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"Pretty much everything Midler does stops the show...Midler never pushes for effect. Her every bit of shtick has been precisely chosen and honed, and rather than forcing it down our throats, she makes us come to her to admire it. Much of the rest of Zaks’ production charges at us like a prancing elephant, festooned in shades of pink…A tone of sunny desperation isn’t out of keeping with what seems to be this production’s escapist mission, which is to deliver nostalgia with an exclamation point." Full Review
"Midler serves up a star performance of glowing luster, rambunctious clowning and, on just a few occasions, surprising emotional delicacy...Midler transforms this cotton-candy cloud of a musical into a bona fide theatrical event...The aesthetic approach here is more a matter of loving restoration than reinvention...It remains a featherweight piece of pure escapism...A star shines best when there are strong talents around her to reflect her light, and Midler has been so surrounded here." Full Review
“Midler is dishing out comic gold in a joyous revival that will remind you why you fell in love with Broadway in the first place…‘Dolly’ is as catchy and irresistible as ever. Jerry Herman's hit-parade score will stick with you for weeks…The cast brings pristine comic timing to Michael Stewart's hilarious book…Midler embraces the audience and the energy it brings with a giant bear hug...A rare experience that even the most jaded theatergoer will have trouble resisting.” Full Review
"Midler glows...as she lands schticky gags, sings with moxie, conveys sincerity and leads the colorful parade proudly strutting across the stage. That said, it must be stressed that under the care of director Jerry Zaks...the star of the evening is 'Hello, Dolly!.' Its reputation as a glitzy star vehicle may overshadow the fact that this is a superbly written work of bubbly fun and warm sentiment enhanced by a score full memorable melodies and smart lyrics." Full Review
“Looks so fresh, you want to pinch its cheek...Helmer Jerry Zaks and choreographer Warren Carlyle have done a great restoration job on the old girl, while refraining from the urge to tart her up for modern tastes…Midler instinctively understands the avid thirst for life that prompts Dolly’s comic desperation and gives depth to her character…Although none of the secondary players will knock you out, Zaks has cast an entirely watchable cast of reliables." Full Review
"Bette Midler won our love in 'Hello, Dolly!' just by wiggling her pinky finger. Donna Murphy has to work harder, earning our affection with a beautifully acted, powerfully sung and earnestly felt performance. Best of all, she has the comic chops to laugh her way into this iconic role. In the brief three months since it opened, this pristine production...has become smoother, slicker and more sure of itself." Full Review
“A blissful Broadway revival…The part of Dolly is exquisitely suited to Midler’s enormous warmth, savvy and drive. It’s hard to imagine a better match of actor and role: It is, in a word, perfection…‘Hello, Dolly!’ may be a vehicle for its star, but this revival treats it like a vintage Rolls-Royce. From the rousing overture on, everything about the production, directed with joyful aplomb by Jerry Zaks, gleams with old-fashioned charm…Jerry Herman’s exuberant score is a show-tune bonanza.” Full Review
"The characters address the audience from time to time, which gives Midler a chance to connect with us by drawing on who she really is, as well as whom she wants to portray...The role of Dolly isn’t necessarily tailor-made for Midler—she’s infinitely more complicated and funny and there isn’t a corny bone in her body—but she has remade the character in her own image: as a scrappy trickster with needs and vulnerabilities." Full Review
“The brilliant alignment of performer and role is all that really needs to have happened here…The production is as close to homage as a modern show dares get to a work that even in 1964 was something of a throwback…It’s so old-fashioned it seems almost avant-garde...In the long line of memorable Dollys I’ve seen or heard, Midler is by far the most natural and inviting…Even when the staging is a bit sloppy and the comedy not so forthcoming, Midler sails right through as if tickled.” Full Review
“A bluntly nostalgic and volubly entertaining revival…If Midler once had the voice for the part, seven decades and eight shows a week have worn it into something a lot raspier...But the spirit of the show is so infectious, and Midler such an adored and adorable presence, that the audience applauds her at entrance, exit and several times in between…This relentless energy sometimes feels exhausting…But when it works, especially in the ensemble numbers, the show is a riotous delight." Full Review
“Midler brings all of her considerable talents to bear in this scintillating revival…Director Jerry Zaks, Midler, and a superb company breathe new life into the old gal. Zaks and choreographer Warren Carlyle give the show speed and youthful energy…Though her voice is limited, she brings reams of subtext to each number…Hyde-Pierce’s ultra-stuffy Horace Vandergelder is the perfect foil for Midler’s life-embracing Dolly…This joyous ‘Hello, Dolly!’ is a loving salute to a past tradition.” Full Review
"There are moments in Bette Midler’s 'Hello, Dolly!' that offer unsurpassed entertainment…There are not enough of those perfect moments, however, to justify the ardor for this unexceptional, pastel-hued fourth Broadway revival, nor to explain fully the exuberant acclaim for its star…The real heavy-lifting is done by the vigorously athletic, inexhaustible and sometimes exhausting ensemble…Bette does own Dolly, but Dolly doesn’t always live in Bette; the melding of the two is only periodic." Full Review
“Midler's outsized comic personality merges beautifully with Dolly...She has an ideal partner in David Hyde Pierce…It doesn't take very long for one to realize how efficient ‘Hello, Dolly!’ is when it comes to spreading delight. Not that it is a perfect piece of entertainment...At times the plot barely tracks...But...those irresistible Jerry Herman songs just keep on coming...And, a few instances of overplayed comedy aside, the supporting cast catches the wave of the star's exuberance." Full Review
“The good news is that director Jerry Zaks' production matches Midler's life-giving work every step of the way…Zaks' direction is more an act of loving restoration with modifications than an overhaul, but it benefits immeasurably from a cast that takes its cue from the two leads' expert timing…As a shot of sparkling, old-fashioned popular entertainment, this deluxe revival of ‘Hello, Dolly!’ is about as good as it gets, crowned by star casting that fits like a glove.” Full Review
"Donna Murphy breathes her own distinctive brand of joy and generosity into the revival...She brings her own megawatt glow; her peerless musical-comedy technique, deep-dish characterization and supple vocals are like a new coat of lacquer on a perfect production...What makes this revival so satisfying is that it goes beyond the rewards of a champion star turn to deliver pleasure in every aspect." Full Review
“Ms. Midler’s singing voice is in a desperate, sometimes shocking state of disrepair…As for the rest of the performance, Ms. Midler doesn’t even bother to act…She can’t dance and isn’t funny…David Hyde Pierce is all wrong as Horace…What’s more, he and Ms. Midler have no romantic chemistry at all, which makes the show even less dramatically plausible...Every supporting performance is a grotesque caricature…As for the musical numbers, they’re camped up to the hilt.” Full Review
“Midler is ideal to inherit the sacred mantle of Dolly Gallagher Levi…Midler still appears to be adjusting to the role, looking and sounding tentative at times. But more often than not, she eagerly commands the stage and keeps the audience in a state of euphoria…The production lovingly recreates the look and feel of Gower Champion’s iconic 1964 production, bursting at the seams with old-fashioned showmanship, hyperkinetic energy and stylized movement." Full Review
"I’ll just come right out and say it: I prefer Donna Murphy over Bette Midler in 'Hello, Dolly!'...Murphy fires from all cylinders and never lets up, bursting with vitality and comic ingenuity...Murphy is also in full voice. Her powerhouse singing takes the production numbers up by more than just a notch...People should not shy away from this lavish, lovingly old-fashioned, euphoric revival simply because they cannot score tickets to see it with Midler." Full Review
“Jerry Zaks’ zingingly wonderful revival…For decades, Midler has known how to make the stage her own. She does so here…She makes every one of Jerry Herman’s cheerfully melodic tunes a tied-with-a-ribbon gift…Hyde Pierce bombasts beautifully…Baldwin is stunning and stately…Especially, and not to be forgotten, are the dancers and their tireless, athletic, work-like-play antics before, during and after the unforgettable title number.” Full Review
“Hello, Dolly!’ itself is terrific, and director Jerry Zaks and his unassailable company have elevated it to a stratospheric level…It's dopey, predictable, and perfect. This is due in no tiny part to the airtight construction of Stewart's book…Herman's score is more memorable still…To the extent that this ‘Hello, Dolly!’ stumbles—and it isn't much—it's because Midler falls short…She may be a gleaming star, but she's not a transformative one…About as good as the Broadway musical gets.” Full Review
"Midler eats up the wild applause as if it is food to her soul and gives back as good as she gets...Is her voice perfect for this music? No...but she gets the intent across in spades. If you want a beautiful voice, look no further than Baldwin’s hauntingly gorgeous tones...This show is in every way over-the-top broad, campy, kitschy and corny, taking it all to a new level, but the genius of this production is everyone is on the same page thanks to Jerry Zaks." Full Review
“All the visual and audible cues suggested that no one in the building that night had the slightest interest in being anywhere else but in that room. With this adored star. In this beloved show…David Hyde Pierce squeezes some laughs out of what can often seem like a thankless part…I don't want to imply there is some revisionist revelation at work here, for there is not, nor any deep emotional probation. But you can easily intuit the really, really good time everyone seems to be having." Full Review
“A dazzling revival…The show is an old-school comic jewel filled with great songs. The book then as now is as tight and bouncy as a late-19th century corset and bustle...The whole cast shines…But this show’s all about Dolly...It’s a role made for personality. And Midler has that—and then some….Type out all the superlatives you can because nights like this in the theater—in which tingles continue from overture to final bow—make you feel overjoyed. That is a tonic for troubled times!” Full Review
"'Hello, Dolly!' is still a joyous, giddy delight with two-time Tony winner Donna Murphy in Bette Midler’s role...Murphy is a star with dazzling comic chops and a voice to match — and she’s giving the gutsiest star turn in town. And, at times, the funniest." Full Review
“Midler gives the customers what they paid for, along with a ton of heart…There’s plenty more to love as well in this somewhat mixed-bag of a production…The two other principals are every bit as endearing as the star…Act I is a less sure affair for Midler...Dolly’s big Act I closer was limp the night I saw it…More problematic is Warren Carlyle’s choreography...which lacks precision and power...By Act II, Midler was in full command of the show.” Full Review
See it if you want to be reminded of how much sheer fun old fashioned musicals can be.
Don't see it if you don't like musicals, especially any written before the year 2000.
See it if you are a Midler die-hard or FOMO-prone and need to say you "were there."
Don't see it if you want to connect with characters, you get frustrated with a star chewing the scenery to the point of taking you out of the story.
See it if Like traditional musicals with bold stars and great design. This is a trip back to big splashy musicals. Bettev Midler is hysterical
Don't see it if You only like Rock musicals. You don't enjoy traditional musical comedies
See it if You like big, classic musicals. You want to see the divine, hilarious Bette Midler in a role that could have been made for her.
Don't see it if You only like modern musicals. You don't like big casts or large sets.
See it if you enjoy classic musicals. Bette is perfect for the role and entire cast is excellent. Well staged, well executed, nothing to fault.
Don't see it if you prefer edgier or more thought provoking work or if you just don't like musicals.
See it if You want to see about as near perfect production of this classic show as there may ever be. Bette as well as the entire cast are fantastic.
Don't see it if I can't imagine any reason anyone would not want to see this show. It's gorgeous!
See it if you want to see a classic "all-singin', all-dancin'" show w/ great actors performing their pants off. *I saw Donna Murphy, who was amazing.
Don't see it if you don't enjoy classic musicals and are a grumpypants who doesn't want to walk out of the theater with a smile on your face.
See it if you prefer funny musicals with classic songs. You like famous actors, extravagant costumes and staging, and lots of shtick.
Don't see it if you want to see a serious, thought-provoking play. You prefer small, more intimate productions.
See it if you want to have your spirit lifted by a magnificent cast performing this classic crowd-pleaser. Bette brings her STAR power every moment.
Don't see it if you don't like to laugh. This production is pure joy! The show may be old-fashioned, but completely fresh, alive, and hysterical!
See it if IF YOU MUST SELL YOUR OWN BODY PARTS GET THERE TO SEE THIS WORK OF MUSICAL THEATRE ART! Bette is amazing in every way and shouldnt be missed
Don't see it if if you can't handle joy, classic musical theatre and masters in the form of actors, singers and dancers. its BRILLIANT
See it if you want to enter a slightly old-fashioned world of iconic musicals; be transported out of the modern day and its stress; need a deep laugh.
Don't see it if you dislike slap-sticky musicals; crave modern, fresh work; don't like to have an enjoyable time being delighted rather than instructed.
See it if You want to see the fantastic Bette Midler show you how it should be done on Broadway
Don't see it if You're looking to see a more classic version of this great show, e.g., the Channing or Bailey version
See it if you want to see Bette Midler in a role she was born to play, supported by a fine cast in a lavish production.
Don't see it if you don't like musicals.
Also It's far more than the trite star vehicle I misremembered.
See it if You like see overly indulgent productions focused on a single show vehicle. You love older musicals.
Don't see it if You prefer more original presentations or modern stories and styles. You prefer something with a little substance. You don't like Bette.
See it if you’re a fan of the cast; you like old-timey Americana musicals like The Music Man or 45 Minutes from Broadway; you enjoy broad comedy
Don't see it if you need more than celebrity presence to excite you
See it if you want a splashy, colorful, energetic, magnificently-staged, old-school musical that's all style & no substance; you're a Bette acolyte.
Don't see it if you want a show with heart (it's about a money-hungry woman hoodwinking a rich misogynist into marrying her!) or substance (pure frivolity!)
See it if You love Bette Midler or Hello Dolly! Or if you want a real, classic broadway musical, with a real Broadway Star
Don't see it if You want something new and modern or do not want to hear broadway belting