Bette Midler Will Bow Out of ‘Dolly!’ With Box-Office Bang
By Charles Passy
Bette Midler is going out with a bang—a $10,000-a-ticket bang.
Ms. Midler’s final performance in the Broadway revival of “Hello, Dolly!,” scheduled for Jan. 14, will serve as a benefit for the Actors Fund, an organization that supports entertainment professionals. Tickets for the event, slated to go on sale soon, start at $250 and go up to $10,000.
“This night will be one for the ages,” Actors Fund chief executive Joe Benincasa said in a statement.
He said his “jaw hit the floor,” when he learned that “Dolly” producer Scott Rudin wanted to make Ms. Midler’s last show a fundraiser for the Actors Fund, whose services and programs range from senior care to an HIV/AIDS initiative.
Ms. Midler’s Tony Award-winning turn in the principle role of Dolly Levi has been the talk of Broadway for the past year. The show, which also took home the Tony for best revival of a musical, has set one box-office sales record after another at the Shubert Theater, where it has played since it opened in previews in March.
Last week, the musical grossed $2.46 million, topping its previous record of $2.4 million, set in October, according to show’s press representative. To date, the show has grossed $73 million, according to BroadwayWorld.com, a website that tracks the theater industry.
In recent years, final performances by stars in Broadway shows have become high-profile occasions.
When Lin-Manuel Miranda’s marked his last appearance in 2016 in the title role of his musical “Hamilton,” for example, celebrities including Spike Lee, Rosie O’Donnell, Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez filled the theater.
Ms. Midler won’t be the only star departing “Hello, Dolly!” on Jan. 14. David Hyde Pierce, who plays Horace Vangelder, also will be leaving. Bernadette Peters and Victor Garber will take over the roles starting on Jan. 20, with an official opening on Feb. 22.