‘Hello, Dolly!’ Kicks Off Summer of Kennedy Center Musicals
Well, hello again, Dolly!
Dolly (Gallagher) Levi, the inveterate multitasker, matchmaker, busybody and eternal optimist from turn-of-the-century New York, is indeed back in town.
As embodied — and that’s the right word — by Broadway legend Betty Buckley, she’s settled in at the Kennedy Center Opera House through July 7 in a new production of “Hello, Dolly!” directed with energy and pizzazz by veteran Jerry Zaks, arriving in a blaze of old and new glory, including four Tony Awards (Best Revival of a Musical among them) in 2017.
This production — which has already starred Bette Midler and Bernadette Peters on Broadway — kicks off a summer of Kennedy Center musicals that pretty much covers the world of American musicals in terms of its range, diversity, joys and conundrums. There’s the Lincoln Center Theater production of “Falsettos” from June 11 to 23, the original and brand-new “The Band’s Visit” from July 9 to Aug. 4, “Aladdin” (by way of Disney) from July 18 to Sept. 7 and “Dear Evan Hansen” from Aug. 6 to Sept. 8.
Based on Thornton Wilder’s play “The Matchmaker,” “Hello, Dolly!” brings with it a trail of serendipity, including the persona of Buckley, a classic Broadway star, meshing with the part of Dolly perfectly, following in a tradition that goes back to the show’s opening in 1965.