NATALIE Casey wouldn’t let the chance to appear in the new Dolly Parton musical 9 To 5 on its debut British tour slip through her fingers.

“I’m a massive fan of these late 1970s/early 1980s female empowerment films, usually with Lily Tomlin in them,” she says.

“I knew they had done 9 To 5 on Broadway three years ago so I knew it would be coming over here. I pestered my agent and begged them to get me an audition.”

Natalie, an original cast member of Channel 4’s Hollyoaks, who later starred in Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps, duly won the role of Judy in Parton’s show.

All this week she is appearing the Grand Opera House, York, in the part played in the 1980 film by Jane Fonda.

In this musical comedy, Judy is one of three female office workers who turn the tables on their bigot of a boss.

“This is about women taking hold of their lives. I think a lot of women feel they’re living through similar times. You’re told everything is correct but it’s not,” says Natalie Judy, who starts out as very mousy and downtrodden, was the role she wanted. Jackie Clune and Amy Lennox play the other two rebellious workers who tie up their boss and take charge of the company.

“I just thought about real family members, friends, parents and women who really feel like they have been put in a position they can’t get out of and have to strive very hard to be taken seriously and turn their life around. Everyone knows someone like that.”

Natalie didn’t return to the film after landing the role. “I must have seen it 50,000 times but there’s no chance I’ll be able to compete with Jane Fonda. You have to do your own bag and take it as if it’s a brand new part,” she says.

At least she knows she has Dolly Parton’s approval. “When I went into the audition they were filming it. That never happens and I found out afterwards that they sent the tapes of the auditions to Dolly Parton and she says I like that person or I don’t like that person. It’s a little bit surreal knowing she had approved me,” says Natalie.

The cast have yet to meet Parton, who starred in the film and whose songs power the stage musical. They’ve had email messages from her and she appears on a big screen in the show.

“Apparently, if she turns up, you don’t know she’s coming until the end when you sing 9 To 5 and she comes on stage to join the cast,” says Natalie.

9 To 5: The Musical runs at Grand Opera House, York, until Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee. Box office: 0844 871 3024 or online at