Well, Hello Dolly!

On this day in 1964, Hello, Dolly! premiered on Broadway with Carol Channing in the lead role.

The play was based originally on an 1835 English play, A Day Well Spent, by John Oxenford. Johhann Nestroy adapted that into a farce called Einen Jux will er sich machen (He Will Go on a Spree or He’ll Have Himself a Good Time). In 1938, Thornton Wilder adapted the Nestroy play into The Merchant of Yonkers, which was a flop. He later revised it into The Matchmaker in 1955 in which he expanded the role of Dolly, played by Ruth Gordon.

Orignially the role of Dolly Gallagher Levi was written for Ethel Merman who turned it down. Mary Martin also turned it down. Both later played the role.

The role eventually went to Carol Channing who made it her signature role. The show become one of the most iconic Broadway shows. Pearl Baily starred in an all black version of the show in 1967.

The orignial production won a record-tying 10 Tony Wards (tied with South Pacific). That record held until 2001 when Mel Brooks’ The Producers won 12.

Carol Channing won the Tony Award for Best Actress. Also Tony nominated that year was Barbra Streisand for Funny Girl. Streisand would later play Dolly in the film version of the movie and in 1969 won an Oscar for the lead in Funny Girl.

Hello Dolly was revived on Broadway in 2017 with Bette Midler playing the lead. The Revival won the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical. Middler won for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, and Gavin Creel won for best actor.

Summary from Wikipedia.

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