Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Bette Midler To Star In 2017 Broadway Revival Of Hello, Dolly!

I'm thrilled to read that the fabulous Bette Midler will return to the Broadway stage next year in a new revival of Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly!

Playbill has the announcement:

Stage and screen star Bette Midler has announced that she will play Dolly Gallagher Levi in a Broadway revival of the blockbuster 1964 musical, Hello, Dolly!

Four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks will direct, and Tony winner Warren Carlyle will choreograph the production, which will begin Broadway previews March 13, 2017, and open April 20 at a theatre to be announced.

Midler issued a statement saying, "I am looking forward to portraying one of the most beloved characters in all of American Musical Comedy, Dolly Levi, born Gallagher, in Hello, Dolly! I know I'm going to have the time of my life, and I am so glad to be under the wings of Scott Rudin as Producer and Jerry Zaks as Director. See you next year!"

Composer/lyricist Jerry Herman said, "Many times through the years I've been asked about bringing back Hello, Dolly! – and it has always been, 'Who would be my dream Dolly?' – and though I've had literally dozens of names tossed at me, I knew that we needed more than just a wonderful singer or a wonderful actor, so I held on to the hope that she would also be a distinctly original persona. Who is out there that has the necessary stature, warmth, the incredible talent and ability, and especially the singular, out-sized personality that I was looking for in a 21st century Dolly? Only one person: Bette Midler. Only Bette could bring Dolly brilliantly back to 'the lights of 14th Street!'"

"There has not been a new production in 50 years," Rudin told The Associated Press. "Partly it was the difficulty of who could play Dolly. It had to be someone who could take it to a different level. Bette is the only one who can. Never has there been something more inevitable than her in this role."

I made my Broadway debut in 1995 in the last revival, which starred Tony Award-winner (and original "Dolly Levi") Carol Channing, and it was truly a gift to be a part of.

A few years ago, when Tony Award winners Patti Lupone and director Jack O'Brien were in talks to bring the show back to Broadway, I was asked by Jerry Herman himself to choreograph the production. Unfortunately, Lupone and O'Brien had some artistic differences and the production never came to fruition. For several months, I spoke with the producer attached to the project at the time and certainly Bette was on the top of our list.

I wish the new endeavor only the best. 

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