BWW Review: HELLO, DOLLY! at Kentucky Center For The Arts

Hello, Dolly! is a true american classic, and is treated by some as the perfect musical comedy. Like many associate Ethel Mermanwith Gypsy or Anything Goes, the hand prints of the late great Carol Channing are forever integrated into Hello, Dolly‘s legacy. In 2017 it was announced that the show would return to Broadway starring none other than Bette Midler, a worthy successor to Carol Channing. In the Broadway run of this Tony Award winning revival audiences were treated to performances from such greats as Bernadette Peters and Donna Murphy. The trend of star power associated with this revival continues ten-fold with the one and only Broadway legend Betty Buckleytaking her turn in the iconic red feathers.

The performances in this production are all around stunning, but the show is rightfully centered on, and grounded by Betty Buckley‘s career re-defining performance as Dolly Levi. The minute she enters you can’t help but be transfixed on her, she has the kind magnetic quality that I’ve only witnessed a handful of times in my theatre-going life. Her voice is still absolutely incredible and while she hasn’t been known for her comedic chops in the past (Grizabella’s story line in Cats isn’t exactly a laugh riot) she will be from now on. With simple movement and a single look Buckley easily has the audience in stitches. Not only is Betty Buckley turning in a top tier performance, it’s worth noting just how lucky we are to see it. It’s not everyday that Louisville is treated to a Tony Award winning legend leading a grand and lavish golden age musical comedy. Moments like this should be cherished.

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