Casey Donovan is back in Brisbane again and ready to shine in the stage adaptation of the hit movie 9 to 5 at QPAC.
Arriving at the end of May the show will kick off a stellar season as Casey stars alongside Marina Prior and Caroline O’Connor.
Casey sat down to chat with Michael James about what we can expect from 9 to 5 the musical.
Casey Donovan is back on stage at QPAC
Can you believe it’s been almost twenty years since Casey Donovan won Australian Idol?
‘It’s ridiculous” she says.
“And I’m certainly feeling it in my bones and in my loins!”
“It’s been absolutely amazing to go through so many changes throughout the industry and to be back on stage after the two and a half years we’ve had.”
“I am beside myself and am absolutely enjoying playing Judy Bernly”
Like many performers, the last two years of lockdowns have taken their toll on her work and career.
“At the start of the pandemic I lost everything, gigs were all cancelled in a matter of hours” she recalls.
During the lock down Casey kept herself occupied as best she could.
Having just finished starring in Chicago she performed at Mardi Gras before her gigs dried up.
She went on to move from Sydney to Melbourne, trying to find a new balance with her work online.
“Zoom became the new stage, so it was absolutely amazing to still be able to do my work and keep my head above the water and still be able to be creative in many different ways.”However it wasn’t long before lockdowns and the pandemic kicked in that Casey had one of her biggest opportunities. The chance to compete at Eurovision: Australia Decides.
Despite securing the public vote once again, she was pipped at the post by Montaigne in the 2020 competition.
“It was absolutely beautiful and I’m very grateful and thankful for everyone that voted and supports me and my career.’
“It’s a beautiful thing to have a nation behind you. Going onto another reality show I had my reservations and questions. Should I be doing this? Is my time over?”
“I thought why not? I’ll give it a go and throw my hat into the ring.”
In the end it was not something she regretted as she tore up the stage with her powerful song Proud.
“Sharing the stage with Vanessa Amorosi and the other amazing artists was just absolutely beautiful.”
9 to 5 is coming to QPAC this May
It’s been 42 years since the 9 to 5 movie hit cinema screens and after all this time the hit film still resonates.
Clearly it a role that Casey Donovan loves playing as she gushes about the story the actors play out on stage.
“9 to 5 was a movie about three women in the workforce. My character Judy Bernly didn’t really know about the workforce, she’d never really had a job until her husband dick cheated on her with his secretary.”
“Her life of building a home and making a beautiful piece of paradise fell apart. So she went into the workforce and bumps into Marina Prior who’s playing the role of Violet Newstead who becomes Judy’s boss.”
“They all come together in the workplace and go through some trials and tribulations.”
The key point of the show that Casey hits home with is the fight for women’s rights.
“Back in the 80’s women could only be secretaries, there was nothing else they could aspire to be.”
“It was quite a moment in time and history”
“Of course there was the big 9 to 5 movement of women coming together and fighting for the rights of women, equal pay and to move up the ladder.”
“It was quite a moment in time and history were women started to rebel and say ‘no’ we’re not going to do that until we get some rights and regulations in place for women to be able to grow in the workplace.”
“The one thing they all had in common was the fact that being a woman was always second and degraded and being told you couldn’t achieve something.”
Through the characters played by Donovan, Prior and O’Connor they tell an uplifting and empowering story, that still resonates today.
“So through Doralees character and Violet and Judys you see this beautiful friendship form and three woman forging the way to get back on top.”
“And maybe capturing their boss and putting him in the back of Violets buick and holding him hostage in his own house” she laughs.
“It’s a great storyline, it’s a great musical and it’s one that still has a lot of questions to be answered about equal pay and women standing up and becoming the forefront.”
It wouldn’t be 9 to 5 without the music
“The 9 to 5 song is certainly peppered throughout the show” Casey describes.
“It’s not a jukebox musical. So all the music written in the show is written by Dolly Parton but it’s perfectly written for each character and storyline and certain things throughout the show.”
“I get to sing a very beautiful song called Get Out and Stay Out which is Judy finally reaching the pinnacle of her part in the arc. Which is her stepping into her power and finding her worth and not being used as a door mat anymore by her ex husband Dick.”
But Casey Donovan is also most excited about returning to Brisbane
“I absolutely love Brisbane and Brisbane audiences, you guys bring something new and beautiful. Your energy is radiant and we can certainly feel that on stage so I cannot wait to get to QPAC and embrace in the energy that is the QPAC and Brisbane audiences.”
9 t0 5 will play from the 22nd of May to the 19th of June in Brisbane and tickets are selling fast.
For tickets, head to 9to5themusical.com.au or phone 136 246
Watch our full interview with Casey Donovan below.