Thursday, August 10, 2017

On Broadway- Hello, Dolly!

My sons and their girlfriends got me the most thoughtful gift for Christmas- a ticket to see my all-time favorite Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly! The tickets are hard to get, especially since Bette Midler, who won the Tony this year for her spectacular performance, recently announced she will be leaving the show in January.

I had read all the rave reviews and sometimes that makes me feel like it couldn't possibly live up to the hype. I'm happy to say that Hello, Dolly! is even better than you have heard. It's been said that this is the perfect show for these turbulent times, and I agree with that as well.

Everything about this show is glorious. The performances, the sets, the songs, the choreography, and the costumes (oh, those stunning costumes)- they all work together to create an unforgettable theatrical experience. You truly lose yourself in the show.

Bette Midler and Dolly Gallagher Levi are the perfect pairing of performer and role. You just can't imagine anyone else as Dolly. Midler is as hilarious, sly and even poignant as any Irish widowed matchmaker could be.

She has one scene where she is eating a huge turkey leg that just goes on and on, building in laughter until everyone, including actors on stage, can't help but giggle. It reminded me of Jackie Gleason and Art Carney in The Honeymooners. 

The highlight of the show is the title song, where Midler comes out in a radiant red dress, complete with headdress, and sings and dances with the men onstage with such joy, it brought tears to my eyes and gave me goosebumps. She earned a rare midshow standing ovation for that. (And I have found my Halloween costume for this year.)
Oh, that red dress! (Photo by Julia Cervantes- from Hello, Dolly website)

David Hyde Pierce is amazing as Horace Vandergelder, the Yonkers businessman looking for a wife who doesn't stand a chance against Dolly's machinations. Gavin Creel won a well-deserved Tony for his role as Cornelius Hackl, finding love and freedom. I've seen him in more a few shows, and I just think he is wonderful.

Beanie Feldstein turns in a star-making comedic performance in her first Broadway show as Minnie Fay, we will see her again for sure. Kate Baldwin was not performing the day that I went, and Analisa Leaming was terrific as Irene Malloy. Midler brought her out for a special bow at the end, which was so special. Jennifer Simard has a small but unforgettable role as Ernestina, I only wish we had seen more of her; she is comedic wonder.

The choreography for "The Waiters' Gallop" must be mentioned as well. Choreographer Warren Carlyle created a take on Gower Champion's original choreography that left me breathless.

I could go on and on, but suffice to say that this production of Hello, Dolly! is one of the greatest joys to ever hit the Broadway stage and I hope that they will tape this production so that people all over the world have the opportunity to experience it for themselves.

Tickets for Midler's performances are scarce, but if you can find them, this is a must-see. And one final note- please don't take photos during the show. So many people were doing that, and it endangers the performers. The orchestra pit is downstage, so there is a hole in the floor that the performers must avoid. The flash from your cameras can distract them, and one misstep can cause an injury.

The website for Hello, Dolly! is here.

2 comments:

  1. What a wonderful post! We have tickets for early October and I am beyond excited!! Can't wait :)

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  2. What a fabulous gift! I would love to see Midler in that play.

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