From Carol to Bette... and Beyond
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.
New chapters are added daily in this on going love fest. Right now, Betty Buckley is about to embark on a two year National tour. It is always nice to have her back where she belongs...on the stage.
Richard Skipper started this project in January of 2011 with the hopes of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the opening at Hello, Dolly!
This site and an eventual book 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. This site covers seven 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 (also based on Richard's blog, Richard Skipper Celebrates). This site is for the fans of all things Dolly! Your feedback is always welcome.
Bette Midler returned to Broadway in a revival of Jerry Herman’s beloved musical costarring two-time Tony winner David Hyde Pierce last year, officially opening on April 20th, 2017. 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. When Richard first considered writing a book celebrating the rich history of the players of this landmark musical, he made sure nobody had published anything like it.
Getting to know these players both on and off stage led him to the desire to archive their stories in this website, and eventual book. 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. Richard's goal is to carry that mantle forward to future artists and theater-goers alike.