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re: Hello Dolly tonight- Liked it, didn't love it. (SPOILERS)
Posted by: mikem 10:32 am EDT 04/14/17
In reply to: re: Hello Dolly tonight- Liked it, didn't love it. - AnObserver 08:35 am EDT 04/14/17

I was also there last night, and I'm wondering if it was an off night. The audience was wildly enthusiastic at the beginning (there was applause when the title song came up in the overture -- I have never experienced that before -- is that common?), but the only reason the title number got a mid-show standing ovation is because one person in the front row stood up and eventually (eventually...) other people joined in.

(Spoilers coming)

For me, part of the problem with the title number is that Midler does too much commenting on the character in the middle of the number. When she starts dancing, she looks at the audience as if to say, "Look at me, I'm dancing!" And the whole "I'm exhausted" part towards the end is too much of that. It also seemed like the staging of the number was very repetitive, with Midler going round and round the stage, reinforced by the "I'm exhausted."

Midler is a great entertainer, and she was wonderful to watch, but I didn't feel she was inhabiting the part as an actress last night. And she certainly wasn't coasting, but I don't think she was at the energy level that she might have been. Somebody on the other board was saying that they didn't see how she could do this 7 times a week, and I didn't get that at all. I'm not sure Donna Murphy is ideal casting (she, like Streep, analyzes too much and lets it show too much, which would not be great for this part), but I don't feel that seeing the show without Midler would leave a gaping hole in the center of the show.

I loved a lot of the show. At the end of Sunday Clothes, when the train comes in, and everyone is dancing in their gorgeous costumes, I was thinking, "This is what Golden Age Broadway musicals are all about." The supporting cast, ensemble, and design are wonderful. And there is this non-ironic old-fashionedness to the production that serves the material well.

Two small quibbles: I don't know why Barnaby has to be a blond. Taylor Trensch's coloring makes it clear that he's a brunette in real life and the hair color is a distracting dye job. And why does David Hyde Pierce have an accent if no one else does?
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