Lewis will star as matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi in the Seattle production that is scheduled to run March 7-29, 2009. Additional casting has not been announced.
"I'm absolutely thrilled to be joining the 5th Avenue production of Hello, Dolly!," Lewis said in a statement. "I am the luckiest actress in the world to be able to play a role that's been a lifelong dream of mine – and with such an exceptional company. I'm excited, ready, and very, very grateful."
Producing artistic director David Armstrong, who will stage Dolly! for Seattle audiences, said in a statement, "I am delighted that Jenifer will star in our production of Hello, Dolly! This classic musical demands a star who is a consummate performer. She needs to be a great comedian with a thrilling voice who can captivate and delight an audience. Jenifer is all of that and more. I have always thought of her as being like a legendary vaudeville star reincarnated in a contemporary package."
Lewis is one of Bette Midler's former Harlettes and a Broadway actress whose credits include Eubie and Comin' Uptown. She performed her own one-woman show The Diva Is Dismissed at the Public Theater. Lewis currently stars as Motormouth Maybelle in the Broadway production of Hairspray.
Her film and TV work includes "Jackie's Back," "Meet the Browns," "Corrina, Corrina," "Sister Act," "Poetic Justice," Lifetime's "Strong Medicine," "The Preacher's Wife," "Cast Away," and her upcoming vocal role as Mama Odie in the Disney animated feature "The Princess and the Frog." The popular Jerry Herman musical adaptation of Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker, featuring a book by Michael Stewart, earned a record-breaking ten Tony Awards in 1964, including Best Musical. The original production, starring Tony Award winner Carol Channing, played 2,844 performances at the St. James Theatre.
The score features "Put On Your Sunday Clothes," "Ribbons Down My Back," "It Only Takes a Moment," "Dancing," and the title song.
Season package tickets, including Hello, Dolly! at The 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 5th Avenue in downtown Seattle, WA, are available by calling (206) 625-1900 or at the box office. For more information visit 5thavenuetheatre.org.