Hello, Dolly! (musical)

Hello, Dolly!
DollyPlay.jpg
1964 Broadway poster
MusicJerry Herman
LyricsJerry Herman
BookMichael Stewart
BasisThe Matchmaker
by Thornton Wilder
Productions1964 Broadway
1965 West End
1965–66 Australasia tour
1969 Film
1975 All-black Broadway revival
1978 Broadway revival
1995 Broadway revival
1996 Mexico City
2001 Madrid
2009 West End revival
2017 Broadway revival
2017 Melbourne
2018 US Tour
AwardsTony Award for Best Musical
Tony for Composer and Lyricist
Tony Award for Best Book
Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical

Hello, Dolly! is a 1964 musical with lyrics and music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, based on Thornton Wilder's 1938 farce The Merchant of Yonkers, which Wilder revised and retitled The Matchmaker in 1955. The musical follows the story of Dolly Gallagher Levi, a strong-willed matchmaker, as she travels to Yonkers, New York to find a match for the miserly "well-known unmarried half-a-millionaire" Horace Vandergelder.

Hello, Dolly! was first produced on Broadway by David Merrick in 1964, winning 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. This set a record which the play held for 37 years. The show album Hello, Dolly! An Original Cast Recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002.[1] The album reached number one on the Billboard album chart on June 6, 1964, and was replaced the next week by Louis Armstrong's album Hello, Dolly![2]

The show has become one of the most enduring musical theater hits, with four Broadway revivals and international success. It was also made into the 1969 film Hello Dolly! which won three Academy Awards.

History

The plot of Hello, Dolly! originated in the 1835 English play A Day Well Spent by John Oxenford, which Johann Nestroy adapted into the farce Einen Jux will er sich machen (He Will Go on a Spree or He'll Have Himself a Good Time). Thornton Wilder adapted Nestroy's play into his 1938 farcical play The Merchant of Yonkers. That play was a flop, so he revised it and retitled it as The Matchmaker in 1955, expanding the role of Dolly (played by Ruth Gordon).[3] The Matchmaker became a hit and was much revived and made into a 1958 film starring Shirley Booth. However, the 1891 musical A Trip to Chinatown also features a meddlesome widow who strives to bring romance to several couples and to herself in a big city restaurant.[4]

The role of Dolly Gallagher Levi was originally written for Ethel Merman but she turned it down, as did Mary Martin—although both eventually played it.[3] Merrick then auditioned Nancy Walker, but he hired Carol Channing who created her signature role in Dolly.[5] Director Gower Champion was not the producer's first choice, but Hal Prince and others turned it down, among them Jerome Robbins and Joe Layton.[6]

Hello, Dolly! had rocky tryouts in Detroit, Michigan and Washington, D.C.[5] After receiving the reviews, the creators made major changes to the script and score, including the addition of the song "Before the Parade Passes By".[7] The show was originally entitled Dolly, A Damned Exasperating Woman,[8] then Call on Dolly, but Merrick changed it upon hearing Louis Armstrong's version of "Hello, Dolly". The show became one of the most iconic Broadway shows of the latter half of the 1960s, running for 2,844 performances, and was the longest-running musical in Broadway history for a time.[9]