Tag Archives: Thornton Wilder

Thursday, January 10, 2019

BetteBack August 19, 1975: Bette Midler Says Lawrence Welk Dissed Her

Wichita Falls Times
August 19, 1975


Bette Midler said in Playgirl magazine that Lawrence Welk was once supposed to dance with her on the Mike Douglas show, but he wouldn’t – he thought I was a dirty little girl” . . . Pearl Bailey’s daughter, Dee, 16, is traveling with Pearl’s “Hello, Dolly!” company, so Bill Daniel’s daughter Dominique, 16, came along to keep her company.

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Betty Buckley-Led HELLO, DOLLY! Tour Will Makes Stops in LA, Chicago & More; Full Itinerary Announced

Broadway World
Betty Buckley-Led HELLO, DOLLY! Tour Will Makes Stops in LA, Chicago & More; Full Itinerary Announced
by BWW News Desk Jul. 16, 2018

Betty Buckely

As BroadwayWorld previously reported, the Tony Award-winning Broadway legend Betty Buckley will star in the first national tour of Hello, Dolly!, the Tony Award-winning Best Musical Revival, beginning September 30, 2018 in the Connor Palace at Cleveland’s Playhouse Square. The full tour itinerary is as follows:

Cleveland, OH USA
Sept 30 – Oct 21
Connor Palace

Chicago, IL USA
Oct 23 – Nov 17
Oriental Theatre

Miami, FL USA
Nov 20 – Nov 25
Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County

Orlando, FL USA
Nov 27 – Dec 2
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Tampa, FL USA
Dec 4 – Dec 9
David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts

West Palm Beach, FL USA
Dec 11 – Dec 16
Raymond F. Kravis Center For The Performing Arts

Tempe, AZ USA
Jan 8, 2019 – Jan 13, 2019
ASU Gammage

San Diego, CA USA
Jan 15, 2019 – Jan 20, 2019
San Diego Civic Theatre

Costa Mesa, CA USA
Jan 22, 2019 – Jan 27, 2019
Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Los Angeles, CA USA
Jan 29, 2019 – Feb 17, 2019
Pantages Theatre – Los Angeles

San Francisco, CA USA
Feb 19, 2019 – Mar 17, 2019
Golden Gate Theatre

Las Vegas, NV USA
Mar 19, 2019 – Mar 24, 2019
The Smith Center

Denver, CO USA
Mar 27, 2019 – Apr 7, 2019
Buell Theatre

Des Moines, IA USA
Apr 9, 2019 – Apr 14, 2019
Des Moines Civic Center

Minneapolis, MN USA
Apr 16, 2019 – Apr 28, 2019
Orpheum Theatre – Minneapolis

Nashville, TN USA
Apr 30, 2019 – May 5, 2019
Andrew Jackson Hall At Tennessee Performing Arts Center

Columbus, OH USA
May 7, 2019 – May 12, 2019
Ohio Theatre

Louisville, KY USA
May 14, 2019 – May 19, 2019
Kentucky Center For The Performing Arts

Durham, NC USA
May 21, 2019 – May 26, 2019
Durham Performing Arts Center

Greenville, SC USA
May 28, 2019 – Jun 2, 2019
Peace Center For The Performing Arts

Washington, DC USA
Jun 4, 2019 – Jul 7, 2019
Opera House (DC)

Charlotte, NC USA
Jul 9, 2019 – Jul 14, 2019
Belk Theater

Dallas, TX USA
Jul 17, 2019 – Jul 28, 2019
Music Hall At Fair Park

Boston, MA USA
Aug 6, 2019 – Aug 18, 2019
Opera House (MA)

Ms. Buckley, dubbed “The Voice of Broadway,” joins the astonishing list of show business luminaries who have inhabited the role, including Carol Channing, Pearl Bailey, Phyllis Diller, Betty Grable, Martha Raye, Ginger Rogers, Ethel Merman, in her last appearance on Broadway, Mary Martin, who led the West End company, and most recently in this celebrated new production, Bette Midler, Donna Murphy, and Bernadette Peters.

Led by four-time Tony Award-winning director Jerry Zaks and choreographed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle, the entire creative team of the Broadway production will reprise their roles for the national tour of Hello, Dolly!, including four-time Tony Award winner Santo Loquasto (Scenic & Costume Design), six-time Tony Award winner Natasha Katz (Lighting Design), Tony Award winner Scott Lehrer (Sound Design), Andy Einhorn (Music Direction), Tony Award winner Larry Hochman (Orchestrations), Tony Award winner Don Pippin (Vocal Arrangements), David Chase (Dance Arrangements), and Telsey + Company (Casting).

This Hello, Dolly!, the first new production of the classic musical (based on Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker) to appear on Broadway since it opened more than fifty years ago, pays tribute to the work of its original director/choreographer Gower Champion, which has been hailed both then and now as one of the greatest stagings in musical theater history.

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Friday, February 23, 2018

Bette Midler vs Bernadette Peters With The Critics: In The End It Just Boils Down To Personal Preference – Stop Comparing!

Mister D: I know some of you don’t want to see any comparison reviews because it pits two beloved stars and friends against one another, but you knew it was going to happen. So I picked out some that said the same thing as the others, and what it really boils down to is personal tastes and fandom. The Peter’s fans are going to pick her and the Midler fans will pick Midler. Midler will win of course because she is an international star where Bernadette is basically a favorite of the Broadway crowd. It’s just a fact. So I see no reason to even argue with one another. Neither side is going to listen. And don’t feel sorry for these ladies. They are both at the top of their game, they have made it in an industry that is callous and cruel. Believe me both women can handle what is thrown at them. Yes, I’m sure they still get hurt feelings, but by now they have learned to say “fuck it, I’m a star!!!”

Daily Beast
Bette Midler Is a Better ‘Dolly’ Than Bernadette Peters: Review of ‘Hello, Dolly!’

As Bernadette Peters officially opens in ‘Hello, Dolly!,’ the question is, who played it best: Peters or predecessor Bette Midler? Our critic prepares to have his gay card revoked.

Tim Teeman
02.22.18 7:30 PM ET

It’s a gay Sophie’s Choice, and it’s happening on Broadway right now.

Prepare for friendships to be torn asunder, loud street arguments in Hell’s Kitchen (“At least Bernadette Peters knows how to walk down a staircase”), and vodka sodas being flung in anger.

Are you ‘Bette’ or ‘Bernadette’? (Or, kind, warm soul, do you love them both equally? They are both different performers, and shouldn’t be compared etc.)

Sadly, if you saw Midler and are also seeing Peters, comparisons are inevitable. On Thursday night, Peters officially takes over the mantle–or giant, deep pink, feathery fascinator—of Dolly Gallagher Levi from Midler, in Jerry Zaks’ handsomely mounted Broadway production of Hello, Dolly!

The Midler production of Jerry Herman’s musical (with book by Michael Stewart) which opened last April was, as I wrote at the time, a barnstorming, all-cylinders-rocketing joy, for which Midler won a Tony. It would be tough for any actor to follow her.

Peters obviously has the stage stature, but she is a very different Dolly. Midler exuded a flirty, knowing, audience-winking warmth in her Dolly. Peters, the night this reviewer attended at least, seemed more distant and (even if this means my gay card being immediately revoked) more nervous and tentative in the role.

Some in the audience would disagree with this—loudly. They whooped and applauded Peters as they had with Midler. Your preference, if you see both actors in the role, will come down to personal taste. Peters’ first appearance in Act One still brings the show to a hollering halt in its infancy. For Broadway devotees, Peters equals, even outstrips Midler in the icon stakes.

But in this role, Peters’ Dolly feels more skittish and scattered, and less focused than Midler’s eccentric mistress of all that she surveys and seeks to benevolently manipulate. We do not, for a moment, believe that Peters’ Dolly has a crush on, and desires to have a relationship with, Victor Garber’s Horace Vandergelder, the gruff Yonkers store-owner.

Both performers have no chemistry whatsoever, and do not even attempt to magic some up. Peters’ Dolly seems a little too outside the universe of the musical around her, and Garber’s performance compares poorly to David Hyde Pierce’s engaging incarnation—he was both a match and foil for Midler—in the earlier production.

Hyde Pierce captured Vandergelder as a grouchy eccentric, whose perfect mugging when singing “Penny In My Pocket” burrowed into the song’s ridiculous schematics. Garber singing the same looks puzzled, and makes us feel puzzled watching him.

Garber’s Vandergelder is more loopy eccentric—he reminded me of Charlie Bucket’s Grandpa from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory—than scowling, world-rejecting widower awaiting reawakening. His first song, “It Takes a Woman,” sung with the men of the company about women’s roles in domestic patriarchy, suddenly sounds creepily sexist rather than just charmingly hokey as it did before.

In evoking Dolly’s own widowhood, and her occasional soliloquies to her dear departed Ephraim, Peters locates some scratchily profound emotional notes that Midler did not, and this seemed to me to reflect her Dolly as less assured and less commanding. Others may think it is simply a more restrained performance, and good on her, but is Dolly Levi best played as restrained?

There is no sense why Peters’ Dolly and Garber’s Horace would get together, and no sense of them operating together when sharing a stage. Everything is said and played by both actors directly to us rather than between them. At the end, their coupling is purely ceremonial.

‘Dolly’ fans will not be disappointed by the key scene of our diva descending the Harmonia Gardens restaurant stairs, and the show’s title number striking up. The visuals of Dolly in her deep pink dress and crowning fascinator and the queenly acceptance of the waiters’ “Hello, Dolly, it’s so nice to have you back where you belong,” are as richly sung and visually satisfying as ever. (This is even more impressive when you consider that the ‘waiters’ have, for the previous few minutes, been performing the demented “Waiters’ Gallop,” choreographed by Warren Carlyle, with wobbling mountains of plates.)

Just as memorable as Peters’ Dolly, center stage and sparkling right in front of us, are the men’s wonderful voices, singing their devotion to Dolly in perfect unison.

Midler offset this goosebump-raising, bracing men’s chorus with her own perfectly judged campy theatrics and soft, lilting voice; Peters’ Dolly seems a little overwhelmed by the attention and unsure of who’s who. In its Midler iteration, the show was a smooth, big-voiced, big-colored joy; now it feels workmanlike. It is not terrible, but you can see the joins and hear a little creaking.

If this sounds harsh, there are other joys left intact. Peters, like Midler, makes the best kind of meal out of eating a meal. The orchestra, led by conductor Justin Hornback, is so lushly controlled you dream that one day you could march down a New York street with them playing “Before The Parade Passes By” beside you.

The chorus is glorious, from their first collective sortie singing “Put On Your Sunday Clothes,” dressed in Santo Loquasto’s suits and dresses in maxed-up sherbet colors, through to the men’s dazzling serenade of Dolly herself.

Remaining from the original are the formidable presences of Kate Baldwin as hat-shop owner Irene Molloy, who is not only very funny but whose honeyed meticulousness when singing “Ribbons Down My Back” underscores so perfectly the longing of that song.

Like her, a stay-on from the Midler production, Gavin Creel (now out of the show, recovering from back surgery; Santino Fontana will replace him) provides strong and charming support as store clerk Cornelius Hackl. Charlie Stemp as his sidekick Barnaby is appositely goofy, and as delightfully light on his feet as he needs to be as the pair search New York’s streets for a woman to kiss.

Molly Griggs as Minnie Fay, Irene’s assistant, is a zingily hilarious scene-stealer, and—some things never change—the worst parts are for young lovers Ambrose Kemper (Will Burton) and Ermengarde (Melanie Moore), whose desired union is the impetus for the musical’s plot and who are soon forgotten, reappearing only occasionally for her to wail in misery.

Peters fans will not be disappointed (their devotion would mean that would take a lot anyway). Hello, Dolly! is still a pleasure to watch. You will hum the songs for days. If you didn’t see Midler, Peters won’t suffer by comparison. If you did see Midler, it will come down to taste. Peters doesn’t perform the role badly, but, for this critic at least, the sense of fun and mischief that should orbit Dolly is missing from her. It was the heady perfume of the 2017 Midler production.

Suddenly, Hello, Dolly! feels like a company of individual performers working hard, rather than a company of performers in smooth, collective command of the material. Before the parade passes by, Hello, Dolly! would benefit from a reset.

Hello, Dolly! is at the Schubert Theatre, 225 West 44th Street, NYC. Booking through July 30.

The Hollywood Reporter
‘Hello, Dolly!’: Theater Review
2/22/2018 by Frank Scheck

You experience many things while watching the Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly! at the Sam S. Shubert Theatre. Laughter at the broad, hysterical comedy. Joy upon hearing Jerry Herman’s gorgeous score. Wonderment at the eye-popping costumes on constant display. But now that Bernadette Peters has taken over the title role, for the first time you’ll also shed tears.

That’s because the veteran, two-time Tony Award-winning performer has brought a poignancy to the production that wasn’t quite in evidence with her predecessor, Bette Midler. Midler was a powerhouse presence to be sure, bringing to the part all of her star wattage and formidable comic chops. Her starring turn, which resulted in sell-out performances and huge box-office grosses, became instantly iconic. But you never felt as much concern and tenderness toward her Dolly as you do for this one.

Peters, of course, is no slouch when it comes to being an iconic presence herself, considering that her career as a theater star has lasted a half-century since her breakout performances in 1968’s George M! and off-Broadway’s Dames at Sea. Since then she’s delivered acclaimed turns in such musicals as On the Town, Mack & Mabel, Sunday in the Park with George, Song and Dance, Into the Woods, Annie Get Your Gun, A Little Night Music and Follies. If anyone could be considered musical theater royalty, it’s her.

She pulls off another triumph here, infusing her Dolly Gallagher Levi with a pathos that, while making the character less a force of nature, makes her far more relatable. When her Dolly speaks to her dead husband Ephraim, such as when she implores him to let her go so she can get on with her life and be happy, it’s not just a prelude to the big, first-act closing number “Before the Parade Passes By” but also a tearful plea from the heart.

Which is not to say that she falls short of the role’s comedic demands. Her performance is less vivacious than Midler’s, but no less hilarious. With her deadpan comic line readings and subtle bits of physical business — the latter especially shown off in the riotously farcical hat shop scene in which she does not just a double, but a triple, take — she gets all the necessary laughs and more without lapsing into excessive shtick. Her vocals are equally stellar, and she looks sensational slinking down those Harmonia Gardens Restaurant stairs in that fabulous red dress and feathered headdress.

Victor Garber, another Broadway veteran whose musical theater credits include Sweeney Todd and Damn Yankees, has taken over for David Hyde Pierce as Dolly’s comic foil Horace Vandergelder. Garber doesn’t get nearly as many laughs as his predecessor, but few actors could, since Hyde Pierce is a finely tuned comedy machine. But if Garber’s more restrained performance is less gut-busting, it’s also less of a caricature. His Horace is more emotionally vulnerable, making us care more deeply about him and Dolly getting together.

The other significant cast changes (Gavin Creel and Kate Baldwin continue in their Tony winning and nominated roles respectively, and have only gotten better with time) are Charlie Stemp as Barnaby Tucker and Molly Griggs as Minnie Fay. Stemp, a 24-year-old British actor who won raves for his London performances in Half a Sixpence and Dick Whittington and here makes his Broadway debut, is a revelation. Effortlessly charming and displaying pitch-perfect comic timing, the charismatic performer is also one hell of a dancer. So much so, in fact, that he’s been given a dazzling solo in the “Dancing” number that wasn’t there before. Catch him now, and you’ll be able to say that you saw a star in the making. Griggs, who’s replaced Beanie Feldstein, proves no less an adorable laugh-getter than her predecessor and has excellent chemistry with Stemp. You’ll be seeing a lot more of her in the future as well.

Jerry Zaks’ perfectly tooled staging hasn’t lost a step, dancing or otherwise, since the show opened 10 months ago. Gower Champion’s original 1964 Broadway production — starring Carol Channing followed by a host of luminaries including Ginger Rogers, Martha Raye, Betty Grable, Pearl Bailey, Phyllis Diller and Ethel Merman — played 2,844 performances. Assuming that it can keep up this level of star casting, there’s no reason not to think that this revival can’t match it.

‘‘Hello, Dolly!’ review: Well, hello, Bernadette Peters!
By Barbara Schuler
Updated February 22, 2018 9:00 PM

It’s been just a month since the “Hello, Dolly!” hats (and magnificent hats, they are) were passed from the Tony-winning, seriously adored Bette Midler to Broadway legend Bernadette Peters.

Time to invite the critics, who for the most part will be inclined to compare the two performances. But you won’t get that here. For a variety of reasons, I never saw Midler in the role. We’re starting fresh.

“Bette, who?” is all I have to say. Peters electrifies the Shubert Theatre stage with her warm, finely nuanced take on matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi, the multitasking widow who decides to rejoin the human race, with a perfect mix of heartfelt vocals and impeccable comic timing. True, her voice is on the raspy side (she is playing eight shows a week, where Midler got most Tuesday nights off with Donna Murphy stepping in) but it takes nothing away from the many magical moments — among them the renowned title song, of course, but also the life-affirming “Before the Parade Passes By” — that this lavish confection offers up. And never have I seen an audience so primed to love a show, with the applause starting the minute the lights went down and crescendoing at Dolly’s famed strut down the Harmonia Gardens staircase.

Some of that applause was saved for Victor Garber, another newcomer to the production, replacing David Hyde Pierce as the penny-pinching half-a-millionaire Horace Vandergelder, the man Dolly has her sights on. Lacking the musical chops of Peters (or the rest of the cast for that matter), Garber, all rumpled hair and grating New York accent, sells his wonderful material, especially the song “Penny in My Pocket” that’s often cut from the show, with a heavy dose of curmudgeonly charm.

A word, too, for Charlie Stemp as Barnaby Tucker, taking over for Taylor Trensch, now breaking hearts over at “Dear Evan Hansen.” A wonderful dancer, Stemp is delightful as the befuddled sidekick to Gavin Creel’s Tony-winning Cornelius Hackl.

Broadway statistics have noted a marked revenue drop following Midler’s departure, attributed both to the stratospheric prices she was commanding and the typical post-holiday slump. But this production has good bones — Santo Loquasto’s gorgeous costumes and artistic scenery and Jerry Herman’s well-loved score. When the time comes, a way off we hope, for Peters to move on, director Jerry Zaks will surely find another Dolly (one survey says fans want to see Dolly Parton in the part), and in all likelihood, my next question will be, “Bernadette, who?”

The New York Times
Review: The ‘Dolly’ Parade Marches On, Now With a New Star
HELLO, DOLLY! NYT Critic’s Pick Broadway, Musical, Musical 2 hrs. and 35 min. Open Run Shubert Theater, 225 W. 44th St. 212-239-6200
By JESSE GREENFEB. 22, 2018 Read More

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

7 Predictions for the Theater in 2018

7 Predictions for the Theater in 2018
Editorial Staff • Broadway • Jan 1, 2018

You can’t see the future, but if you stop and listen, you can hear which way the wind is blowing. With that in mind, here are seven predictions from TheaterMania about the trends and ideas that will shape the theater in the coming year:

1. More A-List Musicians Will Play Broadway
Bruce Springsteen is changing the game at the Walter Kerr Theatre. While numerous high-profile musicians have created “theatri-concerts” for the Broadway stage — a list that ranges from the likes of Bette Midler to Duran Duran — Springsteen’s solo show, complete with dark, brooding monologues about his life and new acoustic takes on his extensive song catalogue, plays more like Billy Crystal’s introspective 700 Sundays than a career retrospective highlighting his greatest hits.

Springsteen on Broadway is a cash cow, with the intense demand for tickets resulting in every single show selling out (to the point that the run has been extended through the end of June). High-profile artists have always been interested in shifting the paradigm of what audiences expect, and viewers are obviously eager to see their heroes perform in intimate settings. In 2018, we’re predicting that more A-list musicians will follow suit and create intimate concerts of their own. Here’s looking at you, Gaga.

2. The ’90s Are Back
We all know Broadway loves recycling successful properties from the mainstream worlds of entertainment, with recent examples including Anastasia, SpongeBob SquarePants, and the upcoming Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Besides success on the Great White Way, the other factor these examples have in common, of course, is that they were entertainment staples for children of the ’90s.

As the adults who grew up on Rugrats start creating rug rats (and expendable income) of their own, it makes sense for Broadway to capitalize on millennials’ nostalgia by providing kid-friendly shows that they can enjoy with their offspring. There are examples of this continuing phenomenon already on the horizon, with Mean Girls opening this spring and surely more to come. So if you’re not feeling ready for a Sonic the Hedgehog musical, it’s about time to dust of your Sega, crack open a can of Surge, and get ready for the all-singing, all-dancing return of the ’90s.

3. Adaptations Will Become Looser in an Effort to Meet the Sensibilities of 2018
Broadway producers love nothing more than plucking proven properties from the film archives, finding a creative team to work its musical theater magic, and coming out the other side with a crowd-pleasing hit that runs for years. But while titles like the Broadway-bound Pretty Woman might start with a leg up in terms of name recognition, screen-to-stage adaptations are facing their own Everest that keeps getting steeper.

In 1990, audiences were ready and willing to swoon over a silver-haired millionaire rescuing a young prostitute with untapped potential from a future of streetwalking. In the #MeToo era of 2017-18, however, that story — among others with similarly outmoded romantic tropes — will have a much harder time appealing to audiences with keener sensitivities to stereotypes, female representation, and overarching gender and racial diversity.

Artists will have to tick all of these boxes if they want to be embraced by fans and endorsed by critics — so that means these decades-old stories are going to have to get a modern tune-up. We’re predicting this will mean musicals with weaker resemblances to their source material but perhaps finished products that finally pass the Bechdel test.

4. Multilingual Theater Will Bridge the Gap Between Communities
Multilingual theater has appeared on Broadway through the years, but it started to become more mainstream after Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights, and the crossover continued with the revival of West Side Story in which select songs were translated (by Miranda) into Spanish.

Currently, The Band’s Visit is performed predominantly in English but also includes Hebrew and Arabic spoken onstage, while the Public Theater’s recent Oedipus El Rey reimagined a centuries-old Greek play in English and Spanish. Yiddish was also heard on Broadway in last season’s production of “Indecent.” This spring will see a Broadway revival of Mark Medoff’s Children of a Lesser God, in which characters use American Sign Language to communicate (A.S.L. was also featured in the recent Broadway revival of ”Spring Awakening”).

Regional theater is getting on board with multilingual productions as well. At the Colony Theatre in Miami Beach, Michel Hausmann’s Miami New Drama opened its season with a trilingual production of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town performed in English, Spanish, and Creole. The company will continue with a Latinx riff on Miss Julie called Queen of Basel.

We predict that in 2018, the theater industry will further bridge the gap with even more multilingual productions of new plays and musicals as well as the classics, appealing to all audiences that make up this melting pot of a country.

5. Theater Awards Committees Will Reconsider the Value of Gender-Specific Categories
As American society continues to embrace broader, more diverse ideas about gender and identity, the way we recognize excellence in the theater world will have to evolve too. Traditional award categories recognize exceptional performances by actors and actresses, but not all performers identify themselves according to the male-female binary. A transgender performer, for example, whose work deserves award recognition should not be forced to accept an award that does not agree with their gender identity, however they define it for themselves.

That’s why we predict that in 2018, theater award committees will begin serious discussion about how to replace actor and actress categories with gender-neutral labels. This sea change will not take place overnight, but the time is ripe for us to scrutinize the reasons we recognize performance excellence based on gender in the first place and for coming up with new ways to honor the theater’s top talent without taking an artist’s sex chromosomes into account.

6. End-of-Times Dramas Will Become All the Rage
Nuclear war. Climate change. D.I.Y. terrorism. The news on any given day already sounds like the first act of an apocalyptic drama, so how long before the mayhem transfers to the stage? Spoiler alert: It already has. Lucy Kirkwood’s The Children, set in the wake of a nuclear disaster, premiered last year at London’s Royal Court Theatre and opened on Broadway earlier this month. We’re guessing more worst-case-scenario plays will follow in 2018. They may, like The Children, be new works or, like the production of Samuel Beckett’s Endgame at Los Angeles’s Kirk Douglas Theatre last year, timely revivals. Either way, expect to be discomfited.

7. Playwrights and Directors Will Traffic in Truth and Lies
In the era of “alternative facts” and “fake news,” it is often difficult to know who is telling you the truth, who is lying to you, and who is just regurgitating the lies they themselves credulously consumed. In an effort to reflect this disturbing trend, theater makers will blur the line between fact and fiction onstage. Rajiv Joseph is already doing that in his epic Russian history play, Describe the Night, which weaves verified history, myth, and conspiracy theories into one fascinating narrative. Directors will also start breaking down the unspoken, trust-based conventions of the theater (curtains, house lights, applause) in order to make audiences viscerally feel the sensations of confusion and doubt. Lee Sunday Evans did that stunningly in the New York debut of Christopher Chen’s Caught last year. America’s leading artists seem poised to grapple with the notion of the truth as we do the same in our society at large.

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

VIDEO: Take a Closer Look at Broadway’s HELLO, DOLLY! Vinyl Edition

Broadway World
VIDEO: Take a Closer Look at Broadway’s HELLO, DOLLY! Vinyl Edition
by BWW News Desk
Nov. 17, 2017

Masterworks Broadway is celebrating the release of The New Broadway Cast Recording of Hello, Dolly! starring three-time Grammy Award-winning legend Bette Midler as Dolly Gallagher Levi on vinyl. Watch the video below to get a closer look at all the features, including a 20-page book with production shots, lyrics and liner notes, cover art tributing the 1964 Broadway cast album and more!

Produced by multiple-Grammy Award winner Steven Epstein, with a cast of 37 and 28 musicians, you can order the vinyl edition now on Amazon. The recording features 16 songs, including “Penny In My Pocket,” a song restored for this production. Jerry Herman‘s Tony-winning score is heard in a new orchestration by Larry Hochman.

As previously announced, Ms. Midler will play the final performance of her history-making run in Hello, Dolly! on Sunday, January 14, 2018. Six days later, on Saturday evening, January 20, two-time Tony Award winner Ms. Peters takes on the iconic role of Dolly Gallagher Levi.

Tony Award winner Gavin Creel and Tony Award nominee Kate Baldwin have extended their runs in Hello, Dolly!, set to costar with theatrical legend and two-time Tony Award winner Peters. On January 20, Ms. Peters, Mr. Creel, and Ms. Baldwin will be joined by recently announced co-stars, four-time Tony Award nominee and six-time Emmy Award nominee Victor Garber as Horace Vandergelder and Olivier Award nominee Charlie Stemp who will be making his Broadway debut as Barnaby Tucker.

This production of Michael Stewart and Jerry Herman‘s Hello, Dolly! instantly became the most coveted ticket of the year when it broke the record for best first day of ticket sales in Broadway history. By the time it began previews, it had the largest pre-performance advance sale in Broadway history. In addition to Mr. Creel’s Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, Hello, Dolly! won three other Tonys, including Best Revival of a Musical, Best Actress in a Musical (Bette Midler), and Best Costume Design of a Musical (Santo Loquasto), and has continued to break the Shubert Theatre house box office record over and over and over and over again.

Directed by four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks and choreographed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle, Hello, Dolly! began performances on Broadway on March 15, 2017, and officially opened on Thursday, April 20, 2017.

This Hello, Dolly!, the first new production of the classic musical (based on Thornton Wilder‘s The Matchmaker) to appear on Broadway since it opened more than fifty years ago, pays tribute to the work of its original director/ choreographer Gower Champion, which has been hailed both then and now as one of the greatest stagings in musical theater history.

VIDEO: Take a Closer Look at Broadway's HELLO, DOLLY! Vinyl Edition
Click Here to Watch the Video!

Hello Dolly – Vinyl

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Carol Channing Denies She Will Play Hello, Dolly! Matinees

Carol Channing Denies She Will Play Hello, Dolly! Matinees
JUL 12, 2016


Carol Channing’s fans will be disappointed to learn that Broadway’s original will definitely not be playing matinees in the upcoming revival of Hello, Dolly!, starring Bette Midler.

New York Post columnist Cindy Adams reported July 11 that Bette Midler, star of the upcoming Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly!, would let Channing, 95, play two matinees per week in the production.

Though Adams quoted both the producer Scott Rudin and the publicist Rick Miramontez emphatically denying the story, Adams wrote, “A rumor. Rumor. Just a rumor. You won’t believe it. I don’t believe it. No one who’s in their right mind should believe it. But being burbled is — ready? — Bette will let Channing — age 95! — do two matinees weekly.”

Channing put the kibosh on that rumor with the following statement to Playbill.com July 12: “At no point has the topic of my filling in on matinees been discussed, with either the production company or with Bette. In fact, I find the very suggestion to be an insult to Bette.”

Four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks will direct, and Tony winner Warren Carlyle will choreograph the production, which will begin Broadway previews March 13, 2017, and open April 20 at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre.

Here is Channing singing “Before the Parade Passes By” at the 1971 Tony Awards:

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Playbill: Carol Channing Reflects On History-Making Dolly! and Her Recent Visit With Bette Midler

Carol Channing Reflects On History-Making Dolly! and Her Recent Visit With Bette Midler
JUN 15, 2016


In January of this year, plans were announced to bring the long-running, Broadway hit Hello, Dolly! back to Broadway next spring, with Bette Midler set to star as the determined matchmaker first created by Thornton Wilder and memorialized in music by Jerry Herman.

The role and show, however, are forever linked to (if not downright owned by) Carol Channing, who created the role of Dolly Levi in the 1964 musical adaptation. The unstoppable show business pro, whose instantly recognizable persona and charisma harken back to a Broadway of another era, responded to Playbill.com’s questions about her initial work with Herman on the original production, her love for the role of Dolly and her recent in-person meeting with Midler.

What do you remember about getting the call that you had been cast as Dolly Levi? What was your reaction to the news?
Carol Channing: It wasn’t actually a call. I met with Gower Champion and [producer] Mr. Merrick, who immediately told me to go over to Jerry’s apartment and start working on the music. We worked very late, and the neighbors started to complain about the hour. I wasn’t completely certain that I had been hired until I was given a rehearsal schedule. I think they all assumed I knew.

How would you describe working with Jerry Herman on that very first Dolly?
CC: Ohhhh Jerry! Well, he is the most brilliant man, you know. He is so amazing. You give him any subject and a situation and he’ll have a song for you in minutes.

You didn’t miss a performance of Hello, Dolly! How did you keep healthy and keep up your energy? Read More

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Spring Picnic 2016

Daily Mail
Bette Midler is sensational at 70 in black top and flares as she poses with designer Michael at charity picnic
PUBLISHED: 02:20 EST, 2 June 2016 | UPDATED: 02:36 EST, 2 June 2016


She is known to her fans as the Divine Miss M.

And Bette Midler certainly lived up to her moniker as she cosied up to designer Michael Kors at a charity event in New York on Wednesday.

The singer and actress looked in fine form indeed as she posed up with the clothing guru at her New York Restoration Project’s Spring Picnic at the upmarket Morris-Jumel Mansion

The 70-year-old Hocus Pocus favourite was looked great for her age in an off-the-shoulder knitwear top, ostentatious white flares and trendy black leather platform shoes.


Wind Beneath My Wings legend Bette, who started her career singing in a local gay bathhouse, completed her look with a trendy pair of blue-tinted spectacles.

Designer Michael, 56, who is worth $1 billion, looked a million dollars in a black suit jacket, blue jeans and leather shoes.

While she is getting on in years, Bette is certainly not slowing down when it comes to her career.


For she is gearing up to star opposite Frasier hunk David Hyde Pierce in the upcoming Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly!

The musical tells the story of matchmaker and schemer Dolly Levi who receives her toughest challenge yet when a rich grump seeks a suitable wife. It’s a musical version of Thornton Wilder’s play “The Matchmaker.”


The show features a rousing score by Jerry Herman that’s bursting with joy and tunes like “Put On Your Sunday Clothes,” ”Before the Parade Passes By” and “It Only Takes a Moment.”

Performances on Broadway begin on March 13, 2017, with an official opening night of April 20, 2017.


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