"Sing Out, Louise!" Our Top Ten Musical Theatre Diva Vehicles

By Ben Rimalower
05 Aug 2013

Carol Channing in Hello Dolly!
photo by Joan Marcus

5. Hello, Dolly!/Mame

All right, I'm cheating by sandwiching together Hello, Dolly! and Mame, but is anyone really going to complain about this sandwich? The belting, the comedy, the eyelashes! (And that's just the chorus boys!) Those star-driven 1960s I was just talking about reached their pinnacle with the landmark, long runs of Hello, Dolly! and Mame on Broadway. According to legend, no one could ever touch the larger-than-life, over-the-top stage presence of Carol Channing and Angela Lansbury in those roles, but that didn't stop millions of theatregoers from reveling in the magnificence of Pearl Bailey, Ethel Merman, Mary Martin, Ann Miller, Phyllis Diller, Celeste Holm, Ginger Rogers and the many other actresses who stepped into these juggernauts. It's time to pass on the torch once again. I know who's got my vote.