And rather like they say in 'Doctor Dolittle', I've never seen anything like it in my life.
It's unashamedly old fashioned but I don't care. It's quite simply one of the best things I have EVER seen. I love the show (and the movie) anyway but this production will go down in history for one reason. Bette Midler.
The role of Dolly is perfect for her. She's brassy, blousy, warm, hilarious and completely sentimental and she gets some of the greatest songs on Broadway. Every number, every line, every look and glance is just perfect. She gets entrance applause that goes on for days and the reception to every number is like an earthquake, I've literally never heard reactions like it during a show. Of course, the biggest applause is saved for the title number and it's well deserved. The waiters (all amazing) start things off brilliantly with The Waiters' Gallop but everyone is on the edge of their seat waiting for the moment that the curtain comes back and she appears at the top of the stairs in her red dress for the title number. The final "well, well, Helloooooo Dolly, well Helloooooo Dolly" gave me shivers and of course there was a standing ovation after the song. For all the vaudeville bluff and bluster she does so brilliantly, some of her strongest moments come during the more touching moments of the show (and there are many) where she's at her most sentimental. It's very much a Bette Midler role, perfectly tailored to her many strengths but never was a Tony more deserved.
It's a testament to the rest of the cast that they aren't completely overshadowed by La Midler (and to her credit she is completely graceful by giving them all their moments in the sun), David Hyde Pierce is suitably grouchy as Horace but the four younger leads are sensational - Gavin Creel has got to be one of the best singers on Broadway, his voice is an absolute delight and it's great to see him be really goofy and loveable, Kate Baldwin is wonderful despite being saddled with a wig that makes her look about 10 years older and Beanie Feldstein and Taylor Trensch are delightful as Minnie and Barnaby, Trensch in particular is fabulous. Special mention also to Jennifer Simard who milks her role as Ernestina Money for all its worth.