Will Carol Channing Sub for Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly! Matinees?

News   Will Carol Channing Sub for Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly! Matinees? Post columnist says so, though production denies it.
Bette Midler and Carol Channing at her home in Palm Springs
Bette Midler and Carol Channing at her home in Palm Springs Photo Courtesy Carol Channing

New York Post columnist Cindy Adams reports that Bette Midler, star of the upcoming Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly!, will let original Dolly Carol Channing, 95, play two matinees per week in the production.

Adams quoted both the producer Scott Rudin and the publicist Rick Miramontez emphatically denying the story. But Adams wrote, “A rumor. Rumor. Just a rumor. You won’t believe it. I don’t believe it. No one who’s in their right mind should believe it. But being burbled is — ready? — Bette will let Channing — age 95! — do two matinees weekly.”

Four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks will direct, and Tony winner Warren Carlyle will choreograph the production, which will begin Broadway previews March 13, 2017, and open April 20 at Broadway's Shubert Theatre.

In an interview with Playbill.com this past spring, Channing, who originated the role of Dolly Gallagher Levi in the 1964 musical by Jerry Herman and Michael Stewart, talked about a one-on-one meeting she had with Midler in Palm Springs, CA, shortly after the revival was announced.

Playbill: Had you met before, or was this the first time?
CC: This was the first time that I had the pleasure of meeting Bette and was very honored that she had asked to meet me.

What was your reaction to Bette's casting?
CC: Inspired. I have never been privileged to see her perform, but her reputation precedes her and she is an excellent addition to the list of Jerry’s Girls.

What did Bette ask you about?
CC: Well, we discussed Dolly’s history and the spine of her story. Well, every character in the show, actually. They are all rejoining the human race, and Dolly is their anchor... or cheerleader.

Do you have any advice for Bette about the role?
CC: No. Bette is a professional. She doesn’t need my advice to make Dolly her own. She will be wonderful and the audience will love her for it!

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