Review: It’s so nice to have ‘Hello, Dolly!’ touring production here
“Hello, Dolly!” has always felt a little more like “goodbye.” It’s not only set in the twilight of a 19th-century America on the cusp of major change, but bears the air of a final bow for a certain type of old-fashioned musical theater.
When it premiered in 1964, it was already retro as all get out. Jerry Herman’s tunes had a ragtime flavor, several culminating in big, flashy full-cast dance numbers. And then there’s the grande dame of a title role: That aging matchmaker may have made Carol Channing a star, but it soon provided among the last great star turns for Ginger Rogers, Betty Grable, Ethel Merman and Mary Martin.
Which leads us to the touring version of Broadway’s latest revival of “Hello, Dolly!,” which has set down stakes for a fortnight at Minneapolis’ Orpheum Theatre. While the 2017 staging featured Bette Midler in the title role, this tour might out-Broadway Broadway by casting one of the queens of the Great White Way of recent decades, Betty Buckley. Matching her in career Tony nominations is Lewis J. Stadlen, who portrays the client she sets out to marry. Even smaller roles are filled by folks who have played leads on Broadway.