At this Sunday’s Tony Awards, Bette Midler is all but certain to take to the stage of Radio City Music Hall to collect the trophy for Best Actress in a Musical for her acclaimed performance in the revival of “Hello, Dolly!” But don’t tune in to the telecast expecting her to sing a number from the nominated show.
The Tony telecast producers had hoped that Midler and company would perform the title tune from this 1964 Best Musical champ, perhaps even as a curtain raiser for these kudos on June 11. They rejected the suggestion that the cast would tape a performance of this eleven o’clock number at the Shubert Theater, where the show is playing to boffo business.
The Tony producers were loathe to set a precedent by allowing this remote appearance. Part of the reason that this awards show keeps winning Emmys is because of the impressive efforts made to present live musical numbers from all the nominated shows. Midler’s co-star, Tony and Emmy winner David Hyde-Pierce will represent the show at Radio City and do the ditty “Penny in My Pocket,” which had been dropped from “Hello, Dolly!” during its out-of-town tryout back in 1964 but resurrected for this revival.
Midler may be unaware of the drama surrounding her appearance. However, having sung on the 1968 kudocast, she knows full well that the ceremony includes musical numbers. Back then, she was part of the ensemble of the Tony-winning musical “Fiddler on the Roof.” She was playing the eldest of three daughters who dream of marriages that will allow them to move out of their father Tevye’s house. Watch as she, along with Tanya Everet and Mimi Turque, perform “Matchmaker.”
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