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9 to 5: The Musical’s Costume Designer on His Job’s Two Biggest Challenges

When 9 to 5: The Musical opens on Broadway on April 7, Megan Hilty will fill the role Dolly Parton made famous in the original 1980 movie — but will she also fill, um, everything else? Yes, according to William Ivey Long, the show's costume designer. We ran into him at the Savannah College of Art and Design Style Étoile Awards at James Cohan Gallery on Monday night, and asked him if Hilty had the ... physical attributes to play such an iconic character. "She does now!" Long told us. "Whoa! Not really my job ... you know what I mean."

So how big are they, really? we asked. "Well, it's in the script and it's a lyric," said Long. "She rhymes something else with 'my double D's.' So that I can say, because it's in the script. Otherwise I wouldn't admit it."

But how did Long actually accomplish such a feat? "It's all about structure and corseting, so you have to support it," he explained. "You push in and it pushes up." He continued: "I'll tell you the truth — we started out with artificial additions, but they were too heavy. So now we make sculpted foam so she can stand up. It was tipping her over, and she'd say, 'Oh my, it's too heavy.' It's like a sculpture."

Photo: Getty Images