf (formerly Cat Stevens) song "Boots & Sand" – featuring a couple of harmony lines by Dolly as well as Sir Paul McCartney and Allison Krauss and a lyrical shout-out to Dolly's former longtime producer Steve Buckingham – has been released following the album's coming out last week, and it's been posted to YouTube here for all to see. Newsweek noted the filming here, including the appearance of a Dolly impersonator. Remember that the song is a bonus track on the iTunes version of the album Roadsinger here and is a humorous take on his deportation from the U.S. while en route to meet with Dolly and Buckingham in Nashville.

    Cabbage Patch Dolly
    Dolly's Imagination Library partnership with the Rotary Club earned her a one-of-a-kind celebrity Cabbage Patch Doll that was recently presented to her, Access North Georgia reported here.

    Report: Park May Get Hotel
    Dolly has long made it known that one of her dreams for Dollywood is to have a resort-style hotel on the property, and park officials are discussing the possibility of making that dream a reality, The Mountain Press reported here, noting that a decision could come as early as this summer. In related news, Keona, a hang drum trio, this week posted to YouTube footage of their recent meeting with Dolly at the park here.

    Party This Weekend
    If you're near Sevierville, Tenn., check out the Bloomin' Barbeque & Bluegrass festival this weekend. On Saturday, the fest includes the annual Mountain Soul Vocal Competition, where singers try their hand at Dolly-composed classics. The show begins at 11:30 a.m. with winners announced at 2 p.m. Read more from The Mountain Press here.

    They Might Come Again
    And while I'm plugging some neat YouTube clips, here's one of my favorite wacky bands, They Might Be Giants, throwing in some "Here You Come Again" into their classic "Particle Man" at a concert a few days ago.

    May 13:
    Listen To Dolly's Weekend Appearances
    Coverage of Dolly's 2009 Homecoming on Dollymania continues with the posting of the weekend's audio files. Listen to Dolly's commencement address to the University of Tennessee College of Arts and Sciences Class of 2009, hear her remarks at the rose planting ceremony in memory of her aunt and uncle and enjoy her humor at the opening performance of Dollywood's Sha-Kon-O-Hey!. The files have been added to that section of the site here, and return in coming days for many more galleries of photos and even a video report!

    Another Mostly Nice '9 To 5' Review
    The Village Voice gives its opinion this week on Dolly's 9 To 5: The Musical, praising Dolly's music and the talented cast but criticizing the script, directing and choreography, saying Dolly's "talent needs, and deserves, a more heartfelt tale to tell." Read the full review here. In related news, The New York Post interviewed Megan Hilty here, finding her saying that she now looks at the life through the lens of "What would Dolly do?"

    Dolly And Bette And 50 Cent
    E! Online gossip guru Mark Malkin on Tuesday plugged Bette Midler's Restoration Project eighth annual spring picnic at Ft. Tryon Park in New York, which will take place next week and features Dolly as the honorary co-chair. Check out his written story here and video story here. (Get tickets here!)

    Read About Dolly
    AV Club, the more serious and mostly entertainment-related blog connected to satirical publication The Onion, profiled Dolly's career in a piece here Tuesday.

    See Classic Cas Clips
    If you're in the Maryville, Tenn., area next month, you'll want to check out the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound fund-raiser where they'll show old footage from The Cas Walker Show, which should include a young Dolly appearing once or twice. The event is 7 p.m. at the Palace Theatre with a $10 suggested donation. Learn more about it here.

    Library Chapter Celebrates Birthday
    Cumberland County, Tenn., is celebratring the fourth anniversary of its participation in Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program. Read more from The Crossville Chronicle here.

    May 12:
    Check Out New Dolly Galleries
    The next sets of images from Dolly's recent homecoming visit have been added to that section of the site here. These, such as the shot at left, focus on her 24th annual Dolly Parade through Pigeon Forge. Much more to come! In related news, The Knoxville News Sentinel reviewed Dollywood's new Dolly musical Sha-Kon-O-Hey! Land Of Blue Smoke with a story here and The Mountain Press covered Saturday's rose planting ceremony here. Image is copyright © 2009 T. Duane Gordon/Dollymania.net. May not be reproduced without prior written consent.

    '9 To 5' Improves Standing
    Dolly's 9 To 5: The Musical entered the top 10 Broadway grosses last week for the first time since previews began in early April. Its first full performance week after its "official" opening night brought in $762,358 to allow it to stand at No. 10 on the week's list of gross receipts released Monday. It retained its spot at No. 4 for the week's largest audience with 11,632 people taking in the eight performances. Unfortunately, attendance was down 6.6 percent from the previous week, averaging 90 percent full audiences for the week, although the weekly gross increased 14 percent over the previous week due to higher average paid ticket prices. Since previews started, the show has taken in $3.1 million and played for 54,100 guests. In related news, Nashville resident Tennessee Michael, the partner of Lily Tomlin's brother Richard Tomlin, told The Tennessean here this week that he and his partner caught the opening night performance and found the show to be "absolutely, positively fabulous."

    May 11:
    Dolly Wows Dollywood Crowds
    Dolly's appearances Saturday at Dollywood started out on a somber note as she and family members at the Backporch Theatre dedicated roses that will be planted in a new family memorial rose garden near the replica of her Tennessee Mountain Home at the park. She noted other roses will be planted in honor of other family members who have passed on, but they chose to recognize her aunt Dorothy Jo Owens (who died in November) and uncle Robert Henry Owens (who worked under the stage name John Henry and died in December 2003) publicly because they had worked as performers at the park. In honor of Dorothy Jo, she joined the family members in performing "Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man," which the two of them wrote together, and "Will The Circle Be Unbroken."
    Next, she stopped in at the end of the first staging of her new musical, Sha-Kon-O-Hey! Land Of Blue Smoke at 11 a.m. in the Celebrity Theatre to welcome guests to the park, speak about the creation of the moving show in conjunction with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park 75th anniversary, perform the song "My Mountains, My Home" from the musical and take questions from the press. Your webmaster asked if she intends to compose additional musicals for the park, to which she responded she would like to and noted she has written several songs she hopes will be used in a future musical based on her hit "Coat Of Many Colors." She ended with a disclosure that she'll be taking some time off soon to see her husband and "fool around for a little bit," which elicited hoots and hollers from the crowd and prompted her to say she didn't mean it that way. When the park's PR director Pete Owens said on that note he thought they'd end the Q&A session, she quizzed him: "Don't you fool around with your wife?" -- a question which brought more cheers from the audience. Although rain and thunder for most of the afternoon threatened to cancel her planned park tour, it stopped long enough for her to make the ride and wave to the fans.
    The day ended with the official ticketed "premiere" of the musical as a fund-raiser for the Friends of the Smokies, which started with a mini-concert of Dolly singing "9 To 5," "My Tennessee Mountain Home" and "Smoky Mountain Memories" before the performance of the show. After its conclusion, she came back on stage to thank everyone for coming before those who purchased VIP tickets were taken to a special reception where they had their pictures taken with Dolly. The $1 million musical, five years in the making and featuring stellar acrobatics and even flying cast members, continues its run at the park for several months, while a CD of Dolly's recordings of the songs she wrote for its characters remains on sale to benefit the Friends here.
    In related news:

  • Instead of starting out the galleries this time with your Dollymania images, we're going to begin with special submitted shots from Dolly's University of Tennessee appearance by professional photographer Curtis Hilbun and the college's photographers, since they were taken close up during the ceremony while the general media area was in the back of the arena. You may view them in that section of the site here, and keep checking back for more coverage over the next several days including video, audio and tons of pictures! Thanks, Curtis!
  • The University of Tennessee has posted footage of the conferring of Dolly's degree to YouTube here as well as her performance of "Try" from the ceremony here.
  • The Mountain Press in Sevier County covered Dolly's UT appearance here and Sha-Kon-O-Hey! premiere here.
    Click on the photos above for a larger version of each. Images are copyright © 2009 T. Duane Gordon/Dollymania.net. May not be reproduced without prior written consent.

    Paper: Dolly To Sing At Tonys
    Although a host for the program still has yet to be announced, Knoxville News Sentinel columnist Terry Morrow reported here over the weekend that Dolly will be performing the title song from her nominated score of 9 To 5: The Musical on the Tony Awards live June 7.

    Smokies TV Repeats Parade
    The folks over at Smokies TV tell me that their site functioned correctly for most of the tens of thousands of visitors who stopped by on Friday evening to watch Dolly's parade live online but confirmed that several who logged on at the last minute as the parade was starting experienced a "clogged server" that prevented them from seeing the video. To help make it up to those impacted, staffers spent most of the weekend formatting the entire parade into streaming video and are rebroadcasting it over and over for the immediate future to let everyone see it. They'll also have some additional footage up early this week for fans to check out as well, and if anyone still has difficulty viewing it, they may contact the site at info@thesmokies.tv for assistance. Thanks, Jacob!

    Aussie Chart Update
    After returning for two weeks, 2007's The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, Vol. 1 falls back out of the top 20 Australian country albums chart this week, down from No. 18 last week.

    Alabama Library Touted
    The Tuscaloosa, Ala.-area Imagination Library was profiled over the weekend in Tuscaloosa News here.

    May 9:
    Dr. Dolly Makes House Call To UT

    Dolly Parton shrieked with glee Friday morning when your webmaster was the first to address her as "Dr. Dolly" following her commencement address to more than 1,000 College of Arts and Sciences graduates at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. (Watch video of the encounter in the player above or by clicking here from the Knoxville News Sentinel.) The school awarded her an honorary doctorate, and she in return provided them with a 15-minute collection of words of wisdom based on her Dollywood Foundation motto of "Dream More, Learn More, Care More, And Be More!"
    Using her own life story as the base, she discussed each of the four themes as she provided encouragement and congratulations to the graduates as well as appreciation for her own honor. Following the conferring of degrees on each student, Gov. Phil Bredesen was called to the stage to provide a comprehensive and heartfelt introduction to Dolly, who then came on stage to lead the enthusiastic crowd in the school anthem "Rocky Top," followed by her address, which she closed by singing "Try." She then donned a specially-made black cap and gown to accept her honor, again thanking the university for selecting her and closing by citing the third verse of "I Will Always Love You." She appeared immediately after the ceremony for a media Q&A wearing a UT orange ensemble. Extensive coverage was offered by the Knoxville News Sentinel, which in addition to the above-mentioned video, included a story here, photo gallery here, video of her receiving the degree here and video of her address here.
    Other stories are available from The Associated Press here and Knoxville TV stations WBIR here and WVLT here. After the ceremony, it was back to Pigeon Forge, where she got ready for her 24th annual Dolly Parton Parade through town. She took the theme of the 75th anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as a reason to wear a shimmering take on a park ranger's uniform and snap some shots with Smokey The Bear and some real rangers before taking her trip down the Parkway atop a snow-covered collection of mountains to celebrate the Smokies and her Sha-Kon-O-Hey musical.
    Unfortunately, I'm told that the new Smokies TV website that was supposed to stream the parade and a brief Dolly interview live appears to have done too good a job getting the word out because its site crashed (and an unexpectedly high number of users at one time is the most common cause of such crashes) right as the parade began and didn't come back up until about 15 or 20 minutes into it – long after Dolly's float had already passed. Click on the photos above for a larger version of each. Images are copyright © 2009 T. Duane Gordon/Dollymania.net. May not be reproduced without prior written consent.

    'Barbie' Up On GAC, Gone On CMT
    Dolly's "Backwoods Barbie" continues to gain on the Great American Country (GAC) chart, Friday's numbers showed. The video rises one to No. 3 in its third week on the viewer-voted list. On competitor CMT, the video falls out of the top 20, down from No. 20 in its fifth week. Vote for it on CMT here, CMT Pure Country here and GAC here.

    More '9 To 5' News
    Dolly joined the stars of her 9 To 5: The Musical in the studio earlier this week to oversee the recording of the show's original Broadway cast soundtrack. Check out some images from the show's SwiftMob site here and Broadway.com here. Thanks, Tony! Meanwhile, another is joining the bandwagon against the Tony Awards for leaving the show out of the running for Best Musical. Columnist Liz Smith says here she's "truly steamed" about the snub and agrees with The New York Post that Dolly should host the awards show to bring her class to the program while at the same time having what Smith described as the Tony nominators' "own lack of class tossed back in their faces." (In related news, your webmaster on Friday asked Dolly if she would be interested in hosting the program, and she replied that the producers had not asked her to be host but she'd be up for it if invited.) On a happier note, CMT spoke with Dolly and fellow Tony nominees Allison Janney and Marc Kudisch from the show here to get their reactions to the awards news. (Dolly also told a story during Friday's press Q&A when asked how she found out about the nomination that she had turned on the television without realizing the nominations were being announced that early and when she heard her name she dropped her coffee and began screaming for best pal Judy Ogle to get out of bed because she'd been nominated for a Tony.) Variety isn't too worried about a negative impact of the Best Musical snub. It opines that the show's status as well known already due to the film and Dolly's involvement should merit a performance on the awards telecast as a ratings-grabber even though it didn't score the Best Musical nod that usually is required for an on-air spot. Secondly, the publication notes here, there have been past shows that have proven you can still be a hit without a Best Musical nomination. Finally, I understand that entertainment television show The Insider on Friday promoted a sit-down interview with Dolly to air Monday about the show. Thanks, Sheldon!

    I'm Goin' To Dollywood!
    Don't forget if you're at Dollywood on Saturday to keep your eyes peeled for what are expected to be a handful of Dolly appearances on the park grounds, including a possible park tour if the rain holds off and her stops at the new Sha-Kon-O-Hey! musical, which garnered an interview in The Knoxville News Sentinel here.

    Dolly In 'EW'
    Thanks to Al for alerting me to a three-page Dolly article about 9 To 5: The Musical, her life, her career and her movies in the current edition of Entertainment Weekly.

    May 8:
    'Barbie' Stays In Top 20, Top 100
    Dolly's Backwoods Barbie, now in its sixth week of re-issue as a Cracker Barrel Collector's Edition, sticks around in the top 20 again, the May 16 Billboard charts released Thursday revealed. The title inches down one to No. 18 country in its 40th week, drops 23 to No. 92 pop in its 15th week, 27 to No. 99 comprehensive in its 14th week and three to No. 8 in its 18th week on the independent albums chart. Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, featuring the Dolly collaboration "When I Get Where I'm Going," holds steady at No. 9 country catalog and gains one to No. 23 Canadian country. Steve Martin's The Crow - New Songs for the 5-String Banjo, with its Dolly and Vince Gill duet, drops eight to No. 15 on the 15-position bluegrass albums tally in its 12th week. Dolly's goddaughter, Miley Cyrus, sticks around for a second week at No. 1 on the country charts with the soundtrack to Hannah Montana: The Movie moving 86,000 copies in its sixth week, also holding on at No. 2 pop, while Rascal Flatts' Unstoppable remains steady at No. 2 country and rises one to No. 3 pop with 53,000 copies sold in its fourth week.

    Dr. Dolly To Discuss Dreams
    Dolly tells Terry Morrow of the Knoxville News Sentinel that she'll talk of dreams when she addresses the College of Arts and Sciences 2009 graduates at Friday morning's commencement ceremony. Read more from the article here, and don't forget to watch live at 9 a.m. Eastern here. According to TV station WBIR here, some kids with extra tickets wanted to make some money off of them by selling them on Craigslist, but the university caught wind of it and got them to stop. Then it's over to Pigeon Forge for her annual parade, with The Mountain Press offering some hints here about her outfit for the public appearance (don't forget to watch that one online at 6 p.m. here). Then she'll be at Dollywood on Saturday, so check back here for complete coverage of all three!

    Another '9 To 5' Review
    Another paper weighs in on Dolly's 9 To 5: The Musical this week, and gives a pretty positive review. New Jersey's The Leader opined here that "there's a lot of fun to be had" at the show, but it laments that the script isn't anywhere near as strong as Dolly's "accomplished" songs.

    Smokies Get Attention
    Dolly is among those chatting with USA Today about the 75th anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Check out the story here.

    New Library Coverage
    Dolly sat down with School Library Journal recently to discuss her Imagination Library literacy program. Read the interview here. And Times And Transcript noted here the expansion of the project to Port Elgin, Canada.

    May 7:
    Dolly As Tony Hostess?
    After her 9 To 5: The Musical was snubbed by the small committee of Tony Award nominators for Best Musical, might Dolly take on next month's awards show and host it? The Hamptons reported here Wednesday that the rumor going around New York is that she will be tapped for the ceremony, the host for which has yet to be announced. New York Post critic Michael Riedel thinks Dolly hosting the awards is the only way available for her musical to be saved, given that the nominators appeared "to go out of their way not to nominate the show in the all-important Best Musical category," insulting her by choosing instead of nominate Rock of Ages, an inferior production that the writer notes prides itself in being much more fun if the audience members get drunk during the performance. He notes here that although she was personally nominated for the score, it's certain that the winner will be Elton John, and that lack of a Best Musical nomination puts the show "in serious trouble," with some Broadway watchers predicting it might make it through year-end but most saying it will likely close by early September. He adds that short of taking over the role of Doralee herself, her last chance would be to offer to host the awards show, which would give ample publicity to the production. He explains that if she "makes an aggressive play for the hosting job, Tony officials will be hard-pressed to turn her down." The Dallas Morning News noted here that the show's failure to be nominated for Best Musical was "the closest thing to a surprise" in the nominations, while The Toronto Star said here that the omission showed that producers played it too safe "spending all its tryout time making things shiny instead of making them real."
    In related news:

  • Thanks to Tony for alerting me to a listing of Broadway gross receipts, which show that thus far the production isn't doing too badly. According to published reports, Dolly's show through Sunday took in $667,000, ranking it as the 11th biggest grosser of the 35 current Broadway shows. Its crowd of 12,448 was actually the fourth-largest of the week (behind No. 1 grosser Wicked, No. 2 West Side Story and No. 4 The Lion King), but its per-seat average is much lower, likely due to a lot of reduced price tickets, which pushed it much further down the list. Since previews began in early April, the show has taken in $2.33 million with 42,468 of its 43,497 seats during that time filled. (Most performances have been complete sell-outs and those that haven't been have made it in the upper 90 percents with just a handful of empty chairs.) We'll have to wait to see if the past week's mostly lukewarm reviews and the Tony snub have any impact on attendance.
  • Website Talkin' Broadway reports here in its list of upcoming soundtracks that although the release date has not been announced (it is reportedly being recorded sometime this month), the original Broadway recording of the show is going to be issued by Dolly Records instead of a major label. Thanks, Tony!
  • Thanks to Brian for sending in some shots from the opening night red carpet, such as the one at left. Check out his additional pics in that section of the site here.
  • A Dolly interview about the original film and the musical was made available Wednesday by Playbill here.
  • Additional coverage on Dolly's Tony nomination for Best Score came Wednesday from CMT here and GAC here.
  • Another lackluster review came out Wednesday, this one from Time Out New York here, which found the show "someone dated" and lacking the "spark of joy" that made the movie successful.

    Hooray For Dollywood
    Your webmaster is off to Tennessee to cover Dolly's appearances this weekend. Check back here over the next several days for complete coverage of her University of Tennessee Knoxville degree ceremony (watch it live online here Friday at 9 a.m. Eastern), Pigeon Forge parade (also available live online, here, at 6 p.m. Friday) and her expected appearances at Dollywood on Saturday (those won't be live online, but coverage will be available here after-the-fact). Her busy schedule, including her scheduled meeting with TLC's Duggar family upon her arrival in town on Thursday, made Terry Morrow's column in The Knoxville News Sentinel here.

    May 6:
    Tonys Like Dolly, '9 To 5' Not So Much

    Dolly has the distinction of now being a Tony-nominated songwriter (see her video reaction to the news above or by clicking here), but her 9 To 5: The Musical was mostly snubbed by the committee overseeing the Tony Awards with just four nods. It was shut out for Best Musical by four shows that each received more nominations: Billy Elliot: The Musical with 15 (the most this year), Next To Normal with 11 (second-most), Shrek: The Musical with eight and Rock Of Ages with five. It failed to get nominations for directing, the script, scenery, costumes, lighting, sound design or orchestration. Dolly's competition for Best Original Score comes from Elton John and Lee Hall for Billy Elliot, Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey for Next To Normal and Jeanine Tesori and David Lindsay-Abaire for Shrek. She is the only nominee who wrote both the music and lyrics, as all of the other shows featured one lyricist a different musical composer. Allison Janney received a nod for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical (a category in which all three of the lead actresses were eligible), Mark Kudisch (selected by Playbill here as one of its leading men for May) was singled out for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical and Andy Blankenbuehler is up for Best Choreography. Janney faces Stockard Channing from Pal Joey, Sutton Foster from Shrek, Alice Ripley from Next to Normal and Josefina Scaglione from West Side Story. Kudisch faces David Bologna and Gregory Jbara from Billy Elliot, Christopher Sieber of Shrek and Will Swenson from Hair. Blankenbuehler's competition for choreography comes from Hair, Billy Elliot and Irving Berlin's White Christmas. In related news, Dolly's 9 To 5 film co-star Jane Fonda picked up a nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for 33 Variations. Winners will be announced live on CBS June 7 from Radio City Music Hall. The Los Angeles Times said here that the Best Musical snub was "somewhat surprising," adding that although Dolly got nominated for Best Score she's "fated to lose to" Elton John, but the critic still predicted major success at the box office for her musical, noting "Blockbusters with a theme-parkish hook have a way of financially prevailing, come critical rain or even Tony cloud cover." Other coverage on Tuesday came from Entertainment Tonight here, Variety here, Entertainment Weekly here, Reuters here and The Houston Chronicle here

    In Memoriam: Dom DeLuise
    Thoughts and prayers go to the friends and family of Dom DeLuise, the comedy actor who died Monday at the age of 75. He co-starred with Dolly and Burt Reynolds in their 1982 hit film The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas and had appeared with Dolly at a season opening for Dollywood a decade ago. Read his obituary here.

    May 5:
    Tony Noms Coming Tuesday

    I'm sure fingers, toes and other body parts are crossed in anticipation of Tuesday's Tony Award nomination announcement as folks wait to see if Dolly's 9 to 5: The Musical walks away with nods from those who honor Broadway's best. The Associated Press on Monday handicapped the upcoming noms, predicting here that Elton John's Billy Elliot "is a natural" for one of the four slots for Best Musical as is Next To Normal. Dolly's show would then have to fight with Shrek and Rock Of Ages for one of the other two slots. (This compares to The Los Angeles Times, which it has previously been reported expects all three movie-to-stage adaptations to get nominations with Next to Normal and [title of show] battling it out for the fourth spot.) Meanwhile, coverage of the show's opening last week continued to pour out of the media.
  • Reuters news wire released a video report viewable in the media player above or by clicking here.
  • Dolly gave an interview to USA Today posted here in which she said the transition to the stage was easy because "Most country songs, certainly all the stuff I've written, are stories, driven by characters."
  • The musical's official YouTube channel on Monday posted its first New York commercial (featuring Allison Janney introducing each of the main characters) here.
  • TheatreMania released a photo of Dolly and Jane Fonda from Friday's Drama Desk Awards' nominee reception here.
  • New York Magazine gave a lackluster review to the show here, saying other than the title number and "Backwoods Barbie" Dolly's music is "of the generic talk-singing variety that clutter so many contemporary musicals." While praising Allison Janney's performance, it says the other facets of the show are a bit boring, making watching it "drudgery."
  • CMT.com columnist Hazel Smith, who just adores Dolly, related here Monday comments that a couple of friends who loved the show told her.
  • Liz Smith raves about the show and how wonderful it is as she interviews Allison Janney here.
  • The premiere will also be covered on CMT's Insider news program this weekend, the network announced Monday. The show airs at 1:30 p.m. Saturday with an 11 a.m. Sunday repeat.

    '9 To 5' Shots Posted
    Special thanks to Diane, Ronald and Brandon for sharing their photos from last week in New York. They include shots from the red carpet arrivals at the show's premiere evening, curtain call, stage door greetings with the cast and even a few pictures from The View taping. Check them out in a new section of the site here. And if any other readers have images from their trips to catch the premiere, please send them here. Image at left courtesy Ronald Reynolds.

    Producer Wants To Sing 'Hello, Dolly'
    New York Post celebrities columnist Cindy Adams on Monday passed along a plea from Broadway producer James Nederlander (who owns the theatre in which 9 To 5 plays) seeking Dolly to take on the lead role on the classic musical Hello, Dolly. He wants her to do 10 weeks each in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles and is offering a huge sum of money, according to Adams. I wouldn't expect Dolly to take up the offer, though, as she has repeatedly stated that she has no interest in performing an engagement that long in any one location. Read more here.

    Catch Weekend's Parade Online
    If you can't make it out to Pigeon Forge on Friday to catch Dolly in her 24th annual parade through the city, you'll be able to watch at home, it was announced Monday. TheSmokies.TV, a new web channel dedicated to presenting the best of the Smoky Mountain region, will launch that day and its inaugural presentation will be live streaming coverage of the 6 p.m. parade, complete with an interview with Dolly herself. The network will be operated by S.D. Professionals, which has worked with Dolly on several projects in the past including website operation and graphic designs. And Dolly's weekend appearances in town get a nod from Terry Morrow's blog at the Knoxville News Sentinel here.

    Magazine Disses Dolly's Book
    Thanks to Tony for passing along that Publishers Weekly really didn't like Dolly's upcoming children's book I Am A Rainbow, coming out next week. The publication said here that Dolly's story is "both saccharine and puzzling" and that the "graphics only amplify the performer's bouncy tenor, which approaches a grating pitch."

    May 4:
    They're Still Talking Of '9 To 5'
    Coverage continued over the weekend for Dolly's 9 to 5: The Musical. Monsters And Critics posted a huge gallery of photos from Thursday night's opening here. A British critic taking in her first Broadway show wrote in Broadway World about it, giving mostly positive remarks and noting: "The score sounded like a Dolly Parton album, as you'd probably expect.  I've not yet made a decision as to whether I think that's necessarily a good or a bad thing for a musical.  But it's definitely a fun night out if you can catch it." Read more here. And The Toronto Star lamented: "With its bouncy country score – courtesy of Dolly Parton – a talented cast and a production so slick it looks like it was Zamboni-ed rather than directed, this show has 'can't miss' written all over it. So tell me why I didn't like it more." He noted that the audience loved it but all he felt "was mild amusement." He added that Dolly's music is "brightly pleasant" but the lyrics all sound like something she'd sing rather than the character for whom it's intended. In summary, he concluded here: "Broadway needs hits and 9 to 5 delivers. But while it doesn't set musical theatre back, it doesn't move it forward a single, solitary inch." If you're heading to New York, get tickets here!

    Aussie Chart Update
    The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, Vol. 1 slips two on the Australian country albums chart this week, it was revealed Sunday. The album comes in at No. 18.

    Dolly Talks Of Jessica
    Dolly is saddened that Jessica Simpson's country label has dropped her following lackluster sales of her debut album in the genre, she told US Magazine recently. Read her quote from The Insider here.

    'Light' Cover Coming
    An import CD and DVD of Austin choral group Conspirare will feature a Dolly cover. The collections, taken from their recent PBS concert special, include their version of her "Light Of A Clear Blue Morning" and will come out May 12. Reserve your copy of A Company of Voices: Conspirare in Concert on CD here and DVD here.

    More On The Duggars
    The Tennessean on Sunday noted the upcoming arrival of TV reality show family The Duggars from 18 Kids and Counting in Pigeon Forge and Dollywood for a slew of activities next week, including appearing in Friday's Dolly Parade. Check it out here.

    May 2:
    Latest From '9 To 5'
    Dolly attended the Drama Desk Awards' nominee reception on Friday, where everyone knew her 9 to 5: The Musical had a few days earlier set the all-time record for the most nominations ever from the critics organization, including two for Dolly herself for music and lyrics. Meanwhile, lots of coverage for the show continued. And thanks to Joshua for a handful of photos from opening night, including the one at left. See the rest here.

  • Did you see Dolly get bleeped on The View? In the episode that aired Friday, she discussed the song the cast performed on air, "Shine Like The Sun," and how the show's producers had her change a line for broadcast ("tits" is one of the words you're not allowed to say on morning television), so when she said it – twice – during the interview, she got bleeped. Watch the full episode from ABC.com here.
  • Los Angeles Times awards predictor Tom O'Neil said he still expects the show to get a Best Musical nomination from the Tonys on Tuesday alongside Billy Elliot and Shrek (both of which, he noted, opened to mixed reviews) with either Next to Normal or [title of show] taking the fourth slot. He also said she still might get nominated for Best Score but "faces stiff competition" from Elliot's Elton John and Shrek's Jeanine Tesori. Read more here.
  • Check out opening night red carpet coverage from Access Hollywood here and Entertainment Tonight here, A video report from ITN is here. Photos showed up on Broadway World here, People here and UPI here. There's even a fan-produced video from the red carpet and the post-show curtain call with Dolly and the cast here.
  • Get an official opening night program from Playbill here. The publication also offers a recap from the red carpet here.
  • Jane Fonda blogged Thursday night about the opening night on her website here but mysteriously commented "The whole '9 To 5: The Musical' is a complicated issue for me but I love the show, wish them well and feel certain it will be a smash." She didn't elaborate about why it is "complicated" for her.
    And the reviews kept coming Friday, among them:
  • North Jersey said here that the story is told in a "smug and shallow way" and that while Dolly contributes "a couple of songs from the heart," the remainder of her score "is of little help in making the characters individuals we can root for."
  • The Hartford Courant said here that while the show doesn't compare to My Fair Lady, it still "entertains well and gives the three leading women parts they should be playing for a long time."
  • The New York Post gave it three out of four stars here, saying that Allison Janney's lack of singing and dancing ability, Dolly's lack of Broadway experience and the film's datedness would be "lethal problems" but have been turned into assets for "this goofily entertaining show." The reviewer singled out Dolly's music, saying it "fits perfectly on Broadway" and that she is "the most convincing" of the mainstream artists who in recent years have tried their hand at Broadway composing.
  • The New York Daily News offered three out of five stars here, adding that Dolly's "bouncy, big-hearted songs" are what makes the show "fresh and original," and while "not every tune is a home run, and some lyrics are too plain-spoken. But enough of them stand out . . . and make the show shine." The reviewer did have problems, though, with the directing, story and choreography.
  • The Hollywood Reporter here conceded that it would "cause a division between critics looking for freshness and audience members all too eager for theatrical comfort food," noting that Dolly's songs are "eminently catchy and listenable. But few of them resonate strongly in theatrical terms." The critic also found problems with each actor.
  • The New York Times skewered the production here, saying it "piles on the flashy accessories like a prerecession hedge funder run amok at Barney's" department store. It finds the original film's jokes "clunky" and saved only by Dolly and Lily Tomlin's performances in the movie and doesn't like the humor's transition to stage. It notes that the director "overmilks and overmikes tuneful songs by" Dolly, although he claimed they didn't help the storyline much and were drowned out by overproduced orchestrations
  • Entertainment Weekly said it works "surprisingly well" as a musical and adds here that none of Dolly's songs will "be entering her greatest hits canon any time soon, but they advance the musical's plot well enough." Its critic offered a "B+."
  • The Wall Street Journal's reviewer here didn't like the show much, calling it "a Big Mac musical, a surprise-free entertainment machine based on a hit movie," but the reviewer didn't care for the original movie either, calling it a "forgettable film," so that likely tainted the review. The critic also criticized Dolly's songs as "slick and untheatrical."
  • Bloomberg News said here: "Folks yearning for an old-fashioned musical may finally get their wish . . . What exactly is an old-fashioned musical? A silly but amusing story with lots of jokes, catchy tunes, zesty lyrics and exuberant dancing on the way to a happy ending." It added, however, that Dolly "is not a Broadway composer-lyricist" and was only able to provide believable songs for Doralee.

    'Barbie' Gains, Loses Ground
    The music video for Dolly's "Backwoods Barbie" is moving up the Great American Country (GAC) chart, it was revealed Friday. The clip inches up one to No. 4 in its second week on the viewer-voted list. On competitor CMT, the video dips one to No. 20 in its fifth week. Vote for it on CMT here, CMT Pure Country here and GAC here. In related news, Amazon.com has begun offering an MP3 download of the CD for just $5 here. Thanks, Chad!

    Irish Update
    After showing back up for one week, The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, Vol. 1 falls back out of the top 100 Irish pop albums this week, it was announced Friday. The album dropped from No. 94 the previous week, its 79th.

    May 1:
    '9 To 5' Opens, Critics Open Mouths
    Dolly's long-anticipated opening night came Thursday for her 9 to 5: The Musical and the reviews coming in were mostly a mixed bag. Pretty much every critic found at least one major fault in the show, but most contradicted each other, cited the same thing as a real strength that the next critic called its greatest weakness. Most also concluded that overall it's a fun night at the theatre. A sampling:

  • USA Today gives the show two-and-a-half out of four stars here, saying it's goofy but fun, noting Dolly "has injected plenty of twang into the score. But there are also ballads that wouldn't be out of place in most contemporary, pop-influenced musicals and nods to Tin Pan Alley and '70s funk."
  • The Chicago Tribune complained here that it doesn't separate itself enough from the film and that Dolly's songs, while good and featuring gorgeous melodies, don't quite compare to her classic title track and offer lyrics too full of clichés. It also complains that the script short-changes the actors. It does, however, have amazing choreography, the critic noted.
  • AM New York disagreed, saying here that the choreography is "excessive and distracting." It also argued that the two-out-of-four-stars show has "faint hints of a crowd-pleaser" but is "tiresome" because Dolly's songs slow down the plot and Joe Mantello is an unimaginative director trying to copy his hit Wicked.
  • Variety here called it "an uneven cut-and-paste" from the movie because of the script but added "plenty of folks will nonetheless find this a nostalgic crowd pleaser." The magazine singled out Dolly's score as a high point, saying the songs in which "reveal the songwriter's authentic personality." However, the show features "clumsy story-building, overwhelming sets and unfocused direction" that made it less satisfying than it should be.
  • Talkin' Broadway said here that Dolly's songs each on their own are fine and will result in a great soundtrack, but on stage "they're undistinguished" and "generic." It also hated many of the changes in plot from the film and found that they lessened the struggles and significance of several characters. Even so, the critic found it to be better than most recent film-to-stage transfers.
  • The Canadian Press called it "a certified crowd pleaser" here saying while you won't mistake Dolly's score for the legendary Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim, "she has a simple, direct way with lyrics and a beguiling sense of melody." However, the critic felt that director Joe Mantello rushes the action too much. He says to enjoy it for Dolly's music and the superb actors.
  • NY1 said here that Dolly's music is "pretty darn good, if not exactly inspired" but hated the dated storyline, giving Mantello credit for speeding things up to successfully compensate for a weak script.
  • TheatreMania opines here it is "sturdy" but "unexceptional," noting Megan Hilty and Stephanie J. Block don't give it their all and Dolly's songs are "not particularly memorable" (with the exception of the title number, "Backwoods Barbie" and "Let Love Grow"). It singled out the direction and a stunning turn by Allison Janney as standouts that make the show good.
  • Backstage says here that the show is "unquestionably entertaining and likely to be pleasing Broadway audiences for some time" but says the "undistinguished" but "pleasant" score and implausable but comic script keep it from being a classic.
  • New York Newsday argues in a mostly positive review here that the show is "a female-empowerment theme-park musical" with Dolly offering "a shiny-colored and efficient score" of tunes that "are more than functional, with short, unpredictable phrase lengths and an apt mix of the plaintive and the shrewd."
  • Normally stuffy British paper The Guardian also gives a shinning review praising every part of the show here, including Dolly's music, noting that "Backwoods Barbie" alone is worth the ticket price.
    In related news, The Los Angeles Times promotes the show here with an interview with producer Bob Greenblatt, also noting that Mantello signed on to direct because he's a huge Dolly fan. Allison Janney spoke about the show to New Jersey's Star Ledger here, and Dolly's David Letterman appearance got lots of coverage, including People here (thanks, Maggie!) and some Getty Images pictures here (thanks, Scott!). And don't forget to catch the cast on The View Friday morning. The episode was taped Thursday (and host Barbara Walters attended the show's final preview performance Wednesday night, participating in the standing ovation at the end, I'm told), and an audience member informs me that Dolly spoke to the ladies first, followed by the cast performing "Shine Like The Sun" complete with all of their props, and then they joined Dolly to continue the interview. Cast photo by Craig Schwartz and courtesy Center Theater Group. Used with permission.

    'Barbie' Still Doing Well
    Dolly's Cracker Barrel sales train just keeps chugging along, with her re-issued Backwoods Barbie earning its fifth consecutive week in the top 20 country albums more than a year after its initial release. The collection slips two digits to No. 17 in its 39th week on the country albums tally, the May 9 Billboard numbers released Thursday revealed, while it drops 14 to No. 69 pop in its 14th week, 16 to No. 72 comprehensive for a 13th week and one to No. 5 independent labels for a 17th week. Chart performance indicates it's probably sold in excess of 50,000 copies since its re-release, which means if this level of sales can be sustained for another two weeks its total sales should be approaching the 200,000 mark. Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, with Dolly on "When I Get Where I'm Going," falls one to No. 9 country catalog and gains three to No. 24 Canadian country. Steve Martin's The Crow - New Songs for the 5-String Banjo, featuring a Dolly and Vince Gill duet, loses four to No. 7 bluegrass in its 11th week. Dolly's goddaughter, Miley Cyrus, debuts at No. 1 on the country charts with the soundtrack to Hannah Montana: The Movie selling 104,000 units in its fifth week – the magazine's editors decided five weeks after its pop debut to classify it as a country title – although the collection loses the top spot on the pop charts to dip one at No. 2. Rascal Flatts' Unstoppable slides down one to No. 2 country and No. 4 pop with 68,000 units moved in its third week.

    Dolly Promotes Show
    Check out the new Dolly greeting on the Dollywood website to promote its new musical, Sha-Kon-O-Hey! Land Of Blue Smoke, which opens in just over a week.

    Cover Girl
    I'm told Dolly graces the entire cover of the new issue of Country Weekly making its way to newsstands now. Thanks, Sheldon!