What a way to make a living: Nearly 30 years after 9 to 5 rocketed the world, a new, sing-through  version of the 1980 film is headed to the Broadway stage. The story, about three office workers plotting to overthrow a misgynist boss, will be the same, producers said this week. The music,of course, is gonna be a little bit country:

“9 to 5” is based on “a nonmusical film that has an amazing piece of
music associated with it. It didn’t make a lot of sense to get another
composer,” said producer Robert Greenblatt, who with book writer
Patricia Resnick — who wrote the movie’s screenplay — persuaded Parton
to work on the theater adaptation.

Resnick added: “People sometimes ask me how Nine to Five is still
relevant – in spite of the fact that when I first did it, the words
‘sexual harassment’ were not in the lexicon – that phrase didn’t exist. “I think a lot of things haven’t changed as much as one would have hoped.”…

“When they asked me if I would write the music, I said I would try,”
said Parton, who will have about 20 new songs in the show. “I don’t
know that much about Broadway. It’s a little bit out of my league. So I
went home and I prayed about it. … (Then) I got into it and I really
acted out all the parts. I was glad I was by myself a lot.”

We’re thrilled about the return of the 1980 comedy, whose office politics still ring true for many. But even more thrilling to Newsmix is that  Lily Tomlin’s role in the film will be played by 49-year-old Allison Janney, most recently seen as the stepmother in Juno. Janney’s most famous role, C. J. Cregg in TV’s The West Wing, was a
seamless mix of  intellectual power, volcanic sex appeal and goofy

Sitting down with the Guardian U.K. last year, she said that acting itself has sometimes felt like a second career:

In one of her lowest periods, long
before The West Wing, she took a load of aptitude tests at an institute
in New York, to see what else she could do besides acting. “This woman
sat me down and, well, at the time I thought she was so impressed with
all the things I could do, and now I’m thinking I probably failed every
one and this poor woman was trying to figure out what she could tell
me. She told me that I’d make an excellent systems analyst.” Janney
leaves an artful pause. “I don’t even really know what that is. I think
it’s someone who goes into a company if it’s not working and makes it
run smoothly again. But when I heard that I thought, ‘You know what?
I’m gonna stick with this acting thing.’ “

These days, she thinks
it might help if she strategised about her career a bit more. “I was
really impressed by Lily Tomlin, who wrote Aaron Sorkin a letter and
said, ‘I really love your show and I want to be on it’, and he wrote
her a part.”

We don’t yet know if during her year on the West Wing, the sixtysomething Tomlin gave Janney a little career coaching, though her career has certainly been nonstop since.  Talking to The Guardian, Janney was also frank about some of the hazards of being 49 even if you’re a star, flirting a touch with the reporter in the process:

For the first time in her life, Janney is single. “I was in an
eight-year relationship, a 10-year relationship and then a four-year
relationship that ended last year.” This was with the actor, Richard
Jenik. “And now I’m single and don’t see how I’m ever going to be able
to date anybody, because…” she tapers off, in despair. “Because it’s
Hollywood and I’m a woman over 40 and it seems impossible. I think I’m
done. That’s the way I feel. I’m kind of depressed about that. A little

Well maybe a nice Guardian reader will write in and woo her.

She looks delighted. “Well maybe that would be nice. I would like to
find somebody who was my age, or a little older; and who has a good
relationship to the world, meaning, you know, financially independent.
Someone who loves animals and they could have kids or not, doesn’t
matter.” She smiles. “Someone who will just adore me and appreciate me
and buy me some diamonds.”

In honor of Janney’s upcoming Broadway stardom, singing Parton’s songs, we offer not one but two clips. First, a trailer for the original 9 to 5:

And Janney as C.J.,  a reminder that she’s the perfect successor to Tomlin.

This time, please take notes; Our first response to this week’s Times piece on women in science and Title IX was a bit of weariness. Haven’t we been probing these issues, about possible glass ceilings for women in the physical sciences, kind of forever? How many policy papers, like last year’s. need to be issued before institutions look closely at structural issues and personnel practices, and actually make changes? We decided to leave it to the women duking it out at John Tierney’s TierneyLab, until we heard from Female Science Professor, who vividly painted the picture of what marks many careers for decades, and keeps others out of the field:

For tomorrow’s post, I was planning on writing about how much — and in
what circumstances — faculty use their own money to pay for research
expenses. The majority of my posts are about basic Science Professor

I write about life as a Science Professor, but my
experience is profoundly affected by the fact that I am a woman. I am
never just a Science Professor, as I am constantly made aware that I am
a Female Science Professor
(hence the name of this blog). Throughout my academic career, I have
had negative experiences directly related to being female, and I know
from discussions with female colleagues that I am by no means alone in
these experiences.

academic culture is set up in a way that makes it difficult (but not
impossible) for women to have families and a successful career;
academia is not alone in this, of course. Nevertheless, despite endless
studies of why women drop out of science, the culture of bias and the
family-unfriendly organization of the typical university make it
unlikely that the situation will improve any time soon.

The question of ‘female choice’ — as in, do women choose
not to be scientists — is not a relevant question; it is a diversion
based on flawed data. Those of us who teach at universities have long
had significant numbers of women in our undergraduate and graduate
science classes. Many of these women are passionate about science, and
they are very smart. It is bizarre to ask a question about whether
women decline to pursue scientific careers because they aren’t
interested or whether they drop out because they don’t want to work
hard enough. The women are there, they are interested, and they are

Rather than keep arguing with the likes of Tierney, she adds, readers should focus on the question: “How can we change things to encourage these smart, motivated, hard-working women to stay in science?

By Chris Lombardi

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