HELLO, DOLLY! starring Bette Midler opened on Broadway last night, and the critics are raving! Here’s what they had to say:
Ben Brantley, The New York Times: HELLO, DOLLY! Is Bright, Brassy and All Bette! Ms. Midler brings such comic brio – both barn-side broad and needlepoint precise – to the task of playing with her food that I promise you it stops the show. Then again, pretty much everything Ms. Midler does stops the show. As for that much anticipated moment when she puts on fire-engine red plumes and sequins to lead a cakewalk of singing waiters, well, let’s just hope that this show’s producers have earthquake insurance… After two acts of fending off Dolly’s charms, Horace finds himself proclaiming, in happy defeat, “Wonderful woman!” Nobody is about to argue with him.
Jesse Green, Vulture: In the long line of memorable Dollys I’ve seen or heard — from the alienoid Carol Channing to the louche Pearl Bailey to the enameled Barbra Streisand — Midler is by far the most natural and inviting… a perfect, once-in-a-lifetime Dolly.
Roma Torre, NY1: You know all those HELLO, DOLLY! ads making it sound like Bette Midler is the second coming? Well, believe them. She morphs into the role of the beloved matchmaker with a star power that brightens the universe… The moment Bette enters, there’s an electricity that courses through the theatre… Under Jerry Zaks’ masterful direction, this screwball of a show bounces from scene to scene with joyful abandon.
Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times: A Match that makes for Broadway Heaven! Half the fun of seeing Midler and Pierce face off as Dolly and Vandergelder comes from watching two pros at the top of their game. An electric current of comic ingenuity runs between them… The choreography by Warren Carlyle helps to preserve all that made Gower Champion’s original staging so legendary. The fertility of imagination on display, the way trains and trolleys, dinner plates and canned goods, tuxedos and feathered hats become momentary dance partners, is breathtaking. It’s not just the cast members themselves but the entire production that springs to animation when the music plays.
Adam Feldman, TimeOut New York: ★★★★★ It’s hard to imagine a better match of actor and role: It is, in a word, perfection… From the rousing overture on, everything about the production, directed with joyful aplomb by Jerry Zaks, gleams with old-fashioned charm. Jerry Herman’s exuberant score is a show-tune bonanza, and Warren Carlyle’s choreography distills showbiz dancing to its essence.
Christopher Kelly, NJ.com: The new revival of Jerry Herman’s 1964 HELLO, DOLLY! starring Bette Midler is so surpassingly beautiful, propelled by such glorious razzle-dazzle, and crafted with such joy and intelligence that it deserves to be studied, emulated and above all celebrated. This is what Broadway is all about.
Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune: No one in the building that night had the slightest interest in being anywhere else but in that room. With this adored star. In this beloved show.
Matt Windman, amNY: Bette Midler shines in this glorious Broadway revival… The production (directed by Jerry Zaks and choreographed by Warren Carlyle) lovingly recreates the look and feel of Gower Champion’s iconic 1964 production, bursting at the seams with old-fashioned showmanship, hyperkinetic energy and stylized movement. Jerry Herman’s songs (“Put on Your Sunday Clothes,” “Before the Parade Passes By,” the title song) are as glorious and catchy as ever.
Robert Kahn, NBC New York: Hearing Midler sing “Hello, Dolly!” is such a tingly experience that you eventually sit back down and wonder: Is this what it was like when Carol Channing debuted DOLLY! on Broadway half a century ago? And, was Midler put on Earth to carry forth that legacy? It sure feels that way. This HELLO, DOLLY! is as blissful an escape as anyone could want… a sumptuous balance between realism and misty nostalgia.
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter: This deluxe revival of HELLO, DOLLY! is about as good as it gets, crowned by star casting that fits like a glove. I can’t recall the last time I felt a crowd so frothed up with excitement at a Broadway show… What’s more astonishing is that the enthusiasm never wanes, sending wave upon wave of love across the footlights for two and a half vigorously entertaining hours… Director Jerry Zaks’ production, in which he and choreographer Warren Carlyle pay adoring homage to Gower Champion’s original staging, matches Midler’s life-giving work every step of the way. That goes for the gorgeous designs of Santo Loquasto, with their quaint painted backcloths conjuring yesteryear in New York and suburban Yonkers, and period costumes full of wit and fantasy; to the candy kiss of Natasha Katz’s lighting; and the lush sounds of Larry Hochman’s orchestrations, doing full justice to a Jerry Herman score stuffed to the gills with great songs. It applies even more to the first-rate cast, with principals and chorus all performing at the top of their game.
Linda Winer, Newsday: It is the happiness exuded by Midler that makes this first-rate revival of Jerry Herman’s 1964 chestnut so delightful and, yes, so deeply touching.
Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Daily News: They don’t make ’em like they used to – and that goes double for Broadway’s dazzling revival of HELLO, DOLLY!, thanks to the show itself and its above-the-title supernova, Bette Midler. Frankly, there ought to be another exclamation point. The show, the best musical Tony winner of 1964, is an old-school comic jewel filled with great songs… Type out all the superlatives you can because nights like this in the theater — in which tingles continue from overture to final bow at the Shubert Theatre — make you feel overjoyed.
Tim Teeman, The Daily Beast: With big hats, the best song and dance numbers, and sheer, unbridled joy, Bette Midler and company helm a fantastic revival of HELLO, DOLLY! The sheer joy of HELLO, DOLLY! starts immediately, thanks to a fine orchestra, led by Andy Einhorn, who immediately make the atmosphere in the theatre thrum and shimmer. And then Dolly, and the waiters, perform “Hello, Dolly!”… it is as immaculate, dream-like, and deliciously mad as the best kind of musical scene should be.
Peter Marks, Washington Post: as Midler reveals, in a performance pitched as perfectly as a Sandy Koufax no-hitter, DOLLY in the right hands is unalloyed joy.
Charles Isherwood, Broadway News: Midler serves up a star performance of glowing luster, rambunctious clowning and, on just a few occasions, surprising emotional delicacy. A star shines best when there are strong talents around her to reflect her light, and Midler has been so surrounded here.
Maya Stanton, Entertainment Weekly: How to describe a force of nature? A blockbuster success even before the curtain went up on opening night, the new revival of HELLO, DOLLY! marks legendary performer Bette Midler’s highly anticipated return to Broadway, and thanks to a top-notch cast and an award-laden production team, it more than justifies the hype… An impeccable blend of spectacle and star power, this DOLLY! is classic Broadway at its best.
Congratulations to the entire cast and crew of HELLO, DOLLY! on Broadway!
HELLO, DOLLY! is available for licensing exclusively through Tams-Witmark. If you’d like to present the show at your school or theatre, check out our HELLO, DOLLY! page for more info.