The Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly! was missing its original leading its lady, but even Bette Midler was surprised by how much. The revered Ms. Midler, who is such a part of what made the revival so successful that the New York Times review was simply titled Bright, Brassy and All Bette, is back in the title role of Dolly Levi as of July 17.
Midler made her entrance on Tuesday night during the song Call on Dolly on a horse-drawn cart, where she’s eventually revealed behind a newspaper. The cast was obviously prepared for a pause in the action as the audience got its enthusiasm out — but nobody looked prepared for the intensity of their reaction:
It’s not often you get a standing ovation in the middle of a show. Even the queen herself, no stranger to standing ovations after five decades on New York’s stages, appears overwhelmed.
Bette Midler returns to Hello, Dolly!
Bette Midler earned pretty much every acting accolade for the role of Dolly Levi, including the 2017 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, before handing over the role to Bernadette Peters in January. Midler will carry the show through its final six weeks before its Broadway run ends on Aug. 25. Also returning is former co-star David Hyde Pierce as Horace Vandergelder.
The Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly! opened in April 20, 2017, with Midler winning unanimous raves from critics — Vulture called her “real source of the warmth and color” of the production. “I am delighted to return to the scene of one of the greatest experiences of my life,” Midler said in a statement when her return was announced. “Dolly Levi is one of the most joyful characters in Broadway history, and Bernadette and I were lucky to to be able to step into her glorious shoes.”
Tickets for the show’s remaining dates are available online, by phone at 212-239-6200, or in person at the Shubert Theatre box office (225 W. 44th St.) A touring production starring Tony winner Betty Buckley is set to open in Cleveland on Oct. 2, 2018.