One of Broadway’s greatest anticipations is who would play Dolly Levi in the national tour of Hello, Dolly! Speculations have been all over the board, but today we finally have our answer. Tony Award-winning star of stage and screen, Ms. Betty Buckley will lead the musical’s national tour which is set to commence on October 2, 2018 in the Connor Palace at Cleveland’s Playhouse Square. Like the waiters at Harmonia Gardens restaurant who celebrate the title character, there is much to rejoice about, as Buckley is one of Broadway’s most-beloved talents.
In a statement, Ms. Buckley enthused, “I am so thrilled and happy to be playing Mrs. Dolly Levi in the first national tour of Scott Rudin’s rapturous production of Hello, Dolly!. The great Jerry Zaks has brought such wit and wonderful comedy to this classic Michael Stewart and Jerry Herman show. When I saw the new Broadway production starring the divine Bette Midler, I literally wept with happiness. It was one of the most joyful productions I have ever witnessed in the musical theater! I am delighted and honored to be added to the list of the wonderful actress/singers who have played the role. I can’t wait to hit the road and bring this happy show to all of America!”
Betty Buckley has appeared and starred in many Broadway musicals including her Tony-winning turn as Grizabella in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical sensation Cats where she sang the musical’s most-popular song “Memory.” Other roles include the title character in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, 1776, Song & Dance, Carrie, and Triumph of Love. Television audiences will remember her as Abby Bradford of the popular television series Eight is Enough and her recurring role on the HBO drama Oz. Among her many contributions to film are Carrie, Tender Mercies, and Split. In 2012 she was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame.
Hello, Dolly! is based on the Thornton Wilder play The Matchmaker, about a widow whose business is helping people find love. As she orchestrates several connections in this department, she is systematically aligning the stars so that she can land a second husband for herself. The musical, with a book by Michael Stewart, features a celebrated score by Jerry Herman which includes such standards as “Put on Your Sunday Clothes”, “Before the Parade Passes By”, “It Only Takes a Moment” and the infectious title tune. The original production was directed and choreographed by Gower Champion.
“Led by four-time Tony Award-winning director Jerry Zaks and choreographed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle, the entire creative team of the Broadway production will reprise their roles for the national tour of Hello, Dolly!, including four-time Tony Award winner Santo Loquasto (Scenic & Costume Design), six-time Tony Award winner Natasha Katz (Lighting Design), Tony Award winner Scott Lehrer (Sound Design), Andy Einhorn(Music Direction), Tony Award winner Larry Hochman (Orchestrations), Tony Award winner Don Pippin (Vocal Arrangements), David Chase(Dance Arrangements), and Telsey + Company (Casting).”
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals and maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.