By Adam Pack
Former Lewisburg City Council member and Associate Artistic Director at Greenbrier Valley Theater (GVT), Kim Morgan-Dean, will be working a hard shift in her newest role as she takes on Dolly Parton’s role in the stage adaptation of the classic film “9 to 5,” at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, VA.
The production, 9 to 5: A Musical, features all the big moments and plot of the film that so many have come to love, along with an expanded score. While all the original music from the film was written by Parton herself, the Broadway production also features brand new music written by the country music star.
Moving from New York to Lewisburg in 2014, Dean said, “I almost immediately fell in love with Greenbrier Valley Theater, with Lewisburg, and the area and just all that comes with it.”
After serving on the City Council and doing four full seasons with the GVT, she accepted a fulltime acting position at the Barter Theatre. Dean said that The Barter offered her an expanded opportunity to develop her craft.
“The Barter has a full time troupe, and has four showing per day, a matinee and three showings, and that allows us to do everything from Richard III, to Musicals, to Comedies, and just really creates a great deal of diversity of production that I can get involved in now.”
Most recently, Dean relishes the opportunity to portray who she calls, “such a cultural icon.” Adding, “It’s such a privilege to play Dolly Parton, she’s such a dominant part of the culture in the area, being so close to Sevierville and Gatlinburg and being such a legend of country music. But, I’ve always loved and admired her song-writing and her talent.”
That respect also contributed to the difficulty of this role. “People in this region are so familiar with her and love her so much, so it’s been a very invigorating challenge to try and study her and learn her and pay homage to her without doing just a bad impression of her.”
Dean also gives credit to the backstage staff at the Barter. “Perhaps no one looks less like Dolly than me, but we have such a great makeup and wardrobe department here at the Barter and they’ve really pulled it off brilliantly.”
“9 to 5, The Musical” premieres June 3 and continues through Aug. 21 at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, VA. For more information call 276-626-3991 or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Barter Theatre:
The Barter Theatre, the oldest continuously used stage theater in the United States, was opened in 1933 as a response by Appalachian transplant and Broadway actor Robert Porterfield. Porterfield saw the economic hardship around him in New York and knew that things were even worse in his home among the south western Virginia hills. He moved home to give access to arts and theater to his hometown. However, circumstances being as they were in The Great Depression, the theater accepted the foodstuffs and goods from local farms as payment. Their first tagline read, “Ham for Hamlet,” after all. This payment proved successful, and the theater has been known as the Barter as a result ever since.