Current Tony nominee Bette Midler spoke with Gayle King on a recent CBS Sunday Morning segment to discuss her star turn in the Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly!. Midler took a seat on the other side of the proscenium for a change to reveal why she hasn’t done a Broadway musical since Fiddler on the Roof in 1967.
“I loved [musical theatre] in the days that I was working in it, but it changed,” Midler said. “It changed considerably. It wasn’t musical comedy anymore; it was more musical theatre. It became much more serious. I wanted musical comedy. I wanted to be funny on the stage, and I wanted to be able to sing and dance on the stage.”
The two-time Oscar nominee undoubtedly fulfilled her wish, earning a Tony nomination and various additional accolades for her comedic performance as Dolly Gallagher Levi at the Shubert Theatre. The Jerry Zaks-helmed production has shattered house records as capacities consistently surpass 100 percent.
While Midler is no stranger to delivering emotional performances, she notes that comedy offers something just as effective to enthusiastic crowds. “It is love. It’s joy. Towards the end of the show, when you’ve heard them laughing all night long in a way you haven’t heard a crowd laughing in many, many years, you know that you’ve given them something that nourished their souls in a way.”