Interview: Erin Clare – Working 9 To 5 In Adelaide

“Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living”…and it certainly is for Erin Clare who is currently playing Doralee in Dolly Parton’s smash hit musical 9 to 5.

This sensational musical will be in Adelaide from October 8 at the Festival Theatre, featuring a star-studded cast including Erin Clare, Marina Prior, Caroline O’Connor, Casey Donovan and Eddie Perfect. It tells the story of Doralee, Violet and Judy, three enterprising workmates pushed to the edge by their mean-spirited boss Franklin Hart Jnr. Resorting to wit, comradery and cunning, they dream up a no holds barred scheme to kidnap and turn the tables on their controlling supervisor in the most hilariously defiant of ways. The only question is, will the feisty trio manage to change the office culture to reach their full potential – or will events unravel when the CEO pays an unexpected visit?

 With a sparkling score by Dolly Parton and a book by the iconic movie’s original screenwriter Patricia Resnick, 9 to 5 is the quintessential feel-good show for the times. Full of mischief, laughter and affection, it’s gold carat fun!

I was fortunate to have a brief catch up with Erin just prior to her heading on stage in Melbourne, where the show is currently playing.

Erin’s career so far has seen her feature in stage and TV productions both in Australia and overseas, including the original Australian productions of Heathers The Musical and American Psycho. With such an expansive resume, I was keen to find out where it all started for Erin.

“I was a very hyperactive child and certainly was an attention seeker. I have a very vivid memory of being given one line in a school play when I was five. I didn’t realise at the time that the line I had was a joke, and I remember the feeling of an audience laughing at whatever I had said. I didn’t get why they were laughing, but I remember that feeling and thought that I wanted to do that forever, be up on stage in lights and making people react to my performance. I have been very lucky that I have been able to do that for a career.”

Having worked in stage, TV, and solo music performance, is there a format that Erin prefers over the others?

“Honestly, it is a bit like a parent having to choose who their favourite child is. Deep down inside I’m sure parents do have their favourite, and for me it is stage. I love TV work, but you don’t get that tangible feeling you get when an audience is affected by you. I’ve worked in a lot of comedy stage shows and you get that instant feedback. There is something very high octane that I am obsessed with.”

How does Erin feel about performing in a show that has such a strong and empowering message?

“I think when I first heard the score, that was really exciting for me because it’s so diverse and so eclectic in its styles. I did think that because 9 to 5 is written by Dolly the whole show would be more country, but it has so many different elements to it, and it has big broadway numbers. Obviously, my character is based on the role Dolly played in the original film so I do have a lot of country undertones in my sound palette throughout the show. After the score, it’s also the story. I hadn’t seen the film before I read the script and the more I got to know the script and Doralee’s story and how the original story is based on stories that secretaries through the eighties had told it spoke hugely to me. Even though it is being staged in 2022, the issues back then towards women in the workplace are still happening today. It shows the overall relevance of the message.”

Erin is working alongside some of Australia’s most sensational women in the performing arts: Marina, Casey and Caroline. The cast also features the musical genius that is Eddie Perfect. It is such a strong cast. What’s it like working with such a great company?

“Honestly, they are all such veterans of the industry. I’ve worked with Casey before, but just seeing the way everyone works, and how they all work together it’s just amazing. It is such a supportive cast; they are all legends for different reasons. It is such a fun and supportive environment at work. I can’t tell you if I have more fun on stage or offstage with this show. I still pinch myself every time I see my name billed against Marina Prior and Caroline O’Conner. It’s like a dream come true.”

The ensemble for 9 to 5 has some Adelaidians in the cast, such as Lily Baulderstone, Matt Prime and Jordan Tomljenovic. It must be such a thrill to be able to perform a show to a hometown audience.

“It is such a different feeling performing in front of a hometown crowd. From a practical level, the audience is usually stacked with people you grew up with so there is so much energy from that. It is just exciting.”

Set the alarm for a great night out at Dolly Parton’s joyous smash-hit musical 9 to 5, featuring knock-out songs and high-flying ambitions. Ticket are on sale now through 9to5themusical.com.au . 

Interview by Ben Stefanoff

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