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Hear the diverse array of talented performers that have covered the beloved songs of Hello, Dolly! over the years.

The Many Stars of Hello, Dolly!

Posted by:  Kimmel Center Cultural Campus on January 22, 2020

Since the renowned and beloved musical Hello, Dolly! premiered on Broadway in 1964, a diverse array of stars have taken on the classic role of matchmaker Dolly Levi, or have simply enjoyed singing the musical’s iconic tunes. From Carol Channing to Betty Buckley, check out some of our favorite performances of Hello, Dolly! Click each photo for a video.

Carol Channing – 1979

The original Dolly Gallagher Levi, musical theater legend Carol Channing starred in the first Broadway production in 1964. She played the character several more times throughout her career and is hailed as one of the best of Broadway. In this clip, she performs several songs from Hello, Dolly! during a special television show in 1979.

Barbra Streisand – 1969

In 1969, esteemed actress and Broadway star Barbra Streisand graced screens as Dolly in the film version of the musical. In this performance from the film, she is joined by musician Louis Armstrong for a jazzier take on the number.

Louis Armstrong – 1965

Speaking of Louis Armstrong, in 1965 he recorded his own cover of the title number and put his own personal jazzy spin on it. This performance, from Berlin in 1965, features his All Stars band in an upbeat, lively show. Armstrong’s cover of the tune is his biggest-selling record, dislodging the Beatles from their No. 1 position on the Hot 100 in 1965.

Bette Midler – 2017

When Hello, Dolly! returned to Broadway in 2017, film and theater icon Bette Midler took to the stage to revive the Dolly Levi role. Receiving standing ovations throughout the show, Midler is a force to be reckoned with and truly made the character come to life.

Pearl Bailey – 1967

Pearl Bailey is the only other actor, other than Carol Channing, to take on the role of Dolly in multiple Broadway productions of the show. She took over the show in 1967, and was joined by a new all-Black cast, receiving overwhelming praise. She was presented with a special Tony Award in 1968 for her performance. This clip is of Pearl Bailey and the cast performing “Before the Parade Passes By” on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1967.

Bernadette Peters – 2018

 

Beloved Broadway star Bernadette Peters took over the role of Dolly Levi in the 2017 Broadway revival after Bette Midler completed her run. She performed as Dolly until the revival closed, and in this clip, she performs the title song.

Mary Martin – 1965

Mary Martin was the first actress to bring the role of Dolly to the West End in London. She also took the production on the road, touring throughout the United States, Asia, and London. This performance is from her television special, Mary Martin: Hello, Dolly! Round the World, following her journey on tour. Here, she sings the classic tune with special lyrics for soldiers in Vietnam.

Ethel Merman – 1982

Ethel Merman, a legendary Broadway actress, was the person in mind when Hello, Dolly! was originally written. Though she initially turned down the role, she became the final Broadway Dolly of the original run. Jerry Herman even wrote two Merman-esque songs to add in the production just for her. This clip, from 1982, is of Merman singing “Before the Parade Passes By” for the Broadway Salute television special.

Carolee Carmello — 2020

And finally, introducing the Dolly of the current national tour of Hello, Dolly! — Carolee Carmello! Meet the star in this #LiveAtFive segment from Broadway.com and then come see her sing LIVE in Philadelpha when the show takes the Academy of Music, February 19—March 1. Tickets available at https://www.kimmelcenter.org/events-and-tickets/201920/broadway-philadelphia/hello-dolly/

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