1. Hello, Dolly!
It's kind of unbelievable that Hello, Dolly! hasn't been back on Broadway in 20 years. The original 1964 production was a record-breaking hit here, there and everywhere, with productions popping up all over the globe. Original star Carol Channing rarely ceased to tour in the role and revived the show on Broadway herself both in the 1970s and the 1990s. In all honesty, I wonder if some of the hesitance to bring Hello, Dolly! back has been out of deference to the great Channing—as if just maybe the lady herself might deign to don the red dress one more glorious time. God bless her, she is still with us (and still glowin', still crowin', still goin' strong), but it's safe to say the part is now up for grabs. Per the rumor mill, Jerry Herman chose Patti LuPone, but then rejected Jack O'Brien's directorial concept. Really, Jer? It's not like it was John Doyle suggesting Dolly blow her own whistles and crash her own cymbals before the parade passes by. Jack O'Brien is the wise rock behind Hairspray and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the man who's good enough for Tom Stoppard. Who do you want? Roger De Bris? One way or another, Hello, Dolly! has to come back, and the good news is there are lots of people who could do it well. Of course, no one could do it as well as Patti LuPone (and she would nail the songs that were added for both Ethel Merman and Barbra Streisand).
(Ben Rimalower is the author and original star of the critically acclaimed Patti Issues, currently on a worldwide tour. His new solo play, Bad with Money, begins performances Sept. 4 at The Duplex in NYC. Read Playbill's coverage of the show here. Visit him at benrimalower.com and follow @benrimalower on Twitter.)
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