Well, hello, Miss M!
Bette Midler will return to Broadway in April 2017, to take on Dolly Gallagher Levi, matchless matchmaker, in a revival of Jerry Herman’s 1964 musical-comedy “Hello, Dolly!” This will be Midler’s first time on Broadway since 2011, when she played Sue Mengers, Hollywood’s first woman superagent, in the one-woman play, “I’ll Eat You Last.” Except for three concert events in the ’70s, the only other time the singer/actress appeared on Broadway was as a replacement Tzeitel in “Fiddler on the Roof” in 1967.
Many women have played Dolly over the decades. But she has been indelibly identified with Carol Channing, the original, who won one of the hit’s 10 Tonys. Channing also recreated her oversized Dolly in the 1978 and 1995 Broadway revivals, based on the original by director/choreographer Gower Champion.
Next year’s production, which begins previews Mar. 13 and opens April 20, will be the first rethinking of the show, which ran seven years in its first incarnation. Jerry Zaks will direct with choreography by Warren Carlyle. “Many times through the years I’ve been asked about bringing back ‘Hello, Dolly!’ ” said Herman in a statement. “Who is out there that has the necessary stature, warmth, the incredible talent and ability, and, especially, the singular, outsized personality that I was looking for in a 21st Century Dolly? Only one person: Bette Midler.”