A Celebration of the Women (and a few Good Men!) who Have Played Dolly...and those that Have Supported Them!
On January 16, 1964, “Hello, Dolly!” starring Carol Channing opened on Broadway at the St. James Theatre. The musical, about a meddling matchmaker and a curmudgeonly “half-a-millionaire” bachelor, sold out instantly. During the Broadway musical’s original seven-year run, it had critical and popular success, winning 10 Tony Awards at the 18th Annual Tonys (out of eleven nominations). Dolly became Channing’s signature role. However, throughout the show’s original 2,844 performances, many legendary actresses went on to play the legendary part, including Pearl Bailey, Phyllis Diller and Ethel Merman.
Until this pandemic stopped the parade, new chapters were being added daily to this ongoing love fest. Betty Buckley did a two year National tour after the most recent Broadway revival that brought us Bette Midler, Bernadette Peters, and Donna Murphy. Buckley's stint was followed by Carolee Carmello. And just this summer, Imelda Staunton will take on this iconic role. It is always nice to have her back where she belongs...on the stage. And we look forward to the next 60 years as soon as the next actress is able to put her hand in making the role fit her like a new glove.
Richard Skipper started this project in January of 2011 to celebrate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the opening at Hello, Dolly! (January 16th 1964 is the official opening night on Broadway)
This site is a Living Book (Thank you, Skip Koenig for this description) is a celebration of the women (and a few good men) who have given life to Dolly Levi in various productions of both Hello, Dolly and The Matchmaker AND the supporting players both son stage and behind the scenes.
This site covers nine years of interviews and is based on the first-hand accounts of those who have taken part in this incredible journey. This is not a linear history but more of an oral history. A huge thank you to Glen Charlow and Christopher Vaughn for the look of this site. This site is for the fans of all things Dolly! Your feedback is always welcome.
On January 19, 2016, it was announced that Bette Midler would play the title role in a Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly!. Previews began March 15, 2017, officially opening on April 20, 2017, at the Shubert Theatre. This critically acclaimed and crowd-pleasing star turn of a revival went on to win four 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical.
Getting to know these players both on and off stage has led to the desire to archive their stories in this website,. These experiences of the theater should be remembered by new generations, especially since the theater and how it is performed and perceived is constantly evolving. We will NEVER see that kind of theater and dedication to a particular role ever again. The desire is that the legacy of ALL of the players both on and off-stage to be remembered. The goal is to carry that mantle forward to future artists and theater-goers alike.