HELLO, BROADWAY FANS! You are once again waking up with New York Broadway Tours as we continue our TOP 40 TONY AWARDS COUNTDOWN. This is keeping us entertained as we countdown to the 72nd Annual Tony Awards only 31 days away from now. Let?s bring on another showstopper.
At # 31 on our countdown, we put on our Sunday Clothes and pay a visit to meet the most famous matchmaker starting her life over. This is of course “Dolly Levi” of Hello, Dolly on Broadway. Based on Thorton Wilder’s play THE MATCHMAKER and John Oxenford’s play A DAY WELL SPENT, the show features a score by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart. It’s
From the 1971 telecast (featuring legendary performers reprising their iconic roles from Broadway), Tony winning legend and the woman who started it all Carol Channing as the title role perform one of the musical’s most iconic songs BEFORE THE PARADE PASSES BY.
HELLO, DOLLY was first conceived in 1955 when Thorton Wilder’s play THE MERCHANT OF YONKERS renamed THE MATCHMAKER expanded the character of “Dolly Levi” who was originally featured. It caught the attention of Jerry Herman and Michael Stewart turning it into a musical originally entitling it DOLLY: A DAMNED ESPARATING WOMAN and later CALL ON DOLLY. The show was originally written for the late Ethel Merman and later Mary Martin. However, they both turned it down and eventually went on to play the role in later productions. Under the direction and choreography by Gower Champion, the production’s Pre-Broadway run had a rocky start with the book originally being a complete mess. During the weeks before it’s Broadway opening, scenes were cut and new dialogue and songs were written including BEFORE THE PARADE PASSES BY. Plus it was also given a name change following the success of Louis Armstrong’s rendition of the what would become title song HELLO, DOLLY!
HELLO, DOLLY officially arrived on Broadway in 1964 at the St. James Theatre running for a total of 2,844 performances. The cast Carol Channing (later Ginger Rogers, Martha Raye, Betty Grable, Phyllis Diller, Ethel Merman, and more) in the title role.
The original production was nominated for 14 Tony Awards winning 10 including Best Musical, a record held for 37 years till The Producers.
Following it’s original run, HELLO, DOLLY would go on to become a worldwide hit in London’s West End and around the world. The show would later be revived on Broadway 4 times,
The first revival happened in 1975. Under the direction of Lucia Victor, this production played Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre for only 47 performances. It starred Pearl Bailey (who previously appeared in the original production as a later replacement) in the title role and a full all African American cast.
It did not receive any Tony nominations or wins that year.
The 2nd revival in in 1978 brought back Gower Champion and members of the original creative team for only 147 performances.
It received only 1 Tony nominee that year for Best Performance By a Leading Actor in a Musical (for Eddie Bricken) who lost the category.
The 3rd revival happened in 1995, Under the direction of Lee Roy Reams, the production ran for only 116 performances.
It was received for only 1 Tony nomination for Best Revival of a Musical but lost the category.
Both the 1978 and 1995 engagements played the Lunt Fontanne Theatre starring Carol Channing reprising her iconic role of “Dolly Levi”.
Currently, HELLO, DOLLY is back on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre. Under the direction of Jerry Zaks, it opened last year starring Tony winners Bette Midler (later Donna Murphy and Bernadette Peters) in the title role. The production has been opened on Broadway for a year. In addition, it has just been announced that the production will close on August 25th, 2018.
A US National Touring company of this revival starring Betty Buckley is set to kick off this Fall.
The current revival was nominated for 10 Tony Awards winning 4 including Best Revival of a Musical and Best Leading Actress in a Musical (for Bette Midler). For Midler?s win last year, she was known for having the longest speech ever in Tony Awards history. It lasted for 4 minutes. As the Tony orchestra was playing the exit music, Midler kept on speaking and even called them out to ?Shut that Crap Off?.
HELLO DOLLY was also a smash hit on the big screen as well in 1969. The film starred the legendary Barbra Streisand in the title role. It was nominated for 7 Oscars that year winning 4 including Best Original Score.
Today, HELLO DOLLY is a popular show that continues to play in schools, community, and regional theatre productions everywhere.
Doesn’t this musical make you want to FEEL YOUR HEART COME ALIVE AGAIN?!!
Carol Channing performs “Before the Parade Passes By” on the 1971 Tonys.
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