The Divine Miss M is back where she belongs: on Broadway. Bette Midler will return to the Great White Way next year in a new production of Hello, Dolly! directed by four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks with choreography by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle. The production marks the first time a new staging of the musical has appeared on Broadway in more than 50 years.
“Many times through the years I’ve been asked about bringing back Hello, Dolly! – and it has always been, ‘Who would be my dream Dolly?’ – and though I’ve had literally dozens of names tossed at me, I knew that we needed more than just a wonderful singer or a wonderful actor, so I held on to the hope that she would also be a distinctly original persona. Who is out there that has the necessary stature, warmth, the incredible talent and ability, and especially the singular, outsized personality that I was looking for in a 21st Century Dolly? Only one person: Bette Midler,” said composer Jerry Herman in a statement.
“I am looking forward to portraying one of the most beloved characters in all of American Musical Comedy, Dolly Levi, born Gallagher, in Hello, Dolly!” Midler added. “I know I’m going to have the time of my life, and I am so glad to be under the wings of Scott Rudin as producer and Jerry Zaks as director.”
Midler also took to Twitter to share the news.
Yes, I am taking on the role of the beloved Dolly Levi in “Hello, Dolly!”. We open next year on Broadway! So excited!
— Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) January 19, 2016
Midler’s last Broadway appearance was in 2013’s one-woman play I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers, which marked her return to the stage after 40 years. Rehearsals begin one year from Tuesday with Broadway performances starting March 13, 2017, and an official opening night set for April 20, according to the press release.