Bette Midler opens officially on Broadway in “Hello Dolly!” on April 20. Regardless of the reviews, this revival of the classic musical is already a hit. Midler and company are packing them in at the Shubert theater. She just set a house record, raking in $1.96 million dollars for seven performances two weeks ago. That edged out the $1.9 million that “Matilda” made at the start of 2014 when it played nine shows during New Year’s week. A big chunk of that nearly $2 million in ticket sales for “Hello Dolly!” came from the premium-priced ducats, which go for $748 each. Those tickets pushed the average price up to $195.63. Playing to SRO audiences, this production is outdoing its potential by 20%.
“Hello Dolly!” was first performed on Broadway in 1964. Based on Thornton Wilder‘s “The Matchmaker,” it tells the story of Dolly Levi (Midler), who searches for a wife for half-a-millionaire Horace Vandergelder (David Hyde Pierce). The original staging ran for 2,844 performances over six years (1964-1970) and won a whopping 10 Tonys including Best Musical and Best Actress in a Musical for Carol Channing. It was revived in 1975 with Pearl Bailey, then again in 1978 and 1995 with Channing headlining both of those remounts. It was also adapted into a 1969 film starring Barbra Streisand, which earned seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture, and won three.
This rialto revival is the first not to feature an actress from the original run and is opening one week before the deadline for Tony Awards consideration. According to our early Tony predictions from our experts, Midler is the frontrunner to win Best Actress in a Musical with 3/2 odds, and “Hello Dolly!” is ahead for Best Musical Revival with 5/6 odds. Do you agree?
Be sure to make your Tony Awards predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Broadway insiders can see how their shows and performers are faring in our Tony odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on May 2. And join in the fierce debate over the 2017 Tony Awards taking place right now in our theater forums.