Bette Midler in ‘Hello, Dolly!’: First look at the Divine Miss M in the Broadway revival

Bette Midler begins previews of “Hello Dolly!” tonight on Broadway with its official opening set for April 20. So on Tuesday, March 14, the eve of her debut, she tweeted a photo of herself in the title role. “Here I am for the first time as Dolly!” she announced. See it at the bottom of this post.

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“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.

Midler is a show business legend, with three Grammy Awards, three Emmys, and two Oscar nominations for Best Actress (“The Rose” in 1979, “For the Boys” in 1991). She won an honorary Special Award at the Tonys in 1974, but despite being known as a dynamic live performer she has never actually had a leading role in a musical until now.

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The first time’s the charm according to our early Tony predictions. Midler is the frontrunner to win Best Actress in a Musical with 21/10 odds, and “Hello Dolly!” is ahead for Best Musical Revival with 3/2 odds. Do you agree? Take a look at Midler below and make your own Tony predictions here.

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