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Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!

Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!

binau Profile Photo
binau
#1Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!
Posted: 7/6/24 at 3:31am

I will report back. My point of reference is the Bette Midler Hello, Dolly! Or as I really think about it let's be honest, the Bernadette Peters Hello, Dolly! That production worked on so many levels I'm not even going to expect they could capture THAT magic. But I can't imagine they could get it wrong.

Jenna Russel is Irene. 

Director Dominic Cooke (GYPSY, FOLLIES). 


"You can't overrate Bernadette Peters. She is such a genius. There's a moment in "Too Many Mornings" and Bernadette doing 'I wore green the last time' - It's a voice that is just already given up - it is so sorrowful. Tragic. You can see from that moment the show is going to be headed into such dark territory and it hinges on this tiny throwaway moment of the voice." - Ben Brantley (2022) "Bernadette's whole, stunning performance [as Rose in Gypsy] galvanized the actors capable of letting loose with her. Bernadette's Rose did take its rightful place, but too late, and unseen by too many who should have seen it" Arthur Laurents (2009) "Sondheim's own favorite star performances? [Bernadette] Peters in ''Sunday in the Park,'' Lansbury in ''Sweeney Todd'' and ''obviously, Ethel was thrilling in 'Gypsy.'' Nytimes, 2000

Tkristop
#2Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!
Posted: 7/6/24 at 8:45am

I scored a limited view ticket for this tonight so I can report back as well! Anyone else going? 

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Dylan Smith4
#3Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!
Posted: 7/6/24 at 9:37am

I will manage to catch the tail end of this production! Just hoping to grab a decent priced ticket. For anyone who’s been to the Palladium, what would be the best seating advice? 


The idea is to work and to experiment. Some things will be creatively successful, some things will succeed at the box office, and some things will only - which is the biggest only - teach you things that see the future. And they're probably as valuable as any of your successes. -Harold Prince

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TBFL
#4Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!
Posted: 7/6/24 at 2:23pm

I'd lower your expectations if I were you. Apparently it's been an interesting rehersal period.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Call_me_jorge Profile Photo
Call_me_jorge
#5Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!
Posted: 7/6/24 at 2:56pm

No passerelle…


In our millions, in our billions, we are most powerful when we stand together. TW4C unwaveringly joins the worldwide masses, for we know our liberation is inseparably bound. Signed, Theater Workers for a Ceasefire https://theaterworkersforaceasefire.com/statement

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ErmengardeStopSniveling
#6Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!
Posted: 7/6/24 at 3:26pm

Call_me_jorge said: "No passerelle…"

Makes total sense, being that this is not a recreation of the Gower Champion staging.

That's an attractive pre-show setup.

Musigamist
#7Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!
Posted: 7/6/24 at 3:47pm

I’m going Monday night and regardless of anything else, I have high hopes for the 21 piece orchestra performing that score.

binau Profile Photo
binau
#8Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!
Posted: 7/6/24 at 3:50pm

Wow, the opening is ‘just leave everything to me’. Which also has hints of ‘put my hand in there’. I haven’t really heard it before to be honest so I can’t tell how intact or not the song is. 


"You can't overrate Bernadette Peters. She is such a genius. There's a moment in "Too Many Mornings" and Bernadette doing 'I wore green the last time' - It's a voice that is just already given up - it is so sorrowful. Tragic. You can see from that moment the show is going to be headed into such dark territory and it hinges on this tiny throwaway moment of the voice." - Ben Brantley (2022) "Bernadette's whole, stunning performance [as Rose in Gypsy] galvanized the actors capable of letting loose with her. Bernadette's Rose did take its rightful place, but too late, and unseen by too many who should have seen it" Arthur Laurents (2009) "Sondheim's own favorite star performances? [Bernadette] Peters in ''Sunday in the Park,'' Lansbury in ''Sweeney Todd'' and ''obviously, Ethel was thrilling in 'Gypsy.'' Nytimes, 2000

Tkristop
#9Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!
Posted: 7/6/24 at 4:03pm

At intermission I have to admit the orchestra is the main highlight…

ljay889 Profile Photo
ljay889
#10Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!
Posted: 7/6/24 at 4:06pm

Does Imelda have any warmth in this role?

Does 56-year-old Irene work?

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Kad
#11Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!
Posted: 7/6/24 at 4:09pm

binau said: "Wow, the opening is ‘just leave everything to me’. Which also has hints of ‘put my hand in there’. I haven’t really heard it before to be honest so I can’t tell how intact or not the song is."

This was the opening written for Streisand in the movie- it's basically the same sentiment as "Hand" but tailored for Streisand. It's odd they would put it in for Staunton.


"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."
Updated On: 7/6/24 at 04:09 PM

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Broadway Flash
#12Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!
Posted: 7/6/24 at 4:54pm

They put a new opening into Dear World; Through the bottom of the glass.  It’s lovely and it worked perfectly. Hopefully that’s the same case here. 

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binau
#13Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!
Posted: 7/6/24 at 5:44pm

They also have ‘love, look in my window’. 

 

Yes it all works. And Staunton has warmth. But at the same time they could rename this production “Hello there dolly, R U OK?” because in subtle ways they do try to emphasise darkness. For example, after the overture Staunton opens cold alone on stage with the new opening that makes it feel like a darker start than unusual. the underscoring in the dialogue before ‘Parade Passes By’ is now more dissonant than just overly sentimental. And the beginning of ‘Parade Passes By’ has been slightly re-arranged to be more of a desperate plea. 

 

The physical production is less opulent than the last revival on Broadway but the ‘harmonia gardens’ set is beautifully designed and Staunton comes out in a green dress. To continue the theme of darkness, her facial expression through much of the beginning of ‘hello, dolly’ reminds me of Bernadette’s entrance in ‘follies’ - she is so overwhelmed to be there she is actually emotional. The score also very slightly re-arranged to bring this out before eventually being the joyful title song we all know and love. 

 

Staunton’s vocals are very good. She comes across as more energetic, faster and younger than Bernadette’s dolly. And her vocals are stronger than Bernadette’s. Very cool low kind of improvised sounding notes towards the end of Hello Dolly (not the first time I’ve heard think Donna Murphy did something similarly). ‘Love look in my window’ continuing the darkness, along with what looks like a bit of overwhelmed crying during the final reprise of hello, dolly. 

 

Her ‘so long, dearie’ is fast in tempo more like Barbara Streisand. In fact the entire production feels a bit speedier than the last Broadway revival, with projections showing sceneries moving in several scenes as if they are moving at pace. Almost trying to make it seem a bit like a movie musical scene in the street. But I found some of Staunton’s lines read too quickly that the laughs went. 

 

Overall, it works, it’s fun. It’s not the last Broadway revival - I now realise that was an absolute life changing piece of theatre in every single way possible. Nothing will compare to the joy, opulence - god ‘put on your Sunday clothes’ with the costumes and train, and the trays before ‘hello, dolly!’ Etc. We will never see that again. 

 

I don’t believe this will be bound for Broadway, but it is definitely worth seeing if you’re in London. Very privileged to have been to the very first performances of both Bernadette Peters and now Imelda Staunton. It’s that first audience reaction to all the various moments as well as Bernadette/Staunton first reactions that you can only really experience live. 

 

Also, I almost forgot. When Dolly encourages Cornelius and Barnaby to go to the hat shop she says something like ‘and if you tell anyone i told you this I’ll tell them what both liars you are’ or something like that. I don’t remember hearing this before. Or at least, it was read in such a way this time that keeping with the theme of darkness it almost felt psychopathic. Like when someone is smiling then switches to psychopath and switches back. 

 

Hello, dolly, are you ok? 

 


"You can't overrate Bernadette Peters. She is such a genius. There's a moment in "Too Many Mornings" and Bernadette doing 'I wore green the last time' - It's a voice that is just already given up - it is so sorrowful. Tragic. You can see from that moment the show is going to be headed into such dark territory and it hinges on this tiny throwaway moment of the voice." - Ben Brantley (2022) "Bernadette's whole, stunning performance [as Rose in Gypsy] galvanized the actors capable of letting loose with her. Bernadette's Rose did take its rightful place, but too late, and unseen by too many who should have seen it" Arthur Laurents (2009) "Sondheim's own favorite star performances? [Bernadette] Peters in ''Sunday in the Park,'' Lansbury in ''Sweeney Todd'' and ''obviously, Ethel was thrilling in 'Gypsy.'' Nytimes, 2000
Updated On: 7/6/24 at 05:44 PM

Jordan Catalano Profile Photo
Jordan Catalano
#14Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!
Posted: 7/6/24 at 5:56pm

I agree with most of what Binau said. I wonder if my thoughts would be more glowing had I not seen the last revival but this is missing a lot of the "joy" that had. I know a lot of that was Midler's humor but even still I think that's something lacking here. Staunton was not at all like I thought she'd be - she didn't raise her voice even once, I think. Incredibly soft-spoken and sweet. But for me that didn't pair well with Nyman's Horace who just seemed...mean. Jenna Russell's Irene also started out pretty angry and I thought "Jesus, was everyone directed to be in a bad mood, here?" 

If all that sounds like I didn't like it, I did. Just a totally different experience than I was expecting so I need to process it. Seeing it again in a few days which will be good to go back after it's all sunk into me a bit. 

 

binau Profile Photo
binau
#15Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!
Posted: 7/6/24 at 6:14pm

Exactly - the Horace felt so mean. In the Broadway revival he was this kind of old grumpy uncle type that doesn’t have much self awareness but is still lovable. Here he actually felt mean lol. 
 

Gavin Creel’s voice sorely missed, same with Kate Baldwin. 
 

But it’s still all very enjoyable. I am looking forward to seeing it again. I just was maybe hoping I’d be experiencing something more similar to the last revival again and I realise that was ‘magic in a bottle’. 


"You can't overrate Bernadette Peters. She is such a genius. There's a moment in "Too Many Mornings" and Bernadette doing 'I wore green the last time' - It's a voice that is just already given up - it is so sorrowful. Tragic. You can see from that moment the show is going to be headed into such dark territory and it hinges on this tiny throwaway moment of the voice." - Ben Brantley (2022) "Bernadette's whole, stunning performance [as Rose in Gypsy] galvanized the actors capable of letting loose with her. Bernadette's Rose did take its rightful place, but too late, and unseen by too many who should have seen it" Arthur Laurents (2009) "Sondheim's own favorite star performances? [Bernadette] Peters in ''Sunday in the Park,'' Lansbury in ''Sweeney Todd'' and ''obviously, Ethel was thrilling in 'Gypsy.'' Nytimes, 2000

MysteriousLady
#16Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!
Posted: 7/6/24 at 6:49pm

How do you post pictures on here?

Jmuep2
#17Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!
Posted: 7/6/24 at 7:27pm

I echo that my point of reference for this show was the recent revival. I was fortunate to see it with Midler, Murphy and Peters. And this was so not that. At intermission, I texted a friend and said I wished I had gone to see PEOPLE, PLACES & THINGS instead. Staunton was enjoyable. Russell is much too old for her role and at some point, I wondered if she was subtly auditioning for the West End transfer of AKIMBO because the age discrepancy felt that pronounced. There was nothing about this that I thought was anywhere near as good as the Broadway production. Wish I'd skipped it. 

 

Having said that, the audience ate it up. Poor Brits don't know what they missed. 

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Jordan Catalano
#18Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!
Posted: 7/6/24 at 7:48pm

Yes, Jenna is entirely too old for Irene - it looked very odd. 
The reactions over at Theatreboard are GLOWING and I’m glad people enjoyed it as much as they did (and will). Just very interesting to me how those of us who saw the 2017 revival have such a wildly different take on this one. 

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Skip23
#19Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!
Posted: 7/6/24 at 8:12pm

Yes. It felt like Hello, Willy.  Death Of A Salesman visits Harmonia Garden.

 

Very dramatic and pointed.  WIth pulled back energy.  Dolly is a conniver and always working.  Staunton is non-confrontational.  And almost matter-of-fact.  Maybe she'll loosen up as the run goes on.  Not terrible, just smaller.  

 

But, despite it's faults and flaws, the ending got to me.  But that is the story.  Not the performances.

 

And LOTS of extra dialogue.  And I miss the fast opening reveal and Champion's choreography.  This choreography was much ado about nothing.

 

 

 

 

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inception
#20Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!
Posted: 7/6/24 at 8:46pm

Reading the comments about how soft spoken Staunton plays Dolly, and it makes me think about how Ruth Gordon maybe played the character in the original play The Matchmaker - just going off of how she played similar characters in films she made later,  like how matter of factly she states kooky things in Harold & Maude.


...

Tkristop
#21Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!
Posted: 7/6/24 at 9:06pm

I agree with so much that’s been said. Jenna appeared too old for the role. Her vocals were just OK but acting good. Everything and every character seemed more subdued, more reserved. There was more dialogue and talk-singing. I actually thought at times Staunton was trying to imitate Streisand! Her vocals were not bad and improved in the second act, so I’m thinking they will get even better as she settles in. All that said, I really enjoyed it and agree it’s worth seeing. The overall company and orchestra were what shone the most for me! I would love to see it again with some understudies with stronger vocals. 

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Broadway Flash
#22Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!
Posted: 7/6/24 at 10:11pm

She looks like Judi Dench in A Little Night Music!!!!!

ManOfLaMuncha
ErmengardeStopSniveling Profile Photo
ErmengardeStopSniveling
#24Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!
Posted: 7/6/24 at 11:40pm

binau said: "Exactly - the Horace felt so mean. In the Broadway revival he was this kind of old grumpy uncle type that doesn’t have much self awareness but is still lovable. Here he actually felt mean lol."
 

I think the secret sauce to the two Horaces in the Broadway revival is that they cast actors who are fairly gentle and lovable and they played against-type. So there was an element of comedy in their exasperation, especially as directed by Jerry Zaks.

But this is also the difference between Jerry Zaks (a musical comedy expert) vs. Dominic Cooke, who usually directs much more serious work.

As for "Just Leave Everything to Me", I have it on good authority that Bette workshopped and rehearsed that as the opening number, but ultimately they decided on "I Put My Hand In." "Just Leave" is a much better song, imho.

(I was not there tonight in London, to be clear.)

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binau
#25Imelda Staunton Hello, Dolly starts tonight!
Posted: 7/7/24 at 5:29am

It actually did cross my mind that it looked a little like watching a Judi Dench Hello, Dolly. Or at one point I thought (perhaps too many wines in) that it almost felt like a Queen Elizabeth camp tribute to her since Staunton played the Queen recently. "Hello, Lizzie.....well hello Lizzie....".

Overall, on more reflection I think I am pretty satisfied with Staunton's performance to be honest and even the unusual/darker choices for her character. And the title song does already feel a little iconic. It is something new. So I can't say I'm disappointed there but there is something about the broader production that just doesn't hit on all cylinders like the previous Broadway revival. 

Jenna Russell is indeed too old for the role - not because she can't sing it (although Kate Baldwin's voice was so spectacular that it doesn't quite resonate the same). But mainly because it just felt a bit unrealistic to imagine her and Cornelius together. Felt a little cougar-esque.

 


"You can't overrate Bernadette Peters. She is such a genius. There's a moment in "Too Many Mornings" and Bernadette doing 'I wore green the last time' - It's a voice that is just already given up - it is so sorrowful. Tragic. You can see from that moment the show is going to be headed into such dark territory and it hinges on this tiny throwaway moment of the voice." - Ben Brantley (2022) "Bernadette's whole, stunning performance [as Rose in Gypsy] galvanized the actors capable of letting loose with her. Bernadette's Rose did take its rightful place, but too late, and unseen by too many who should have seen it" Arthur Laurents (2009) "Sondheim's own favorite star performances? [Bernadette] Peters in ''Sunday in the Park,'' Lansbury in ''Sweeney Todd'' and ''obviously, Ethel was thrilling in 'Gypsy.'' Nytimes, 2000


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