The Idea Of Bette Midler Doing ‘Dolly’ Dates Back Two Decades

Windy City Times
Billy Masters
January 27, 2016


On to far more important news–the Divine Miss M is headed back to Broadway. In a move that surprised no one, it was announced that Bette Midler would headline a revival of Hello, Dolly!” The idea actually goes back more than two decades. In 1993, Bette scored a major success with her made-for-TV version of Gypsy ( Bette-1, Babs-0 ). Immediately, studio execs asked her to follow it up with either Mame or Hello, Dolly. “What am I gonna do–remake every classic Broadway musical?,” she was rumored to retort. As I previously told you, the idea of doing a musical onstage heated up when she returned to Broadway, playing superagent Sue Mengers. When she seriously considered doing “Dolly” and “Mame,” she did her due diligence. She checked out YouTube clips online and went to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts to see whatever footage was available. She met with Jerry Herman. As she narrowed her focus on “Dolly,” and she even reviewed the director’s notes from the original production. That clinched it for her. Plus, there was the timing: This revival won’t happen until 2017–50 years after her first Broadway appearance in Fiddler on the Roof. Although she will be 71 years old when the show opens, that will not make her the oldest Dolly–Carol Channing did the last Broadway revival when she was 74!

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