New York Times rejects ‘Hello, Dolly!‘ ad that declared ‘It Takes a Woman’
By HADAS GOLD
11/01/16 01:52 PM EDT
The revival of the Broadway show “Hello, Dolly!,” starring Bette Midler, has been trying to insert itself into the 2016 election ahead of its March debut, while playing up its political past.
The show has run into some roadblocks as part of that effort, however. A proposed advertisement set to run on the front page of a special “For President” section in the New York Times on Tuesday was rejected by the newspaper. The special section’s front page, which features profiles on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, was slated to have an ad in bright red at the bottom with an all caps “IT TAKES A WOMAN,” the title of one of the songs from the show.
Under the blaring headline in very small type was the opening date (March 15), the theater, the show’s website and a note that tickets are on sale.
Though the Times editorial page has endorsed Clinton for president, the paper decided the advertisement was too political in nature, and rejected it. An ad for a different Broadway play being put on by the same producer Scott Rudin, “The Humans”, is running in its place. “Hello, Dolly!” instead got a full page ad on the back part of the section.
“As we were preparing the edit content and the ad appeared on the page, we realized this particular ad wouldn’t work since it would appear as an endorsement,” Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said in an email. The play’s representatives decided that they weren’t interested in running an ad if it wasn’t the “IT TAKES A WOMAN” advertisement.
For the “Hello, Dolly!” show, the ad was meant to make a splash and a statement – the show has a long history in Democratic politics. In 1964, soon after the play debuted on Broadway and became a success, the original star of the show, Carol Channing, modified the lyrics of the titular song into one about Lyndon B. Johnson for the Democratic National Convention.
“Hello, Lyndon, it’s just great to have you there where you belong,” the 1964 version goes. “You’re the man who knows just how to get things done.”
Rick Miramontez, president of DKC/O&M., a Broadway PR firm that is representing the play, said they plan at some point to revive the lyrics for the 2016 election.
“The whole point of it was to make a statement. I don’t know that it was a pro-Hillary endorsement as much as it was to track the history of ‘Hello Dolly’ with the Democratic politics of it,” Miramontez said. “We didn’t know what the layout of the page was going to look like, but it seemed like the perfect opportunity to intersect the history of ”˜Hello, Dolly!’ with current events.”