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Showtune Sunday: Channing, Merman & Streisand versions of “Before the Parade Passes By”,_Dolly!3_crop.jpg/220px-Hello,_Dolly!3_crop.jpgIn the superb documentary Carol Channing: Larger Than Life, the Tony Award winning star of Hello Dolly and composer Jerry Herman talk about how the legendary musical got terrible reviews on the road before its Broadway debut.

Then Herman came up with the show-stopping number Before the Parade Passes By, which greatly elevated the show and tied the story together.  He woke Channing up at 3 a.m. at the hotel where the company was staying and had her sing it. They then woke up director Gower Champion.

The rest is history.

While Channing is the original Dolly Levi, she was not the only Dolly. Barbra Streisand played the role in the 1969 film version and Ethel Merman, for whom the show was originally written, who finally stepped into the role near the end of its seven-year Broadway run.

Here are three of the Dollys singing Before the Parade Passes By.


FILE UNDER: Showtune Sunday


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

5 Remarks

  1. What a treat to hear the great Merm sing one of Dolly’s songs. And couldn’t help notice that three legends were on one show: Merman, Jerry and the legendary Lucille Ball. What an era that was! I’m sure people took it for granted. These legends were a staple of television.

  2. I’ll never understand why EVERY Broadway production is not Filmed, so that we have these great Stars and their great performances on record!
    Gone is Gone. And I agree with Paul 100%!! REAL Talent dies with the passing of each and every REAL Star.


  3. Bruce Wayne:

    Yes, it would be awesome if every Broadway production was filmed for future generations to enjoy over and over. However, I assume the big problem is residuals and royalties. Probably many of the stage actors do not belong to the film or TV unions. It all comes down to money, everyone would want a large chunk of the pie including producers and directors etc. At least we have clips and highlights available. From this point forward the clip/partial recordings will probably be in high def, so that is good.

    PS – Re: Dolly – Channing was wonderful on stage as Dolly but she would probably be difficult to take on screen for 2.5 hours. Streisand was perhaps too young, slightly miscast but she sang the hell out of that score. Her versions of the Dolly songs were/are spectacular.

  4. How about Pearl Bailey?
    Youtube only got a very short segment of this song by Bailey. I heard that the full clip exists on DVD. You can get another song by Bailey from Youtube : So long dearie which is also quite good.

  5. Having heard all three, Channing made it her song.

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