Bette Midler won’t open officially on Broadway in “Hello Dolly!” until April 20, but the previews of this classic musical are packing them in at the Shubert theater. She just set a house record, raking in $1.96 million dollars for seven performances last week. 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, then again in 1978 and lastly in 1995. It was also adapted into a 1969 film starring Barbra Streisand, which earned seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, and won three.
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