Dolly began her "Better Day" World Tour on July 17, 2011, at Thompson-Boling arena in Knoxville, Tenn. It concluded on Dec. 1, 2011, at Melbourne Australia’s Rod Laver Arena. All told, Dolly played 50 dates, sold nearly 275,000 tickets, and grossed $34 million (her most successful tour to date).
Dolly was really excited to announce her "Better Day" World Tour saying,
"I had a great time when we were in Europe on the last ‘Backwoods Barbie’ tour, and I expect to have even more fun on the up and coming 'Better Day' World Tour. I'm really looking forward to this, and I can't wait to see all the fans again. We have a lot fun things for everybody!"
In 2008, Dolly developed a musical version of her 1980 hit movie "9 to 5." Dolly wrote all the music and lyrics herself and the dialog was adapted by Patricia Resnick. The musical had its first table reading in 2007 and did a test run in Los Angeles in 2008.
"9 to 5: The Musical" premiered on Broadway at the Marquis Theater on, April 7, 2009, and ran in New York from April until it closed in September after 24 preview showings and 148 normal performances. During its runs in LA and NY, the musical garnered 15 Drama Desk Award nominations and four Tony Award nominations including Best Original Score. After it closed shop on Broadway the show went on tour in the United States, the United Kingdom, and had several regional productions.
The "9 to 5: The Musical (Original Broadway Cast Recording)" includes 18 tracks performed by the cast. The soundtrack was released on Dolly Records on, July 14, 2009. It earned a GRAMMY nomination for Best Musical Show Album.
Dolly had a specific plan for writing the songs for the Musical,
“I wanted it to be all that it could be…I wanted it to be what the story called for. I wanted each song to fit each character perfectly and fit the story line, as well and to have the songs to be singable and memorable.”
Her plan worked well enough that she really found her groove,
"Once I got into it, I found I have a little knack for it because I've always loved telling stories… When you write for commercial radio, you have to keep it around three minutes and limit it to a couple verses and a chorus. But writing for the stage, I could just let my mind go."
Dolly’s song "Backwoods Barbie" was performed in the first act and is included on the Musical soundtrack.
On May 28, 2008, Dolly kicked off her ninth headlining tour at the Roxy Theater in Hollywood, California, in support of her 40th studio album "Backwoods Barbie." After stops across the U.S., Northern Europe, and Canada, the tour concluded Nov. 19, 2008, at the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines in Iowa. In Europe alone, 170,000 fans saw Dolly perform, marking the single most successful leg of any tour in Dolly’s history.
Dolly spoke about her motivations for touring and her mutual love affair with the fans,
“I am addicted to the love and the energy that I receive from the crowd [at my shows],” she said, “but it's a fair exchange. I love them and give them every ounce of energy that I have as well. So, I guess you could say that we feed off one another.”
Her concerts at London’s O2 Arena were the subject of a PBS Special, CD, and DVD release entitled “Dolly: Live in London O2 Arena” and "Dolly: Live From London," respectively.
Dolly was forced to delay the tour’s start because of a back injury. The quick-witted Dolly dealt with the elephants in the room with her usual humor,
“The truth is I just bent over one day to pick something up, and I hurt my lower back... I just kind of popped a disk in my lower back. So I said I know it's not my boobs. It's my lower back. And my butt ain't that big anymore. So it was just one of those freak things, and it's fine now.”
Dolly was the center of FOX’s "American Idol" Season VII’s Country Week on April 1 and 2, 2008, mentoring, performing, and watching the remaining contestants render covers of several of her classic songs.
Dolly mentored finalists as they prepared to perform her songs on the April 1, episode and returned on the April 2, show to perform her song "Jesus and Gravity" from her 2008 "Backwoods Barbie" CD. She chose not to judge the contestants’ performances of her songs saying,
"I couldn't go on and criticize somebody else's singin'.”
The remaining nine “American Idol” contestants performed:
"Better Get to Livin'" was the first single released in advance of Dolly’s 2008 "Backwoods Barbie" album. It also marked the first single released by Dolly’s record label Dolly Records. The song reached No. 48 on the Hot Country Singles Chart in 2007.
The song is about her optimistic nature and philosophy of life. Billboard noted that the single, "reveals the timeless entertainer to be more sage philosopher than country kewpie."
Dolly was encouraged to use herself as a muse for the song,
“I co-wrote this song with my co-producer, bandleader, and guitarist Kent Wells. Kent is the one who said that I should write a song about my attitude as so many people are always asking what my secret to success and happiness is. So I thought “that is a good idea” and I flew right into it. Kent kept feeding me ideas and threw in a line here and there. This is what came out of that. We had a lot of fun writing it.”
In September 2007, Dolly performed the song on the hit ABC television show "Dancing With the Stars." Dolly also performed the song at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The song’s video included actress, author and comedian Amy Sedaris.