‘Hello, Dolly!’ revival exemplifies classic

Hello, Betty!

Classy Broadway staple and TV star Betty Buckley fills the shoes of Dolly Gallagher Levi with joy in the national tour of “Hello, Dolly!” onstage the Golden Gate Theatre.

Some 55 years after the beloved late Carol Channing created her career-long role on Broadway, and following Bette Midler’s Tony-winning portrayal in the 2017 revival, Buckley plays the famed matchmaker (based on the 19th century-set play by Thornton Wilder) with a twinkle in her eye, steady vocals and knowing insight.

With an appealing quiet flair for physical comedy, she milks the laughs, too, licking her chops, munching on a turkey bone in a courtroom after the mayhem in Harmonia Gardens restaurant, among musical theater’s most classic scenes.

Directed by Jerry Zaks, this spot-on production exemplifies the meaning of classic, bringing to vivid life Jerry Herman’s unforgettable score (from the title tune to the imminently hummable “Before the Parade Passes By”) and Michael Stewart’s book, which brilliantly balances vaudeville schtick, sentiment and wisdom.

And while the focus of this warhorse (though a major production hasn’t been in the Bay Area in recent years) is on Dolly, the enduring show boasts a full cast of equally appealing characters, played to perfection here.

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