Well, what else can you do?
“Hello, Dolly!” has been playing to respectable houses since January when Bernadette Peters took over. Peters, many feel, is made a better Dolly Levi and a better show after Bette Midler played for months at hundreds and thousands of dollars a ticket for a show that was more like “Hello, Bette!”
But now, obviously, the returns are good enough. So producer Scott Rudin will close “Hello, Dolly!” on August 25th– but not before Midler returns for six weeks beginning July 17th. That should double the box office and give everyone involved one last big cash grab before they sing “So Long, Dearie.”
Peters and her cast deserve a standing ovation. After seeing Ethel Merman, Carol Channing, and Pearl Bailey at different times in my young life, Peters was just sensational. Bette Midler was, well, a superstar in the role. Interesting that Rudin is giving up before the fall season starts and “King Kong” and other fascinations come to town. Plus, he’s got “Carousel” running, “My Fair Lady” is up at Lincoln Center, and attention must be stretched for “classic” musicals. In the dead of summer, Midler will certainly draw business away from those shows.