Long before Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, there was Franklin J. Hart Jr. in 9 to 5.
In the 1979 movie, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton play coworkers who seek revenge on their slimy sexist boss (Dabney Coleman) by kidnapping him. The staged musical adaptation opens on Saturday at the Ahmanson Theatre in downtown L.A.
I caught up with Ms. Parton (who wrote all the music for the new production) and the stars of the show earlier this morning to find about their own real-life bosses from hell. Here's what they told me:
Dolly Parton: Being the polite gal that she is, Parton didn't want give names or reveal too much, but she says she's had bosses just like Franklin Hart Jr. "They try to watch when your time of the month is just so they could say, 'Well, it must be that time of the month,' " Parton said. "And then they make you act like it's your time of the month because of the way they are!"
Allison Janney Her first summer job was selling handbags at a department store in her hometown of Dayton, Ohio. "The boss would tell me I had to wear hose," said Janney, who makes her musical stage debut as Violet Newstead. "First of all, do you really have to call it hose? And then it was 110 degrees in the summer, and I had pants on. No one could tell, but she would say, 'I could see. Now go put your hose on!' "
Marc Kudisch: He paid his way through college working weekends as a waiter. But there was one manager who had it in for him for no apparent reason. "He was a s--ty boss," said Kudisch, who gets tied up on stage as boss man Franklin Hart Jr. "On his last day there and the new manager was coming in, he was literally on his way to fire me to make it the last thing he was going to do. But the new manager said to him, 'You can fire him, but I'm going to hire him back the minute you do.' "
Megan Hilty: She says she's definitely had her share of lousy bosses, but sexual harassment hasn't been an issue. "None of them were men," said Hilty, who takes on the big bosomy role of Doralee Rhodes. "They were all women!"
Stephanie J. Block: When Block worked as a waitress, it wasn't her bosses she wanted to tie up. "It was a lot of the patrons," said Block, who plays recent divorcée Judy Bernly. But Block admits she wasn't very good at waiting tables. "One guy left a dollar sticking out from under a placemat," she remembered. "But he had ripped the dollar in half to show me how awful I was!"