life in and around NYC is insane

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Divine Miss M takes the stage...

So Wednesday night Drew and I took the train into the city, and walked up from Penn Station to the Theater District.

It's Fleet Week here in New York, and that means that during our walk we saw a lot of sailors and Marines in dress uniform, taking in the sites of the city.  One enterprising street musician even tried to hustle a few extra dollars by playing "Anchors Aweigh " and the Marine Hymn.

Our destination was the Shubert Theater. You know how much I  love live theater.  When the house lights go down and the curtain goes up, it's magic.

This time around, we had tickets for Hello, Dolly!

Yes, Hello, Dolly!, Jerry Herman's iconic musical from 1964, has been brilliantly revived, with Bette Midler -- the Divine Miss M herself -- in the title role.

Dolly is one of Drew's favorite musicals, and when he heard there was to be a revival, he knew we'd be seeing the show long before tickets even went on sale.  He bought these tickets back in September, spent almost 3 hours finding a performance with seats he liked, he's very particular about where we sit in a theater.

It was well worth the effort.  Our seats were terrific and the show was brilliant.  The Jerry Herman music is amazing. of course, and they've kept Gower Champion's original choreography.  The script is incredibly funny, yet has some truly tender and touching moments.

The plot centers on Dolly Gallagher Levi, a widow who earns a living as a matchmaker.  She's been hired to find a wife for the wealthy Horace Vandergelder, but she wants Horace for herself.  There are three additional romances blooming -- Ambrose wants to marry Horace's niece Ermengarde, and Horace's clerks Cornelius and Barnaby fall for milliner Irene Molly and her employee Minnie.

I should mention that the grumpy Horace is played by David Hyde Pierce.  You will remember him for his years on Frasier, but he also has extensive theater credits, including Curtains, Spamalot and Vanya and Sasha and Masha and Spike.  He's a quiet and low-key grumpy old man with perfect comedic timing.  They've given him a song, "Penny In My Pocket", which was written for the original production but cut during out-of-town previews.

But the show is, after all, all about Dolly.   She's an incredible character, loved by everyone around her, talking nonstop as she arranges marriages.

 Carol Channing won a Tony for her portrayal in 1964.

And Bette Midler takes on the iconic role and makes it her own.

When she makes her Act 2 entrance in the famous red dress, and starts to sing the title song, you can feel the energy running through the audience.

The Tony Awards are coming up in 2 weeks -- my Playbill was all filled with information about the nominees -- and Bette is in the running.  I hope she wins, she deserves it.

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