Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly!/New York Lifestyles Magazine
Dear Theatre Fans,
Get on the bus*, even for a day, to New York City to see Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly! before she leaves the show in January.
The Divine Miss M is 71 which just goes to show you how young 70 is. (Speak for yourself.)
Hello, Dolly! is Ms. Midler's first leading role in a Broadway musical which earned her this year's Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. The show won three more Tonys (Best Revival of a Musical, Costume Design, and Gavin Creel won for Best Featured Actor in a Musical). It was nominated for six more.
Fans, it happened one night in New York (and maybe, more), that some audience members stood up in their seats, cheered, and applauded the performance in the middle of the show. More than once. Several times. That was a first for me.
I've read Bette Midler's replacement, Donna Murphy, is fabulous, and congrats to Ms. Murphy, but, right now (save Tuesdays and some other dates) it's the Divine Miss M whose spell over the audience is unmistakable. She transmits her magic across the stage and envelopes the spellbound in her rapture.
She loves the role. And so do her fellow actors. The electrical connection between performers and guests is undeniable. Everyone has a good time and joins the celebration, but I don't want to go overboard.
When the orchestra started up, I knew the music must be a recording since the sounds were too perfect for live. Wrong. Conductor Andy Einhorn elicits magnificent production by all. But, lest I exaggerate.
Speaking of costumes: Hold your breath for colors and design au spectaculaire. (Costume designer Santo Loquasto won the Tony.) Folks, it's the 1890s with colors and luxurious costumes to admire. Hats, yellow suits, orange suits, green, you name it. So many to see! So many dancers, perfectly in sync (by Warren Carlyle).
Here's how the Guide to Musical Theatre describes the outfits (which includes orange and yellow suits worn by men!)
Turn of the century: New York City and Yonkers. Bright, cartoon costumes of the dress and styles of the period. (Ruffled dresses, large hats, parasols, striped pants, vests, spats, waistcoats), shopkeeper smocks, horse costume, green waiter suits with white aprons, floor-length evening dresses, lodge uniform, tights, high-button shoes, parade costumes (police, sports club, dance-hall girls, opera Association etc.), male formal suit and evening cape, "Hello, Dolly" evening dress, sailor dress, traveling clothes
On her website Bette Midler says: “I just want to say that revival is an interesting word. It means that something is near death and it’s been brought back to life. Hello, Dolly! never really went away. It has been here all along. It’s in our DNA. It’s optimism, it’s democracy, it’s color, it’s love of life. It’s hilarity. This is a classic. Come and see it. It’s not just me! This has the ability to life your spirits in these terrible, terrible times.”
More applause is due Ms. Midler for her sponsorship of charities and adoption of highways on the east and west coasts for the Adopt-A-Highway project.
Thank you, Bette Midler and Director Jerry Zaks!
(*My fav bus line is the Vamoose Gold.)
Tickets are here and other places. (Check the Web.) Better hurry. Several dates are sold out.
When: Matinees at 2 p.m. on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Tuesday and Thursday night shows begin at 7 p.m. Other nights, 8 p.m. No shows on Mondays and most Sunday eves. Remember, Ms. Midler does not perform on Tuesday and some other nights.
Where: Sam S. Shubert Theatre, 225 W. 44th St., New York City, 10036
Duration: 2 hours and 35 minutes, one intermission