Dolly Parton Wants to Hold a 'Finding Dolly' Contest to Cast Her Upcoming Broadway Musical (Exclusive)

The country music icon is currently working on bringing a stage production she wrote the music and half the script for to Broadway

<p>Miller Mobley/NBC via Getty</p> Dolly Parton

Miller Mobley/NBC via Getty

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton is working “9 to 5” on her forthcoming Broadway musical.

While speaking with PEOPLE about her new line of baking mixes with Duncan Hines, the country music legend, 78, shared an update about the highly anticipated Broadway musical about her life and career.

The superstar says that not only has it long been a dream of hers to tell her story with a stage production, she teased that aspiring actors may get their shot to play her by entering a talent search.

“Right now, I'm working on my life story as a musical, and so going on Broadway and opening my show on Broadway, that's been a biggie [goal] in my mind for many, many years,” the Grammy winner says. “That'd be the one that I want to make certain I get done while I'm still kicking, while I'm around to stay involved in it.”

<p>Jason Kempin/Getty</p> Dolly Parton in Nashville in November 2023

Jason Kempin/Getty

Dolly Parton in Nashville in November 2023

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Parton shares that she’s hoping to see that dream come true by "late '25."

In order to get the project — which she wrote the music and half of the script for — to New York City, the music icon reveals that she may even host a “Finding Dolly” contest.

It won’t just be one Dolly under the bright lights of Broadway: The “Jolene” singer says she expects there to be three performers playing her at different phases of her life, including a “little Dolly,” an “earlier years Dolly” and “an older Dolly.”

“We're going to be auditioning and trying to find them through different means,” Parton shares. “I think that'll be fun for people, too. You never know where you're going to find them. They may never have been on stage before, or maybe in some local theater somewhere, but we're going to look for them and that's going to be part of the fun, I think.”

<p>Ron Davis/Getty</p> Dolly Parton at Dollywood circa 1993

Ron Davis/Getty

Dolly Parton at Dollywood circa 1993

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The “I Will Always Love You” artist has been teasing the stage show, which chronicles her humble beginnings growing up in Tennessee to the superstardom she’s found across entertainment, for several years.

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Back in 2016, the singer-songwriter mentioned that she was working on a Broadway musical in an interview with Variety when discussing the genesis for her NBC TV movie Coat of Many Colors. She revealed at the time that the project, inspired by the song of the same name and her childhood, was developed as she began revisiting her youth while chipping away on the material for a theater script.

Parton said of the musical she had been working on, “The whole first act is my early days before I went to Nashville. The second act is about my days in Nashville and beyond. So the first part of the musical will be a lot like Coat of Many Colors with music and songs and will involve more details.”

<p>Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage</p> Dolly Parton performs in Glastonbury in June 2014

Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage

Dolly Parton performs in Glastonbury in June 2014

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More recently, the hitmaker told USA Today in an October 2023 interview that the pandemic led to the musical’s delay.

“I was just about to have it ready when COVID hit and Broadway shut down. Then I thought, “Well, maybe I’ll do it as a biopic,” and wrote up a script for that. But then I was like, “Nah, everybody’s doing a biopic! I’m going back to Broadway now that it’s open,” she told the outlet.

The musician added, “So I’m hoping to have my show [there] in spring of 2025. That’s my aim!"

The currently-untitled musical won’t be Parton’s first time headed to Broadway. She previously wrote the score to a stage musical adaptation of the feature film inspired by her hit, 9 to 5. After debuting in 2008, the production made its debut in the Big Apple in 2009 and garnered her a Tony Award nomination for best original score. 

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