Bette Midler will return to Broadway in Hello, Dolly!

Tom Millward
Tom Millward

Producer Scott Rudin has announced that Tony Award, three-time Emmy, three-time Golden Globe winner and two-time Oscar nominee Bette Midler will return to the Broadway stage. She will take on the iconic role of Dolly Gallagher Levi in a Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly!, directed by four-time Tony winner Jerry Zaks, which will begin previews on 13 March 2017, before an official opening on 20 April 2017.

Ms Midler released the following statement:

"I am looking forward to portraying one of the most beloved characters in all of American Musical Comedy, Dolly Levi, born Gallagher, in Hello, Dolly! I know I'm going to have the time of my life, and I am so glad to be under the wings of Scott Rudin as Producer and Jerry Zaks as Director. See you next year!"
Hello, Dolly! features a book by Michael Stewart, and music & lyrics by Jerry Herman.

Mr Herman commented:

"Many times through the years I've been asked about bringing back Hello, Dolly! - and it has always been, 'Who would be my dream Dolly?' - and though I've had literally dozens of names tossed at me, I knew that we needed more than just a wonderful singer or a wonderful actor, so I held on to the hope that she would also be a distinctly original persona. Who is out there that has the necessary stature, warmth, the incredible talent and ability, and especially the singular, outsized personality that I was looking for in a 21st Century Dolly? Only one person: Bette Midler. Only Bette could bring Dolly brilliantly back to 'the lights of 14th Street!'"
This production will feature choreography by Tony winner Warren Carlyle, based on the original work by Gower Champion.

Mr Carlyle added:

"I'm so inspired by the Golden Age of American musical theater. It couldn't possibly get any better than Hello, Dolly! I am honored and humbled to pay homage to the groundbreaking, innovative vision of Gower Champion. To have the opportunity to work with the legendary talent Bette Midler, as she takes her rightful place alongside the jaw-dropping list of women who have played this role, is nothing short of awe-inspiring."
Synopsis: "At the turn of the 20th century, all of New York City is excited because widowed but brassy Dolly Gallagher Levi (Midler) is in town. Dolly makes a living primarily through matchmaking and is currently seeking a wife for grumpy Horace Vandergelder, the well-known half-a-millionaire, but it becomes clear that Dolly intends to marry Horace herself."

Venue, additional casting and creative team information will be announced at a later date.

Hello, Dolly! first premiered on Broadway at the St James Theatre in 1964, picking up a grand total of 10 Tony Awards, including "Best Musical." It has since been revived three times - 1975 at the Minskoff Theatre, and 1978 and 1995 both at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. A film adaptation was released in 1969, directed by Gene Kelly and starring Barbra Streisand.

Bette Midler made her Broadway debut in the 1964 Broadway premiere of 'Fiddler on the Roof.' Since then she has starred in various special events on the Great White Way including a self-titled concert series in 1973 (for which she was awarded a Special Tony Award), 'Bette Midler's Clams on the Half Shell Revue' in 1975, 'Bette! Divine Madness' in 1979-80, and the one-woman play 'I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers' in 2013. She also acted as producer for the 2011-12 musical comedy 'Priscilla Queen of the Desert.' On screen she was nominated for the Academy Award for "Best Actress in a Leading Role" for "The Rose" in 1980 and "For The Boys" in 1992. She picked up Golden Globes for those movies as well as for her performance as Mama Rose in the TV adaptation of "Gypsy" in 1994. Other notable screen credits include "Beaches," "Hocus Pocus," "The First Wives Club," and "The Stepford Wives," amongst many others. As a recording artist she has earned three Grammy Awards, along with a further nine nominations and has released a total of 14 studio albums to date.

- by Tom Millward

Bette Midler

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