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Showtune Sunday: All About ‘Hello, Dolly!’

Hello, Dolly! won Best Revival at last weekend’s Tony Awards and it’s star, Bette Midler, won for Best Lead Actress in a Musical. This got me thinking about the other Dollys over the years. There’s the original, of course, and that’s Carol Channing. Then there was Pearl Bailey who was a sensation on Broadway and Ethel Merman who was the final Dolly when the original Broadway production ended its long run. Merman had been offered the show at the beginning but turned it down. Then there was the movie version which, of course, should have gone to Channing but instead went to a far too young Barbra Streisand. Here are some of the most famous Dollys through the years.

FILE UNDER: Showtune Sunday


(All comments are reviewed before being published, and I review submissions several times per day.)

3 Remarks

  1. Thanks Greg! What a nice way to start the day. I really think that each one of the ladies brought something wonderful and different to Dolly.

    Interesting enough, the part was originally written with Ethel Merman in mind and she was given fist crack but did not want to commit at that time. She was coming off of Gypsy.

    Carol gets plenty of credit and that is fine, she is wonderful but frankly I don’t think she should have been given the movie. I don’t know for sure what the result might have been but somehow I ultimately think Carol was meant for the stage. Pearl, Bette and all the rest are/were very wonderful as Dolly.

    Although, I do think that Barbra was miscast in the film, she sings the hell out of that score and the movie Dolly CD is magnificent especially compared to Carol’s and Bette’s versions. Streisand gets an A+ for effort and lights up the screen during her scenes. It does not help that most of the supporting characters in the film are mundane and not all that interesting. I guess that was Gene Kelly’s responsibility. Barbra was at her peak and very fresh and alive in the film. Today the film holds up as a huge exaggerated old-fashioned musical that succeeds as what it is, with a great talent at it’s core. Long live all the Dollies!

  2. June 19th, 2017 at 4:28 am
    Jim Steele says:

    Thank goodness Barbra Streisand was cast as Dolly Levi. Her voice was at its peak and gave the score the treatment it deserved. Too young? Perhaps, but she was cast during a period in America where thousands of Vietnam war widows were her age and much younger.

  3. What Max said!

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