Monday, April 15, 2024

Broadway Box Office: “Hello, Dolly!” Without Bette Midler Falls to Earth, Is Audra McDonald Next to Join Show?


The party is over at the Shubert Theater.

“Hello,Dolly!” without Bette Midler has fallen back to Earth at the box office.

The show averaged $2.4 million a week under Midler’s spell from last March through this past January 14th. That’s when Midler left and Bernadette Peters came in to succeed her.

During Midler’s run people were paying astronomical amounts for seats from secondary brokers. The top price on the regular market was over $800.

Now “Dolly!” can be had for a song. Last week, the average ticket cost $103.56. The week’s take was just $1.1 million– $300,000 short of sold out. The show itself was the 9th highest grossing musical, dropping behind “Come from Away” and “Waitress.” How the might have fallen!

It’s not clear how long Peters will stay– I’ll bet she’s great. But there is talk that when she’s done, Audra McDonald might be the next Dolly Levi. That would be a swell twist for producer Scott Rudin, whose ill-fated “Shuffle Along” McDonald starred in until she became pregnant and had to leave that show before it closed in a heap.

McDonald would also be carrying the torch for Pearl Bailey, who legendarily fronted an all blackĀ  production of the show in the 60s for David Merrick when Carol Channing left the show. Of course, McDonald now would star in a multi-cultural cast.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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