July 31: Night With Dolly Up For Auction Dolly's annual contribution this year to the Dr. Robert F. Thomas Foundation charity auction is a doozey almost certain to bring in a record donation! The Foundation, named after the country missionary doctor who delivered her in 1946, hosts its 20th annual Evening of Elegance fund-raiser at 6 p.m. Aug. 15 at Gatlinburg's Mills Auditorium to support health care in her native Sevier County, Tenn. (Tickets, $200 each, are available at 865-429-6715.) Dolly, the Foundation's honorary chairperson, donates a special item each year to help raise money at the event live auction. This year's gift is called 5 to 9. At a future evening, the auction winner and a guest will arrive at 5 p.m. at Dolly's Tennessee Mountain Home. The couple will be able to invite an additional 10 guests for a tour of the home that night, followed by a barbeque and bluegrass concert hosted by Dolly herself. The couple will then spend the night in Dolly's guest cottage next door and awake the next morning for a 9 a.m. breakfast prepared and served by Dolly. "I've always known it would take something very near and dear to my heart to invite folks into my sanctuary, my Tennessee Mountain Home," Dolly said in a statement. "I can't think of a better reason than to help continue the good work of Dr. Thomas by improving healthcare here in Sevier County. I can't wait to treat these folks to a 'Backwoods Barbie-Q!'"
Half-Hour CNN Intl. Profile Coming Aug. 19 Your webmaster can attest to seeing the CNN International crews shooting at just about every Dolly appearance thus far this year, and all of that footage is about to be condensed into a half-hour installment of the network's Revealed program. Although the channel's primary focus is outside of the U.S., many American cable and satellite systems also carry the network, so it will be viewable in many U.S. homes, too, with a premiere at 9:30 a.m. British Summer Time (4:30 a.m. Eastern U.S.) and multiple repeats over subsequent days (see TV listings at right). In addition, the entire episode will be available in streaming video online here shortly after the television broadcast.
The show includes interviews but also follows Dolly on tour, at photo shoots, to speeches, around Dollywood, during the Dolly Parade and at other performances. Special events captured include her honorary degree ceremony from the University of Tennessee Knoxville and announcement in Atlanta of Rotary International's partnership with her Imagination Library, about which she says during the show: "I am like an over exaggerated character, not just to kids but to other people. But with kids they get me. They like it, they feel they can come up to me like Mickey Mouse and be part of that."
Frequent duet partner Kenny Rogers is also interviewed, observing: "Dolly is liberating – she is so herself, she makes everyone else feel that they have the right to be themselves." Images courtesy CNN International. Click on them for larger views. Used with permission.
'9 To 5' Falls On Charts As expected, the cast album of Dolly's Tony-nominated score for 9 to 5: The Musical slips in its second week on the charts, the Aug. 8 numbers released Thursday by Billboard confirmed. The charts reflect the second week of the album's early release for digital download and for ordering from Dolly's record label website and the musical's official site, so I would expect the numbers to increase in next week's charts which will include the first regular retail sales after its release to stores this week. The CD drops eight points to No. 12 Cast Albums in its second week and falls out of the top 50 independent label albums chart after one week at No. 39. Steve Martin's The Crow - New Songs for the 5-String Banjo, featuring a Dolly appearance, remains steady at No. 1 bluegrass in its 23rd week. Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, which includes a Dolly duet, holds steady at No. 6 country catalog and loses three to No. 33 Canadian country. Taylor Swift's Fearless remains steady at No. 1 country and No. 9 pop in its 37th chart week with 37,000 copies sold while The Zac Brown Band's The Foundation gains two to No. 2 country and five to No. 11 pop in its 36th week.
See Dolly Concert In Okla. Yet another public television network has added the Dolly: Live in London 02 Arena concert special: Oklahoma Educational Television Authority, which will broadcast it at 9 p.m. Tuesday. Also, thanks to Tory for alerting me that Dolly's record label website, DollyPartonMusic.net, had posted an incorrect date for the Miami, Fla., airing which resulted in the wrong date being reported here. Leonard Cohen Live in London airs at the 8 p.m. Monday slot originally reported for Dolly, and Dolly's show will be at 8 p.m. Wednesday (with a 9 p.m. Aug. 8 repeat).
Mining Controversy Hits Dollywood Dolly always avoids any political activity, but she has been drawn into a political fight over mining. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) co-sponsored the Appalachia Restoration Act in Congress, a bi-partisan piece of legislation which would ban mountaintop removal strip mining. In retaliation, a group of West Virginia coal miners called for a boycott of Tennessee, specifically mentioning Dollywood, and one company cited recent cancellation of its company picnics to Dolly's theme park as part of the boycott (although, a park spokesman told The Knoxville News Sentinelhere that the picnics were cancelled for economic reasons prior to the boycott). Now environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council has entered the debate, with its Center for Advocacy Campaigns Director opining in a column here: "To attack Dolly Parton, and all she means to her millions of fans and the hard-working, patriotic values she embodies, is not just rude and selfish -- it's frankly unAmerican." He encourages tourists to not only visit Tennessee and Dollywood but to send their receipts to Sen. Alexander as a show of support.
Kellie Talks About Dolly Artist Teddy Wayne Smith was recently backstage at Kellie Pickler's concert in Charleston, W.V., and presented her with a charcoal drawing of her singing with Dolly at a recent concert. He reports that she said she hopes to get the drawing signed by Dolly and hang it in her Nashville home. Check out photos here and here.
July 30: Final '9 To 5' To Come Sept. 6 In disappointing news for Dolly fans planning trips to New York later in the fall and winter – and just one day after release of the Broadway cast album to retail stores – news came Wednesday that Dolly's 9 To 5: The Musical will play its last New York performance at the 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Sept. 6. The show will close after 24 previews and 148 regular performances before heading out on its previously-planned national tour next year, which will kick off Sept. 21, 2010, in Nashville's Tennessee Performing Arts Center.
"I couldn't have asked for a better experience on my first Broadway show," Dolly said in a statement. "I've had the privilege of working with an amazing group of people who have become like family to me. I can't wait for this show to hit the road so people across the country can see why I'm so proud of everyone involved. And I'm so pleased that we'll be opening the tour in Nashville. Great things happen in Nashville."
Rumors of the impending closure had apparently been making rounds in New York for weeks because of the show's lackluster ticket sales of late, but the first report confirming its closure around Labor Day (with unnamed sources) came from The New York Posthere at about 2:30 Wednesday morning (thanks, Mike), followed by Perez Hilton here about six hours later. By mid-morning, numerous other media outlets were citing the Post story, which reported that the show's producer had flown in from Los Angeles on Tuesday to break the news to the cast, and by early afternoon, the official statement had been released. The Post's writer opined that Dolly's songs were "professional" but just didn't capture "the zest" of the title track and said that the show's biggest problems were that the director and script writer "stuck too close to the movie, and so the show plodded along with no imagination and no surprises." He closed by telling Dolly she shouldn't give up on Broadway, noting that composer Elton John had his flop Lestat just a couple of years before his current hit Billy Elliot.
Assuming published estimates of the show's per week operating costs are correct, the $11 million it has grossed since previews began in New York is probably around the break-even mark. However, that means that the estimated $14 million investment by producers to get the show ready to open has basically been lost thus far with apparently no profits from the show being seen yet. It is expected that the national tour could help repay some of that money to the investors, but recouping all of it may be difficult.
Coverage of the announcement is available from The New York Timeshere, Playbillhere , Varietyhere and CMT.com here. The Tennessean reported here on the tour's upcoming Nashville kick-off, noting that it will run Sept. 21-26 next year and be prefaced by five weeks of rehearsals at the Music City theatre to get it ready for the tour.
In other news, the show's environmentally-friendly initiatives were profiled by NY1here Wednesday, and Broadway World noted its Twitter page in a story here.
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.
'Guiding' Cover Girl Thanks to Tabby for alerting me to a wonderful cover article written by Dolly for the August issue of Guideposts magazine out now. Titled "Lovin' God's Green Earth," the piece is meant to promote her role as international ambassador for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park 75th anniversary and focuses on her childhood memories of growing up in the Smokies. The entire story is available online here.
One More 'London' Airing Found If you're in the Boston, Mass., area, be sure to tune in to public television station WGBH at 7:30 p.m. next Wednesday, Aug. 5, to catch Dolly: Live In London 02 Arena, the latest station confirmed by Dollymania.net as showing the concert special.
Another Interview Posted Check out another cute little Dolly interview in Canadian magazine Macleanshere.
Library Problem In Va. Citing lack of funding in the current economy, another chapter of Dolly's Imagination Library has been forced to suspend book shipments, The Virginia Star reports here about the Scott County, Va., affiliate.
Finding Some Dolly Inspiration Former Dollywood employee Erica McGee looked to Dolly for inspiration for her new show, GRITS The Musical, about "Girls Raised In The South," The Charlotte Observer noted here.
July 29: 'Change It' Now Available Coinciding with the retail store release of the 9 To 5: The Musical cast album Tuesday (get yours here!), Dolly also on Tuesday released her vocal version of the score's track "Change It," complete with backing vocals by the show's cast and chorus members. Get the single from iTunes here. Thanks, Matt and Chad! In related news, cast member Stephanie J. Block had a Q&A in Broadway Worldhere this week, and the CD's retail release (after two weeks of being available on the official websites for Dolly's record label and for the musical as well as downloading from Amazon and iTunes and other digital outlets) made Broadway Worldhere and Playbillhere.
Chatting With CMT Dolly had a cute interview with CMT.com that the network's website posted here Tuesday.
Costner Discusses 'IWALY' Thanks to Scott for alerting me to a Kevin Costner appearance on Good Morning America where he discussed selecting Dolly's "I Will Always Love You" for Whitney Houston to sing in The Bodyguard. Read a story here.
July 28: '9 To 5' Bounces Up A Little Dolly's 9 to 5: The Musical rebounded very slightly last week on Broadway, the grosses for the week of July 21-26 released on Monday showed. Attendance, 8,987 audience members, was up 5 percent compared to the previous week, with the percentage of seats filled rising a tad to 70 percent, although that remained the second-lowest sale percentage for the week on the Great White Way. The overall gross, $694,650, was up 5 percent from the week before, as the per-ticket average rose 1 percent to $77.93. The show remained steady at No. 16 for biggest Broadway gross and rose two spots to No. 13 for audience size. Since opening for previews, the show has grossed $11.3 million and been seen by 165,420 people. And don't forget, if you haven't already ordered it or downloaded it in its two weeks of early digital release, the show's cast album CD hits stores on Tuesday!
Donate To Public TV, Get CD/DVD Thanks to Solomon for alerting me that if you want to get Dolly's live CD and DVD early, you'll have to make a donation to charity. Dolly has provided early copies of the two items from her London concerts to accompany the fund-raising version of her concert, which is airing in an abbreviated format on public television stations nationwide. Some stations have elected to offer the items as "premiums" that donors at various levels receive. For example, donations to Nashville Public Television, which will show the special Thursday night, will get viewers the CD at the $50 gift level, the DVD at the $75 gift level or a package (shown at left) that includes both plus Backwoods Barbie and the 9 To 5: The Musical Cast Album for the $150 gift level. (Make your donation here.) The live CD and DVD are both expected to land in regular stores in November. In related news, Dollymania has confirmed another showing of the concert: Noon Saturday on San Jose, Calif., station KTEH.
Preview Special Footage Speaking of donations, Smokies TV has posted a preview video for its Video On Demand product being offered next week online in exchange for gifts to the Imagination Library. Check out the promo here!
Hazel Announces Duet Title Dolly had revealed back in February that she and pal Kenny Rogers had recorded a new duet for his upcoming CD, and on Monday CMT.com columnist Hazel Smith announced here that the song's title will be "Tell Me That You Love Me." She reports that "the two of them sing like angels." No release date for Rogers' next album has been announced yet.
July 27: New Stations Add Concert Special Dolly's music label website, DollyPartonMusic.net, on Friday announced a handful of additional public television stations airing her Dolly Live In London 02 Arena concert special, an abbreviated version of the DVD and live CD coming out this November. In addition to the 8 p.m. Thursday showing on Nashville Public Television previously reported here, it will air at 4:30 p.m. Saturday on the Arkansas Educational Television Network with a 7 p.m. Sunday repeat, 8 p.m. Aug. 3 on New Hampshire Public Television and WPBT in Miami, Fla.; and 7 p.m. Aug. 5 (with 10:30 p.m. Aug. 5 and midnight Aug. 7 repeats) on KLVX in Las Vegas, Nev. Interestingly, the website's listings were missing two additional broadcasts confirmed and previously reported on Dollymania.net: Saturday on Colorado's Rocky Mountain PBS and Aug. 9 on Northern California Public Broadcasting.
'Very Best' Rises Down Under The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, Vol. 1, the 2007 Sony compilation CD released oversess, sees a big jump this week on the Australian country album charts, rising 10 to No. 6 in its 32nd chart week, just three points shy from its peak when it was originally released.
'9 To 5' Gets CD Review The cast album for Dolly's 9 to 5: The Musical, which hits regular retail stores on Tuesday after two weeks of availability online for downloading (as well as early release ordering from the show's website and Dolly's record label site), earned a mediocre review from The San Francisco Gate Sunday. The critic said here that the CD is "surprisingly lackluster" and that the arrangements and orchestrations "undermine Parton's semi-bawdy comedy and underline how uninspired most of the tunes are." The paper gave it an "alert viewer" icon, its equivalent of two-out-of-four stars.
Another AOL Interview Thanks to Robbie for alerting me to another Dolly interview with AOL's "The Boot" over the weekend here focusing on the musical, her children's book and more.
More On Next Week's Videos A press release came out over the weekend as well announcing the upcoming Aug. 2-8 streaming video on demand offerings from Dolly's recent KidsFest appearances to benefit the Imagination Library previously reported here. Read more here, and order your username and password for the screenings here!
July 24: '9 To 5' Early Release Makes Charts Based solely on digital sales (from Amazon and iTunes, among others) and Internet order shipments for its early release on the musical's website and Dolly's record label website, the cast recording of her Tony-nominated score for 9 to 5: The Musical debuts this week on the Aug. 1 Billboard charts released Thursday. The set comes in at No. 4 for Cast Albums of Broadway shows and No. 39 for independent label albums. I would expect it to dip next week when there are no pre-order shipments, and then jump back up – possibly to an even higher position – when the charts come out in two weeks reflecting the first sales of the CD after next Tuesday's release to retail stores. In other chart news, Dolly's Backwoods Barbie falls back off the 75-position country albums chart, down from No. 65 in its 50th chart week. It had a nice 14-week second life on the charts following its re-issue as a Cracker Barrel exclusive edition with bonus tracks. Steve Martin's The Crow - New Songs for the 5-String Banjo, with Dolly, remains steady at No. 1 bluegrass in its 22nd week on that chart. Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, with Dolly on "When I Get Where I'm Going," loses one to No. 6 country catalog and gains two to No. 30 Canadian country. Taylor Swift's Fearless rises one to reclaim the No. 1 country spot and No. 9 pop in its 36th chart week with 37,000 copies sold while Paisley's American Saturday Night dips one to No. 2 country in its third week and six spots to No. 12 pop.
'Idol'izing Dolly You just knew he was a closet Dolly fan, didn't you? American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert has revealed that the first song he sang to the preliminary judges (to whom you sing before being invited to go before the "star" judges from the TV show) in his audition for the program was Dolly's version of "Drives Me Crazy" from Backwoods Barbie, according to The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, Calif., here. Note: Although the original version of the story said it was Dolly's version of "Drives Me Crazy," a later edit changed it to Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy," so the first story must have been an error on the part of the reporter or an editor. Sorry for passing along incorrect information.
On A Highway Heading South Your webmaster is heading out of town for a few days, and I'm not sure how often I'll be able to update the site while I'm gone. So Thursday night's update was a little early, and I don't know whether there will be one Friday evening, so please excuse :)
Calif. Gets Dolly Special Another public broadcasting system has added the Dolly Live In London 02 Arena concert special to its listings. The program will premiere at noon Aug. 9 on KQED, Northern California Public Broadcasting, with repeats at 7 p.m. Aug. 9, 1 a.m. Aug. 10, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 12 and 1:30 a.m. Aug. 13. As was previously reported here, Maryland Public Television was the first to show the concert at the end of June, and it is scheduled for an 8 p.m. showing July 30 on Nashville Public Television and Aug. 1 on Colorado's Rocky Mountain PBS. Public television stations are purchasing an abbreviated version of the concert for televised broadcast, while a longer DVD and CD version are expected to hit stores in November.
Download '18 Kids' Appearance If you want to watch Dolly's appearance on TLC's 18 Kids And Counting this week again and again and again, you may download it from iTunes for about $2. Get it here!
July 22: KidsFest Footage Coming Online You've seen a couple of brief excerpts from the appearances in the Dollymania Video News Report from Dollywood's KidsFest opening here, but the Dollywood Foundation next month will make full-length footage available of the premiere of Dolly's Llama Llama Red Pajama musical at the park as well as her reading of her own children's book, I Am A Rainbow. Web company S.D. Professionals will make the Video On Demand available on its Smokies TV Internet channel Aug. 2-8 only. However, you must make a tax-deductible donation to Dolly's Imagination Library to obtain a username and password to see it. (And if the literacy program operates in your community, your local chapter will receive 10 percent of your donation.) The purchase levels, available here for ordering, are:
$5 Silver Level – One day's (24-hour) access to see the premiere of the live action musical version of Llama Llama Red Pajama with songs written by Dolly and featuring a guest appearance by Dolly herself welcoming the book's author to the stage and then returning to sing the finale at the end.
$15 Gold Level -- One day's (24-hour) access to the Llama Llama footage plus see Dolly read her book I Am A Rainbow to a group of children and sing her song of the same name.
Diva Dolly Wanted VH1 has announced the first guests for the return of its Divas concert series this September, and that prompted Entertainment Weekly to suggest here Tuesday that Dolly would be a great addition to the show. On the bill currently are Adele, Kelly Clarkson, Leona Lewis and Dolly's goddaughter, Miley Cyrus. Other names that the magazine suggested in addition to Dolly were Barbara Streisand, Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, Alison Krauss, Alicia Keys and Christina Aguilera.
Two More Chances For '18' If you missed TLC's 18 Kids And Counting with Dolly Tuesday night, the program repeats at 7 p.m. July 27 and 2 a.m. July 28. The Arkansas Democrat Gazette on Tuesday plugged the episode with a story here.
Just Chillin' New York Post gossip reporter Cindy Adams noted in her column here Tuesday that Dolly keeps her wigs refrigerated because she believes they look better colder.
'9 To 5' Singer Talks Again Former 9 to 5: The Musical cast member Ann Harada is profiled in another interview this week, this time in New York society magazine The Improperhere talking about her experience in the show as well as on Avenue Q.
July 21: '9 To 5' Loses Audience Unfortunately, Dolly's 9 to 5: The Musical continued last week to lose ground in New York, the grosses for the week of July 14-19 released on Monday revealed. Attendance, 8,624 audience members, was the smallest since previews began in April, dropping nearly 10 percent compared to the previous week, with the percentage of seats filled falling to 67 percent, Broadway's second-lowest sale percentage for the week. The overall gross, $662,361, was down nearly 5 percent from the week before, as the per-ticket average rose 5.5 percent to $76.80. The show lost one spot for the week to No. 16 for biggest Broadway gross and two places to No. 15 for audience size. Since opening for previews, the show has grossed $10.6 million and been seen by 156,433 people. In related news, Playbill magazine slammed the show's cast album, complaining that the musical's other songs pale in comparison to Dolly's title tune, resulting in the score having its "peak at the opening and then fall off a proverbial cliff." The critic further compared her work to the score of Mel Brooks with The Producers, saying that although some of her individual compositions in the show may be better songs than Brooks' numbers, they did not lift up the show as his did. Read more here. And thanks to Gerard for alerting me that the CD is also available for downloading from Amazon U.K. for £7 (roughly $11.50 U.S., or about the same price as iTunes in America).
TV Reminder Don't forget to tune in to TLC Tuesday night to see Dolly meet The Duggars on 18 Kids And Counting, the episode of which with her premieres at 9 p.m. Eastern. The Knoxville News Sentinel profiled the show here with details of her appearance.
The Hag Dishes About Dolly Merle Haggard talks of his Dolly crush and the song he wrote for her, "Always Wanting You," in an interview with Country Stars Central. Check out the piece here.
Library Notes Dolly's Imagination Library literacy project was profiled over the weekend in The Juneau Empire up in Alaska here and The Tennessean in Nashville here.
July 18: Thanks A Million, Make That Three Overnight Friday, Dollymania.net's front page welcomed it 3 millionth visitor since site visits started being counted in October 1998. It took six years to pass the first million, then nearly three years to reach the second million, and just over two years to hit the third. Thanks to everyone who keeps coming back for more from the Internet's oldest continually operating resource dedicated to Miss Dolly and the only constantly updated news resource about her available!
July 17: 'Barbie' Slips Again Dolly's Backwoods Barbie loses two more spots to reach No. 65 in its 50th chart week on the country albums tally, the July 25 Billboard totals revealed Thursday. Steve Martin's The Crow - New Songs for the 5-String Banjo, featuring Dolly, holds on at No. 1 bluegrass in its 21st week on that chart and falls off the top 200 pop list, down from No. 170 last week, its sixth. Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, featuring Dolly on "When I Get Where I'm Going," drops three to No. 5 country catalog and rises two to No. 32 Canadian country. His current release, American Saturday Night, gets a second week at No. 1 country and dips four to No. 6 pop with 44,000 units moved, while Taylor Swift's Fearless is steady at No. 2 country and gains three to No. 8 pop in its 35th chart week with 36,000 copies sold.
Dolly Thanks U.K. Fans
Dolly thanked her British fans this week in a video message posted to YouTube Thursday for buying up 300,000 copies of her compilation The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, Vol. 1 over the past two and a half years since its release, allowing the title to become her first-ever platinum album in the U.K. Watch the clip in the media player above or by clicking here.
More Places To Get '9 To 5' A couple more options for digital downloads of Dolly's 9 to 5: The Musical have been brought to my attention. The cheapest price I've seen, just $9, allows you to download the MP3 album from Amazon.com here. Thanks, Kevin! And if you visit Dolly's MySpace page here, you can download it from her Bandbox store for $12, the same price as on iTunes. In related news, I found several additional video clips from the CD performance and signing at Barnes & Noble from earlier this week added to YouTube. Watch them here, here and here.
Another Honor Bestowed Dolly was given the Daughters of the American Revolution Founders Medal for Education in honor of her Imagination Library literacy program at the annual DAR Congress in Washington a few days ago. While she couldn't be there in person, I understand she sent a videotaped acceptance speech. Learn more about the event here.
No Dolly And Patsy Connection Someone wrote into the Grand Ole Opry Q&A section this week asking if Dolly ever met Patsy Cline. The answerer was unaware of any Dolly-Patsy connection and doubted one would exist since Dolly moved to Nashville in May 1964, 14 months after Cline's death. Read it here. Thanks, Maggie!
July 16: Get '9 To 5' From iTunes Today Although it wasn't promoted as being released early on digitally, Dolly Records on Tuesday made the cast album of Dolly's 9 to 5: The Musical available for downloading on iTunes for $12 the same day it became available from her record label website for $24 and the musical's website for $33 (both prices including shipping). It won't be sold by other retailers until two weeks later, July 28, when most will also be selling it for the same discounted $12 price (that's the pre-order cost at Amazon.com, CD Universe and Barnes & Noble). If you want it early for the lower price, click here for it from iTunes! In related news:
iTunes this week also released a "digital 45" of Dolly's original 1980 version of the show's title song along with her previously unreleased cover of "Everyday People" that was included as a bonus track on the re-issue of her 9 To 5 & Odd Jobs. Get the "digital 45" version here.
Thanks to Joshua for alerting me to his YouTube video report on the cast's CD release performance at Barnes & Noble in New York on Tuesday (it includes a note that the store was selling the CD that day but they'd be going back in storage after the event until the July 28 release). Watch it here!
And Atlanta's WKHX radio was another one to get a Dolly interview about the show, posting a clip online here.
Dolly Loves Antiquing Dolly has a cute Q&A in the July/August issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine where she discusses the Smokies, traveling and Dollywood. Of note, when asked where she shops while traveling, she explained she loves truck stops and Cracker Barrels, adding she enjoys old antique stores as well, explaining: "I blow in there, fly into the room, and get something wonderful that says I've been there. I just love my junk stuff. Wigs are what people think of when they picture me. But what I really look for is what my Daddy would love." Read the full piece here.
He Should Have Chosen A Butterfly Paul Giamatti is in a new film where his soul is represented by a chickpea, so he volunteered to The New Yorker magazine whose souls he'd like to test out for a day, including Willie Nelson's (which he thought would be represented by an ear of corn) and Dolly's: "her soul would be light and airy, like a hummingbird." See what he said about some other folks' souls here.
July 15: '9 To 5' Cast Sings, Signs Thanks to Mike for reporting from New York's Liberty Triangle Barnes & Noble, where Megan Hilty, Alison Janney, Stephanie J. Block and Mark Kudisch appeared Tuesday to promote the cast album of Dolly's 9 to 5: The Musical. (After once again disappearing from the store's online calendar of events on Monday, it re-appeared again Tuesday morning.) I'm told it was a standing room only crowd where Hilty performed "Backwoods Barbie," Kudisch "Here For You" ad the three ladies "I Just Might." They stayed after the mini-concert to sign CDs that were sold at the store. I understand that Dolly's radio campaign to promote the CD (as well as her children's book, I Am A Rainbow) has begun with interviews including Baton Rouge's WYNK Tuesday morning and Jacksonville's Gator Country 99.9 on Monday. Thanks, April and Sharon!
Kentucky Mayor Claims Dolly's Coming Could Kenny & Dolly be planning a reunion in Kentucky? Lexington TV station WLKY reported here in a piece on a new luxury hotel that opened in the nearby town of Versailles that a concert promoter has booked the pair plus George Strait to headline a major country music festival on the hotel grounds if the owner agrees to allow it to take place on his property. No dates or other details were revealed.
See Mambazo Video Thanks to Tony for alerting me that he stumbled upon a music video for Dolly's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" collaboration with South African group Ladysmith Black Mambazo which is available on YouTube here. Apparently the video, which intersperses footage of Dolly listening to a playback of the song in the studio with shots of a choreographed performance of the background parts by the group, was only released overseas. The song, which featured Bonnie Raitt on slide guitar, was included on the group's 1997 CD Heavenly (they had appeared on her cover of "Peace Train" on her Treasures album the year before).
Critic Loves Dolly Show The Huffington Post says Dolly's disc is the reason to buy the new three-DVD collection The Queens Of Country featuring an hour of Loretta Lynn, an hour of Patsy Cline and an hour from Dolly's 1976-1977 variety series. Check it out here.
Cookin' For Dolly Blog The Examiner on Tuesday caught up with this week's The Next Food Network Star cast-off, Michael Proietti, and quizzed him including what he would serve Dolly for dinner, given he is a major fan. Check out what he said here.
Honoring Dolly In Verse Earlier this week, your webmaster was honored to be chosen to participate as a special guest judge in an online poetry contest called "Project Verse." Contestants were asked to compose a poem in honor of Dolly including some lyrics from two of her songs, and I was asked to judge each on its "Dollyness" and merit as a tribute to her. Check out the entries and my comments, as well as those of the other judges, here.
July 14: '9 To 5' Gross Up, Audience Down Dolly's 9 to 5: The Musical picked up slightly last week in income even though the audience continued to fall, the grosses for the week of July 7-12 showed on Monday. Attendance, 9,537 audience members, was down just over 1 percent compared to the previous week, with the percentage of seats filled falling to 74 percent. The overall gross, $694,270, was up 3 percent from the week before because the per-ticket average increased 4 percent to $72.80. The show remained steady for the week at No. 15 for biggest Broadway gross and No. 13 for audience size. Since opening for previews, the show has grossed just under $10 million and been seen by 147,809 people. And fans are wondering if they show up at 4 p.m. Tuesday at New York's Liberty Triangle Barnes & Noble will the show's cast be there to entertain them? The planned performance and cast album signing was removed from the store's website last week suggesting it was off, then returned to the site indicating it was still on, but as of Monday was once again removed from the store's schedule posted online.
Dolly On CMT A Dolly interview has been added to next weekend's installment of CMT Insider, the cable network announced Monday. Dolly sits down with Allison DeMarcus to discuss her current children's book, I Am A Rainbow, as well as the passing of Michael Jackson. Catch the show at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Saturday with an 11 a.m. Sunday repeat.
July 13: Latest News From '9 To 5' 9 to 5: The Musical star Stephanie J. Block was interviewed over the weekend in The Wall Street Journalhere about her new CD, This Place I Know, which includes Dolly on "I Will Always Love You." About the song, she noted: "The lyrics really are heart breaking. When you listen to the Whitney version, it's all about the vocal tricks and sounds very produced. I mean, Whitney can do amazing things, but I wanted to focus on the lyrics." She'll perform tracks from the album at Birdland in New York Monday night. In related news, The Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota profiled local native Jeremy Davis, who plays Bob Enright in the show, a character referenced in the movie but never seen onscreen. Read about him here. Finally, St. Paul, Minn., paper The Pioneer Press on Sunday gave its opinion on the show, noting Dolly's "spirit drifts through in the pop-friendly, steel-guitar-infused score" but concludes while "enjoyable" it's also "innocuous and bland." The reviewer predicts here that the show's make-up "guarantees some B-grade star will attach herself to this show and ride it on the road" in a national tour.
Another 'Porter' U.K. Note Thanks to Amanda for alerting me that the weekly airing of The Porter Wagoner Show, often featuring Dolly, on the Rural TV in Great Britain is 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. Tuesdays, not just 11 p.m. as was previously noted here.
July 11: What A Long, Strange Trip
The British segment of Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program has released a video on YouTube documenting the long journey that her books took recently to be delivered to the most remote inhabited place on the planet, Tristan da Cunha, a British territory in the middle of the lower Atlantic Ocean. Watch the clip (accompanied by Dolly's Imagination Playhouse tune "I Believe In You") in the media player above or by clicking here.
More From Across The Atlantic It's quite a British-themed update tonight with three more stories from across the pond:
Dolly's most recent Dollywood visit earned a quite lengthy and comprehensive look from U.K. publication The Financial Timeshere, which concluded: "Liberal or conservative, gay or straight, Parton's fans are moved by her tale of poverty and survival. As visitors stand in line in the punishing southern heat to peer into Dollywood's replica of the tiny cabin in which she spent her dirt-poor childhood, it feels almost as if they are communing with the American dream." (Even your webmaster, who was at the park that weekend covering Dolly's appearances, was interviewed for the piece and managed to get a quote in the finished article.)
Thanks to Rachel for alerting me that re-runs of The Porter Wagoner Show featuring Dolly have been added to the line-up of Rural TV in the U.K. The program airs at 11 p.m. Tuesdays and is located at channel 279 on Sky TV.
A survey by British company One Poll identified Dolly as No. 20 on the list of the heroines most revered by the nation's lesbians, according to The Telegraphhere. No. 1 was Angelina Jolie, followed by Madonna, Pink, Martina Navratilova and Ellen DeGeneres.
Next Week's '9 To 5' Event Still Planned Thanks to Matt for alerting me that the 9 to 5: The Musical cast CD performance at New York's Lincoln Triangle Barnes & Noble store at 4:30 p.m. next Tuesday is still on. It was noted here Thursday night that the event had been removed from the store's website, suggesting it may have been cancelled or moved. The deletion was apparently accidental, as by Friday afternoon the item returned to the store's online calendar listing and the details also returned to the formerly blank page for the event here.
July 10: Dolly: '9 To 5' Tune To Be Her Single
Dolly released another video diary on Thursday, this time celebrating the upcoming release of the cast album for her 9 to 5: The Musical and announcing she has recorded her own version of one of the show's songs, "Change It," which will be released as a single and available for purchase from iTunes and the online store at her official record label website DollyPartonMusic.net. She also noted that in addition to its availability at the Marquis Theatre and its early release on her website July 14, the album will also be available early in "select" Barnes & Noble stores prior to its July 28 release to other retailers. (Playbill had reported that the cast was scheduled to appear next Tuesday at the chain's Lincoln Triangle store to sign the album and perform selections from it, but that event has since been removed from the store website, so it may no longer be scheduled.) Watch the video in the player above or by clicking here. In related news, check out a great interview with cast member Stephanie J. Block from Theatre Development Fundhere (thanks, Mike!), and reserve your copy of the cast CD from Amazon.com here for less than half what you'd pay ordering it from Dolly's site or the musical's website.
'Barbie' Slips Again Dolly's Backwoods Barbie drops two more places to No. 63 in its 49th week on the country albums chart this week, the Billboard July 18 numbers released Thursday showed. Up north, The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, Vol. 1 falls back off of the top 50 Canadian country albums list, down from No. 50 last week. Steve Martin's The Crow - New Songs for the 5-String Banjo, with his Dolly guest appearance, remains steady at No. 1 bluegrass in its 20th week and rises 15 to No. 170 pop in its sixth week there. Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, with the Dolly duet "When I Get Where I'm Going," gains one to No. 2 country catalog and loses five to No. 34 Canadian country. Paisley's latest, American Saturday Night, debuts at No. 1 country and No. 2 pop, while Taylor Swift's Fearless is steady at No. 2 country and No. 11 pop in its 34th chart week.
Hooray For Dollywood! A writer for The Chicago Tribune on Thursday proclaimed the area around Dollywood the best "place to spend quality time with the kids" and declared that Dolly's is one of the best theme parks in the world. Read the travel story here.
July 9: Dolly, Duggars Meet On TV July 21 TLC has released a little more information about the upcoming two-episode vacation show that the Duggar Family took to Pigeon Forge, Tenn. The first episode, "Duggars In Dixie," airing at 9 p.m. July 14 with an 11 p.m. repeat, will feature their experience at Dolly's Dixie Stampede dinner theatre. The second episode, "Duggars Meet Dolly," airing at 9 p.m. July 21 with an 11 p.m. repeat, will include their actual meeting with Dolly herself.
Reader: '9 To 5' CD At Theatre According to a reader of the site in New York City, the Marquis Theatre has already had its copies of the 9 to 5: The Musical cast album in stock for several days selling it to those attending the show, so if you're in the area you might want to check out the gift shop to snag a copy before it is available elsewhere. Thanks, Matt!
Her Excellency, The 'Gay Pope' Couple of LGBT references to Dolly were found online on Wednesday: First, lesbian host of new Logo talk show Brunch With Bridget Bridget McManus noted in an interview with Planet Out that her wife wants to take her to Dollywood, adding here: "In the gay community, seeing Dolly Parton is like seeing the Pope." And The Advocate reviewed Sandra Bernhard's one-night appearance Without You I'm Nothing: The 20th Anniversary Show in New York as part of a month-long gay pride series of performances here, noting that she performed "Jolie," taking Dolly's "Jolene" and changing the lyrics to represent Angelina Jolie. (The reviewer added that New York drag queen Hedda Lettuce has been performing the same version of the song for years.)
July 8: Dolly: Thanks For Going No. 1 Down Under
Dolly on Tuesday issued her next video blog, this time thanking her fans in Australia for her music video for "Backwoods Barbie" going to the top of the weekly video countdown on their country music cable channel, CMC. Watch it in the media player above or by clicking here.
'9 To 5' Gross Drops Again The holiday week was not kind to Dolly's 9 to 5: The Musical. The show continued to decline in the grosses for the week of June 29-July 5 that came out this week. Attendance, 9,671 audience members, was down more than 2 percent compared to the previous week, with the percentage of seats filled falling to 75 percent. The overall gross, $675,135, was 14 percent lower than the week before because the per-ticket average also fell, down more than 11 percent to $69.81. The show remained steady for the week at No. 15 for biggest Broadway gross but dipped one to No. 13 for audience size. Since opening for previews, the show has grossed $9.2 million and been seen by 138,272 people. In related news, Broadway publication Playbill on Tuesday reported in its online edition what had been confirmed on Dollymania two weeks ago: that the in-store release date for the cast recording album has been delayed two weeks to July 28. The piece, available here, also confirms what was noted here as suspected at the time, that those who pay the premium price (which once postage is included is about twice the price that most stores will charge for it) to order it from the show's website here or Dolly's official record label website, DollyPartonMusic.net, should receive it closer to the original July 14 release date. It also noted that the CD should be available in the Marquis Theatre in New York sometime prior to the July 28 regular release date as well. Reserve your copy at the lower in-store price from Amazon.com here.
Duggars Get Air Date The Duggar Family's Pigeon Forge adventure will garner two episodes of their TLC series 18 Kids And Counting airing this month, it has been announced. In a press release here, it was noted that the episodes will air at 9 p.m. Eastern July 14 and 21, followed by 1 a.m. repeats. During their trip, they participated in Dolly's annual parade through town and met Dolly herself, although it hasn't been revealed on which of the two nights their meeting with Dolly will air.
July 7: A Long Way From Pigeon Forge Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program recently saw its first book delivery to the most remote inhabited place on the planet, according to Britain's Royal Mail. The 13 children under the age of 5 who live on the island Tristan da Cunha, a British territory in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean about halfway between South America and South Africa, are the program's newest additions. To get there, the books take a 6,000-mile flight to South Africa, followed by a week-long fishing boat trip to the island. Read more about the books' journey in a press release here.
Hating Puppies, Sunshine, and Dolly Popmatters posted a great profile of Dolly here on Monday, complete with the observation: "Seriously, who could hate Dolly Parton? Someone who probably hates puppies and sunshine, too."
The Hills Are Alive, What A Way To Make A Livin' I understand that the British singing competition How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria, which airs on BBC America seeking the next Maria von Trapp for The Sound of Music, featured a contestant this week performing Dolly's "9 To 5." Thanks!
July 6: Latest Library Developments Noted Several chapters of Dolly's Imagination Library international literacy program were in the news over the past few days. Two new affiliates are coming to Indiana: Floyd County and Parke County, according to reports in Jeffersonville's Evening News and Tribunehere and The Terre Haute Tribune Starhere, respectively. Up in Alaska, expansion into the Kenai Peninsula area garnered coverage in The Peninsula Clarionhere, while down in Mississippi, a Rotary Club donation to the Petal chapter was noted in The Hattiesburg Americanhere.
Playing In The Sand The sandscape sculptors at Dollywood's KidsFest were profiled in The Knoxville News Sentinel over the weekend. Learn more here.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA!
In The Background At '9 To 5' A couple of the minor players in Dolly's 9 to 5: The Musical got the spotlight on Friday. Broadway World interviewed here chorus member Brandi Wooten, who has subbed for Mrs. Hart in the Broadway show. And Playbill chatted here with chorus member Ann Harada, who was Allison Janney's understudy but recently left the show to return to Avenue Q, a musical she had performed in previously.
July 3: 'Barbie' Falls Again Dolly's Backwoods Barbie continues its descent on the country albums tally this week, the Billboard July 11 charts released Thursday showed. The album loses another four spots to No. 61 in its 48th week on the chart. Up north, The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, Vol. 1 re-enters the top 50 Canadian country albums list this week at No. 50. Back in the States, Steve Martin's The Crow - New Songs for the 5-String Banjo, featuring a Dolly collaboration, remains steady at No. 1 bluegrass in its 19th week and drops 57 to No. 185 pop in its fifth week there. It drops off the 200-position comprehensive albums list, down from No. 147 in its fourth week, and off the 25-position Internet albums chart, down from No. 12 in its 10th week there. Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, featuring Dolly on "When I Get Where I'm Going," inches up one to No. 3 country catalog and two to No. 29 Canadian country. Miley Cyrus retains the No. 1 country position in her 10th week on that chart and falls two to No. 10 pop in her 14th week for her Hannah Montana: The Movie soundtrack, while Taylor Swift's Fearless is steady at No. 2 country and slides one to No. 11 pop in its 33rd chart week.
Tenn., Colo. Get London Special More public television networks are adding Dolly's Live In London O2 Arena special abbreviated telecast from footage in her upcoming concert DVD and CD. Dollymania.net has confirmed it is scheduled to air at 8 p.m. July 30 on Nashville Public Television in Tennessee and 8 p.m. Aug. 1 on Colorado's statewide Rocky Mountain PBS network. Both networks are using the 90-minute version, which will have breaks built in for local representatives to solicit contribution pledges, as opposed to the 60-minute version, without any "give us money" pleas, that aired on Maryland Public Television earlier this week.
July 2: DVD Coming In November The long-awaited live DVD and CD Dolly Live In London will be released by Dolly Records in November, according to a press release issued this week by Dolly's Los Angeles-based public relations firm. Previously, the upcoming collection was just known as coming out "in fall 2009," which itself was a delay from its earlier-planned summer 2009 shelf date. The specific date in November has yet to be announced. The release touted the upcoming concert release as well as the recent platinum award status for her 2007 compilation CD The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, Vol. 1 and resulted Wednesday in a handful of mentions on various music news-related websites. As was previously reported, the concert footage will include 15 of the approximately 20 songs Dolly performed in each of her two sold out 2008 London concerts plus an hour of backstage shots. And as Dollymania.net has been the only one to report, an abbreviated one-hour version of the film is currently being shown on some public television stations in the U.S. (check your local listings to learn if it is being shown near you).
'9 To 5' At Dollywood? The ladies of Dolly's 9 to 5: The Musical want to visit her theme park, star Megan Hilty confided recently to Knoxville News Sentinel columnist Terry Morrow, who recounted here Wednesday the cast's wish to visit Dollywood.
July 1: Dolly Remembers MJ
Dolly has added her voice to the chorus of remembrances of music icon Michael Jackson. The two had known each other for years, having shared the same manager, Sandy Gallin, for a couple of decades, which resulted in them often moving in the same circles of the entertainment industry. In a video Dolly released Tuesday (viewable in the media player above or by clicking here), she recalled him not only as a musical genius but also a "sweet, sweet soul" with "the heart of an angel." She encourages everyone to take his passing as a reminder to appreciate those around us and tell those we love that we love them.
'9 To 5' Dips A Bit More Box office totals for Dolly's 9 to 5: The Musical continued to slip a little in the grosses for the week of June 23-28 that came out this week. Attendance, 9,929 audience members, was up less than half a percent compared to the previous week, with the percentage of seats filled remaining steady at 77 percent. The overall gross, $783,435, was 2 percent lower than the week before because the per-ticket average price fell 2 percent to $78.90. The show remained steady for the week at No. 15 for biggest Broadway gross and No. 12 for audience size. Since opening for previews, the show has grossed $8.6 million and been seen by 128,601 people.
'Dolly In London' Via Maryland You may recall the news being broken on Dollymania.net a week and a half ago that Dolly's upcoming Live in London DVD had been made available to public television stations for broadcast starting this week. Thanks to Aaron and Jen for alerting me that Maryland Public Television on Tuesday night apparently became the first network in the nation to show the concert on its stations. Check your local public television listings to see if it is airing in your area.
I'm told the televised version featured 10 songs (as opposed to the 15 that are expected on the DVD and BluRay versions in the fall) and some backstage footage (as opposed to the one hour of backstage footage planned for the DVD and BluRay versions). The songs on the show were:
Two Doors Down
Coat of Many Colors
Here You Come Again
9 to 5
I Will Always Love You
Jesus & Gravity
Memphis Library Gets Large Grant Volunteer State Health Plan, one of Tennessee's programs that provides state-subsidized insurance for the uninsured, has made one of the largest grants ever for Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program, committing $900,000 over a three-year period for the Memphis-area chapter of the project. Learn more from The Commercial Appealhere.